Background: In 1991, the World Health Organization (WHO) initiated a cross-cultural project to develop a quality-of-life (QOL) questionnaire (WHOQOL); soon after this, the clinically applicable short form was developed and named WHOQOL-BREF, followed by a Taiwanese version (WHOQOL-BREF[TW]).
Methods: We first administered the WHOQOL-BREF(TW) and symptom/problem scale to 376 patients with end-stage renal disease on regular hemodialysis therapy in Taiwan. Analysis with multiple stepwise regressions was conducted to study determinants of QOL domains and items.
Results: The WHOQOL-BREF(TW) was reliable and valid from various validation studies. The 4 domains (physical, psychological, social relations, and environment) and global items (overall quality of life and general health) of the WHOQOL-BREF(TW) each differentiated symptoms/problems of hemodialysis patients from age-, sex-, and education-matched healthy referents. The 4 domains, except for environment and global items of the WHOQOL-BREF(TW), each differentiated erythropoietin dosage from age-, sex-, and education-matched healthy referents. After adjusting for age, sex, marriage, and education, the prominent associated factors of various QOL domains and items were age, area (Taipei or Keelung), hemoglobin level, normalized protein catabolic rate, and symptom/problem scale.
Conclusion: The WHOQOL-BREF(TW) is reliable and valid for long-term study of hemodialysis patients, and hemodialysis had negative impacts on QOL, especially in patients with more severe disease with greater symptom/problem scores, lower hemoglobin levels, and lower normalized protein catabolic rates.