Development and psychometric testing of a quality of recovery score after general anesthesia and surgery in adults

Anesth Analg. 1999 Jan;88(1):83-90. doi: 10.1097/00000539-199901000-00016.


A variety of methods have been used to quantify aspects of recovery after anesthesia. Most are narrowly focused, are not patient-rated, and have not been validated. We therefore set out to develop a patient-rated quality of recovery score. We constructed a 61-item questionnaire that asked individuals (patients and relatives, medical and nursing staff; total n = 136) to rate various postoperative items describing features a patient may experience postoperatively. The most highly ranked items were included in a final nine-point index score, which we called the "QoR Score." We then studied two cohorts of surgical patients (n = 449). There was good convergent validity between the QoR Score and the visual analog scale score (rho = 0.55, P < 0.0001). Discriminant construct validity was supported by comparing resultant QoR Scores in patients undergoing day-stay, minor, and major surgery (P = 0.008), as well as a negative correlation with duration of hospital stay (rho = -0.20, P < 0.0001), and, using multivariate regression, demonstrating a significant negative relationship between QoR Score and female gender (P = 0.048) and older age (P = 0.041). There was also good interrater agreement (rho = 0.55, P < 0.0001), test-retest reliability (median rho = 0.61, P < 0.0001), and internal consistency (alpha = 0.57 and 0.90, P < 0.0001). There was a significant difference between the groups of patients recovering from major and minor surgery (P < 0.001). This study demonstrates that the QoR Score has good validity, reliability, and clinical acceptability in patients undergoing many types of surgery.

Implications: We set out to develop a patient-rated quality of recovery score (QoR) that could be used both as a measure of outcome in perioperative trials and for clinical audit. We first surveyed patients and staff to identify important aspects of recovery, then developed a nine-point QoR Score. This was then compared with other measures of postoperative outcome. We found that the QoR Score is a useful measure of recovery after anesthesia and surgery.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anesthesia Recovery Period*
  • Anesthesia, General / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Period
  • Psychometrics / methods*
  • Quality of Life
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires