Background: The objective of this study was to determine the long-term quality of life (QOL) in patients with an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) undergoing surveillance or after operative treatment.
Methods: 249 patients with AAAs completed the WHO Quality of Life-BREF (WHOQOL-BREF) test and Short Form (36) Health Survey (SF-36) survey: 78 patients with small AAAs under surveillance, 26 after ruptured AAAs (rAAAs), 47 after endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR), and 98 after elective open repair. The results were compared with WHOQOL-BREF and SF-36 standard values from a matched German population using the Student's 2-tailed t-test.
Results: Long-term results of the WHOQOL-BREF test showed that patients undergoing AAA surveillance had a significantly lower physical QOL (P = 0.04). Patients after EVAR or open repair rated their environmental QOL significantly higher than the age- and sex-matched general population (open repair: P = 0.006; EVAR: P < 0.001). Patients with rAAAs had the same QOL as the matched German population. Long-term results of the QOL SF-36 showed that patients undergoing AAA surveillance rated their QOL significantly lower in the subgroup of role-physical (P = 0.02) and role-emotional (P = 0.003). Patients with rAAAs rated lower scores for role-physical (P = 0.02) and had more bodily pain (P = 0.02). Patients who underwent elective open repair had the same high QOL as the matched German population, whereas patients who underwent EVAR reported significant improvement in vitality (P = 0.002) and mental health (P = 0.03) compared with the matched German population.
Conclusions: Based on measurements from 2 independent QOL tests, the well-established operative treatment of AAAs provided patients with a QOL comparable to that of a matched German population. The electively treated AAA groups rated environmental QOL factors significantly higher than the control group. The impaired physical and emotional QOL of the AAA group under surveillance suggests that more intense patient education could be beneficial.
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