Introduction: Health-related quality of life is becoming a major issue in the evaluation of any therapeutic intervention in patients with chronic or hard to cure diseases.
Aims: To assess the quality of life in patients with chronic pancreatitis, the majority of whom have had the disease for a long time, and to evaluate which factors linked to the disease are able to influence the quality of life.
Subjects and methods: A total of 190 consecutive patients (157 males, 33 females; mean age 58.6+/-12.7 years, range 18-92 years) with proven chronic pancreatitis were enrolled. The SF-36 questionnaire was used for assessing the health-related quality of life.
Results: The z-scores of the eight domains of the patients with chronic pancreatitis were significantly negative indicating an overall impairment of the quality of life when compared to the Italian normative sample. Pancreatic pain was the unique clinical variable able to significantly impair all eight domains of the SF-36, while Wirsung dilation and diabetes were negatively related to some physical and mental domains. The body mass index was the unique variable positively related with some SF-36 domains.
Conclusions: Pain may be considered the most important factor affecting the quality of life of chronic pancreatitis patients; moreover, alimentary and metabolic factors deserve more attention in improving the quality of life of these subjects.