Objective: Improvement of prognosis and availability of diverse therapeutic options for complications of advanced liver disease highlight the importance of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in cirrhosis. The aim of this study was to identify factors that influence HRQOL and may be potentially treatable in patients with cirrhosis.
Methods: HRQOL was measured in 212 outpatients with cirrhosis using a generic questionnaire (Medical Outcomes Study Form, SF-36) and a liver-specific questionnaire (Chronic Liver Disease Questionnaire, CLDQ). All patients underwent a systematic clinical and neuropsychological assessment. Independent factors associated with poor HRQOL were identified by multiple linear regression.
Results: HRQOL scores exhibited by patients were: global CLDQ: 4.8+/-1.2; Physical Component Score of SF-36: 38.5+/-10.7; Mental Component Score of SF-36: 45.3+/-14.3. The independent variables for global CLDQ were female sex, nonalcoholic etiology, current ascites, and a decrease in albumin (R = 0.22). For Physical Component Score of SF-36, the independent variables were prior hepatic encephalopathy, current ascites, and a decrease in hemoglobin (R = 0.22). For Mental Component Score of SF-36, the independent variables were nonalcoholic etiology, the Grooved Pegboard test, and a decrease in hemoglobin (R = 0.14).
Conclusion: Several clinical variables, potentially treatable, may alter particular aspects of HRQOL. Correction of ascites, hypoalbuminemia, minimal hepatic encephalopathy, and anemia may cause a positive impact on HRQOL of patients with cirrhosis.