Liver transplant candidates have impaired quality of life across health domains as assessed by computerized testing

Ann Hepatol. Jan-Feb 2020;19(1):62-68. doi: 10.1016/j.aohep.2019.06.018. Epub 2019 Sep 11.


Introduction and objectives: Liver transplantation candidates are among the most comorbid patients awaiting lifesaving intervention. Health related quality of life (HRQOL) measured by instruments that incorporate dynamic computerized adaptive testing, could improve their assessment. We aimed to determine the feasibility of administration of the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS-CAT) in liver transplant candidates.

Materials and methods: Liver transplantation candidates were prospectively enrolled following a review of their available medical history. Subjects were given a tablet computer (iPad) to access the pre-loaded PROMIS CAT.

Results: 109 candidates with mean age 55.6±8.6 years were enrolled in this pilot study. Mean MELD-Na score was 16.3±6.3; 92.6% had decompensated liver disease. Leading etiologies of cirrhosis included hepatitis C (34.8%), nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (25.7%) and alcohol (21.1%). Subjects with MELD-Na score>20 had the most significant impairment in HRQOL (anxiety/fear+5.9±2.7, p=0.0289, depression+5.1±2.5, p=0.0428, fatigue+4.3±2.6, p=0.0973) and physical impairment (-7.8±2.5, p=0.0022). Stage of cirrhosis and decompensated liver disease were predictive of impaired HRQOL but Child-Pugh Turcotte score was not. Hepatic encephalopathy was the strongest independent predictor of impaired HRQOL, with significant impairment across all domains of health.

Conclusions: Liver transplant candidates have significantly impaired HRQOL across multiple domains of health as measured by PROMIS-CAT. HRQOL impairment parallels disease severity. Future study is needed to determine how best HRQOL could be systematically included in liver transplantation listing policy, especially in those candidates with hepatic encephalopathy.

Keywords: Cirrhosis; Hepatology; Patient reported outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Cognition
  • Depression / psychology*
  • End Stage Liver Disease / physiopathology
  • End Stage Liver Disease / psychology*
  • Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Fatigue / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hepatic Encephalopathy / physiopathology
  • Hepatic Encephalopathy / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / physiopathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / psychology*
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life*
  • Role
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep
  • Social Participation
  • Software
  • Waiting Lists