Health-related quality of life in chronic liver disease: the impact of type and severity of disease
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OBJECTIVE: The type and severity of chronic liver disease may have different effects on health-related quality of life (HRQL). The aim of our study was to determine whether HRQL in patients with chronic liver disease differs by type and severity of disease and to identify which clinical and physiological factors affect this impairment. METHODS: In this study, HRQL was measured with a generic (Short Form 36) and a liver disease-specific (Chronic Liver Disease Questionnaire) questionnaire. Clinical, demographic, and laboratory data were collected at office visits. Patient's HRQL scores were compared with the published norms and to the chronically ill populations. A total of 353 patients (mean age 50 yr, 51% men) with chronic liver disease, either viral disease (hepatitis B and C), cholestatic disease (primary biliary cirrhosis or primary sclerosing cholangitis), or hepatocellular disease were enrolled in the study. RESULTS: In general, HRQL in patients with chronic liver disease was lower than the normal population and was similar to that of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or congestive heart failure. In cirrhotic patients, some dimensions of HRQL were less impaired in patients with cholestatic disease than in those with hepatocellular diseases. More severe disease (higher Child's class) was associated with a lower Chronic Liver Disease Questionnaire score and the Short Form 36's physical component summary scores. Older age had a weak negative association with the physical aspects of HRQL. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that chronic liver disease substantially reduces HRQL, and this impact does not differ markedly by type of disease. Older age and measures of disease severity were associated with poorer HRQL.
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