Background: Health-related quality of life (HQOL) enhancement is a major objective of valvular surgery (VS), but assessments have been limited primarily to generic measures that may not be optimally responsive to intervention. Disease-specific instruments have been used in heart failure (HF), commonly associated with valve disease, but have been neither validated nor routinely applied among patients undergoing VS.
Methods and results: We administered the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure (MLHFQ) and SF-36 questionnaires preoperatively (T(0)) to 50 patients undergoing VS and at 1 (T(1)) and 6 months (T(2)) after VS. Performance of MLHFQ was evaluated and compared with SF-36. MLHFQ completion rates were >98% (NS vs. SF-36); Cronbach's alpha was > or = 0.9 (total score, dimensions), supporting internal reliability. Confirmatory factor analysis verified good model fit for physical/emotional domain items (relative chi-squares < 3.0, critical ratios > 2.0, both instruments), supporting structural validity. Spearman coefficients correlating MLHFQ with parallel SF-36 domains were moderate to high (0.6-0.9; P < or = .001: T(0)-T(2)), supporting convergent validity. Baseline HQOL was poorest in patients with HF (P < or = .05 [both instruments]), supporting criterion validity. Responsiveness (proportional HQOL change scores: T(0) vs. T(2)) to VS was greater with MLHFQ vs. SF-36 (P < or = .002).
Conclusions: Among patients undergoing VS, the MLHFQ is highly acceptable and maintains good psychometric properties, comparing favorably with SF-36. These findings suggest its utility for measuring disease-specific HQOL changes after VS.