Study objectives: To assess the change in health-related quality of life (HRQL) among Dutch lung transplant patients before and after transplantation.
Design: Prospective longitudinal study on HRQL among 24 Dutch lung transplant patients who participated first as transplant candidates, and later as recipients in the study. This study design provides an accurate estimate of the change in HRQL as a result of lung transplantation because there is no confounding between change due to differences in composition between groups of patients at the different points of follow-up and the true change as a result of the transplantation. Patients completed self-administered questionnaires before transplantation, and at 1, 4, 7, 13, and 19 months after transplantation. The main HRQL measures were: the Nottingham health profile (NHP), the State-trait Anxiety Inventory, the Self-rating Depression Scale-Zung, the Karnofsky Performance Index, the index of well-being, and activities of daily living (ADL).
Setting: University Hospital Groningen, the Netherlands.
Results: Before transplantation, patients report major restrictions on the dimensions mobility and energy of the NHP, a low level of experienced well-being, and depressive symptoms. In addition, patients experience difficulties in performing ADL and report a low ability to take care of themselves. About 4 months after transplantation, mobility, energy, sleep, ADL dependency level, and dyspnea were particularly positively affected by the lung transplantation. These improvements were maintained in the following 15 months.
Conclusions: Lung transplantation contributes positively to the HRQL of surviving patients over time.