BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: Traditional survival outcomes do not reflect the effects on the health-related quality of life (HRQL) of patients. HRQL following lung transplantation has not been studied systematically. The Health Utilities Index (HUI) is a family (HUI2 and HUI3) of measures of HRQL that has not been previously used to assess HRQL in lung transplantation. The objective of the present study was to assess the impact of lung transplantation on patient’s HRQL using the HUI.
METHODS: A total of 43 patients completed a battery of questionnaires before lung transplantation, and at three months and six months after lung transplantation. The 15-item questionnaire (HUI2 and HUI3) was used. Overall scores were based on a conventional scale (0.00 = dead, 1.00 = perfect health). Mental health was assessed by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Adherence to medication and exercise were assessed by Morisky’s and Godin’s questionnaires, respectively.
RESULTS: Sixty-five per cent of the patients were men, with a mean age of 53 years (range 18 to 67 years). The mean overall HUI3 score for the lung transplant candidates (0.57) was much lower than for the lung transplant recipients (0.82) at six months post-transplantation. This difference was clinically important and statistically significant (P<0.05 [paired
ttest, degrees of freedom (df) = 35]). Differences in mean Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale scores after transplantation were statistically significant (P<0.05 [paired ttest, df=35]). After six months, transplant recipients were more adherent to medication (P<0.05 [χ2test, df=1]). Recipients were able to increase the duration of exercise at all levels of intensity.
CONCLUSION: Lung transplantation improved the patients’ HRQL and adherence to medication. Anxiety levels persisted six months after transplantation but depression levels had decreased significantly.