Background: Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) has increasingly been accepted as a supplementary outcome measure for patients after lung transplantation (LTx).
Methods: Using a retrospective cross-sectional study design, 280 LTx recipients (3 months to 14 years after LTx) were asked to assess their HRQoL using a generic (Quality of Life Profile for Chronic Diseases) questionnaire, which was previously validated for this specific population. In addition, the questionnaire was also performed by 155 healthy participants.
Results: All sub-scale findings ranged from 2.40 to 3.08 (0 to 4) for all patients after LTx. A significantly reduced HRQoL was reported by the sub-cohort of patients living 5 to 6 years with the allograft for all sub-scales (p < 0.006), except for Social Functioning, and was associated with the incidence of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS; p < 0.05). Cystic fibrosis patients (p < 0.05), single-lung transplant recipients (p < 0.05) and patients of older age (p < 0.05) showed significantly decreased physical ability ratings. Patients who remained free of infection and late acute rejection episodes scored themselves significantly higher with regard to their Relaxation Capabilities (p < 0.05 for rejection; p < 0.05 for infection) and Social Functioning (p < 0.01 for rejection; p < 0.05 for infection) vs patients who experienced infection or rejection episodes. Comparisons with a normative cohort showed similar HRQoL scales for LTx patients and the healthy population, except with regard to Social Functioning (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: Self-ratings for HRQoL were high for all dimensions for the entire sample, and remained relatively similar even for medium- and long-term survivors. HRQoL was dependent on incidence of infections, rejections and the onset of BOS. Despite differences in life expectancy of LTx patients compared with the healthy population, HRQoL self-ratings were within similar ranges.