Objectives: Thoracoscopic pleurodesis is a safe and effective method of palliative care for patients suffering from malignant pleural effusion. Health-related quality of life (QOL) is an important factor in palliative therapy; however, we are not aware of any studies that have examined the QOL of patients following thoracoscopic pleurodesis.
Methods: A total of 123 patients underwent thoracoscopic pleurodesis between January 2006 and February 2009. A total of 45 patients agreed to take part at the QOL assessment and were enrolled in our prospective study. In addition to clinical outcome, the patients' QOL data were assessed prior to thoracoscopic pleurodesis and for 12 months after surgery using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ C-30 questionnaire. We compared the patients' QOL scores at each time point with their preoperative scores and analyzed these data relative to the scores of a healthy age-matched population.
Results: Due to the advanced clinical status of the patients in our study, the overall median survival time was 7.5 months versus 10.2 months for patients' QOL data. Following discharge from the hospital, most functional scales (with exception of emotional function, p=0.035) did not significantly differ from preoperative scores. Throughout the study period, patients experienced statistically and clinically significant improvements in functional scales. Global health values increased after surgery throughout the entire study period. There was a clear decline in dyspnea upon discharge, followed by a continuous remote increase throughout the subsequent months. QOL of the study population remained lower than that of the healthy cohort.
Conclusions: Our data are consistent with clinical findings that pleurodesis decreases respiratory symptoms, but does not alleviate impairments in the patient's general condition.