Study objective: To study the prevalence and impact of pain on the quality of life (QOL) of lung transplant recipients.
Design and patients: Prospective, observational, cross-sectional study. Ninety-six lung transplant recipients (> 3 months after transplantation) completed questionnaires measuring the severity and impact of pain (Brief Pain Inventory), anxiety (State Trait Anxiety Inventory), QOL (Short Form-36 version 2 [SF-36v2]), and depression (Beck Depression Inventory [BDI]).
Setting: University medical center lung transplant outpatient clinic.
Results: The prevalence of pain in lung transplant recipients was 49%. Patients with pain were older, more likely to have undergone unilateral lung transplantation (64% vs 40%, p = 0.03), and were more likely to have lung emphysema (55% vs 38%, p = 0.004). Only a pulmonary diagnosis of lung emphysema remained an independent predictor for postoperative pain in a logistic regression model. Average (+/- SD) score of the BDI was 9.6 +/- 7.8 and 5.8 +/- 5.8 (p = 0.005) for patients with and without pain, respectively. Patients with and without pain did not significantly differ in terms of anxiety. Pain-free patients had a significantly higher physical component score than patients with pain in the SF-36v2 (mean, 48.7 +/- 8.6 vs 38.6 +/- 9.8, p < 0.0001, respectively), while the mental component scores were not statistically different between the two groups.
Conclusions: Lung transplant recipients have a high prevalence of pain. Patients with lung emphysema as their preoperative diagnosis are more likely to have pain. The occurrence of pain is associated with a decreased QOL in lung transplant recipients.