The effect of thoracoabdominal aneurysm repair on quality of life
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OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to assess the impact of surgery on quality of life (QOL) in patients who underwent thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm (TAAA) repair. METHODS: This is a prospective single center cohort study using two quality of life questionnaires administered before surgery, at 6 months, and 1 year after surgery. The Illness Intrusiveness Rating Scale (IIRS) is a tool that on a 7-point Likert scale assesses the impact of disease on each of 13 domains of quality of life. The Karnofsky Activity Scale (KAS) uses a single rating to assess the impact on overall quality of life. At each visit, participants completed the IIRS and KAS. Healthy, nonaneurysmal individuals also completed the IIRS to form a control group. RESULTS: From 1998 to 2006, 297 patients underwent thoracoabdominal aneurysm repair at a tertiary care hospital. Quality of life was measured on 80 patients in total. Preoperative data was available in 45 patients (7 completed the IIRS and 3 the KAS only, and 35 both); 6-month postoperative data in 25 (1 completed the KAS only, and 24 both); and 1-year data postoperative in 35 (4 completed the IIRS and 2 the KAS only, and 29 both). Internal consistency was established for IIRS (Cronbach's alpha 0.85) and KAS (0.81). The mean preoperative IIRS score was 32.10 (SD 17.91). After surgery, there was no change at the 6-month and 1-year postoperative intervals: at 6 months, the mean IIRS score was 33.17 (SD 17.66) and at 1 year the mean was 28.09 (SD 13.61). Total IIRS in nonaneurysmal controls was 13.5 (SD 0.7). The mean preoperative Karnofsky Activity Scale score was 80.0 (SD 15.07), which corresponds to an ability to perform normal activity with effort and some signs or symptoms of disease. After surgery, there was no change as patients reported a 6-month mean score of 79.60 (SD 21.89), and a 1-year postoperative mean score of 86.94 (SD 13.94). CONCLUSIONS: Quality of life for patients undergoing TAAA repair who survive to attend follow-up in an ambulatory setting can be measured using reliable and valid instruments. Preoperatively, QOL is poor compared with healthy controls. After surgery, at 6- and 12-month follow-up, QOL seems to return to the preoperative levels. Further research is necessary to address responsiveness and sensitivity of QOL measuring tools.
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