The relationship between stages of chronic hepatitis B liver disease and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is an important aspect of the overall management of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, yet is not well characterized. Consequently we sought to examine HRQoL in HBV patients, stratified by disease severity, compared with normal controls and hypertensive patients, using the Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36) and the EQ-5D self-report questionnaire. Univariate and multivariate analyses were then performed. A total of 432 HBV (156 asymptomatic carriers, 142 chronic hepatitis B, 66 compensated cirrhosis, 24 decompensated cirrhosis, 22 hepatocellular carcinoma, and 22 post-liver transplant) patients, 93 hypertensive patients, and 108 normal controls participated in the study. Multivariate analysis showed that normal controls and asymptomatic carriers had similar SF-36 scores, which were better than those for hypertensive patients, but with development of chronic hepatitis B and compensated cirrhosis, showed a significant decrease in general health and the mental dimension, whereas those with advanced liver disease (decompensated cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma) had significantly lower scores in all components (P < 0.05), indicating that the physical component deteriorates only with advanced liver disease. Similar results were obtained with EQ5D. Post-liver transplant patients had similar HRQoL to patients with decompensated cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, although there was a trend toward improvement.
Conclusion: Our results showed that HRQoL in asymptomatic carriers is comparable to those of normal controls and better than hypertensive patients, but deteriorates with disease progression, initially in general health and mental dimensions, but with advanced disease all dimensions are affected.