The purpose of this review is to identify knowledge about the influence of chronic disease on major life changing decisions (MLCDs). This review was carried out in three stages: identification of key search terms; selection of databases and searching parameters; and evaluation of references. Only two articles matched the main search term 'major life changing decisions'. No article reviewed or measured the influence of chronic disease on major life changing decisions. However, 76 articles and various sections of seven books were identified that provided insight into this area and these are reviewed in detail. This literature review has brought together previously scattered information on chronic disease impact on important patient life decisions. These include decisions related to having children, marriage and divorce, job and career choice, social life, holidays, travelling and education. Lifestyle decisions viewed by patients as major decisions are also documented. The influence of cancer on life decisions is discussed, as are affected life decisions of other family members. Very little information is available about the long-term impact of chronic disease on patients' lives and methodology to assess long-term impact is incomplete. This review points to a novel dimension to health-related outcome research, the impact of chronic disease on major life changing decisions, and its possible implication for patients' future health.