Quality of life before and after liver transplantation for cholestatic liver disease

Hepatology. 1999 Feb;29(2):356-64. doi: 10.1002/hep.510290229.


Liver transplantation (LT) is an established therapy for patients with end-stage primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) or primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). In this report, we describe the health status and quality of life (QOL) in patients with these cholestatic liver diseases before and after LT. A QOL questionnaire was completed by 157 adult patients with PBC or PSC before and 1 year after liver transplantation at the Mayo Clinic or Baylor University Medical Center. This questionnaire measured four aspects of QOL, including symptoms; physical, social, and emotional functioning; health perceptions; and overall QOL. Changes in these QOL parameters before and after LT were described, and regression analysis was used to assess the relationships between clinical and QOL factors. There were no differences in QOL parameters between patients with PBC and PSC. QOL following transplantation was substantially better than before transplantation. This was observed in all four aspects of QOL. The degree of improvement as measured by effect size (difference in mean scores divided by the pretransplantation standard deviation) was 0.53 for symptoms (P <.01), 1.16 for function (P <.01), 2.37 for health satisfaction (P <.01), and 1.16 for overall QOL (P <.01). Patients' overall QOL before transplantation was significantly related to subjective and objective health status indicators and clinical factors such as ascites and renal dysfunction. QOL at 1-year follow-up, however, could not be adequately predicted by the pretransplantation subjective health status and clinical factors. Patients with end-stage cholestatic disease undergoing LT experience substantial improvement in all aspects of QOL addressed in this study. The patients' QOL 1 year after LT could not be predicted by pretransplantation variables used in this study.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / surgery*
  • Fatigue
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Karnofsky Performance Status
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary / surgery*
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pruritus
  • Quality of Life*
  • Reoperation
  • Sleep Wake Disorders
  • Surveys and Questionnaires