Surgical and medical treatments for emphysema may affect both quality and quantity of life. The purpose of this article is to report outcomes from the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT) using an index that combines quality and quantity of life.
This was a prospective randomized clinical trial. Following pulmonary rehabilitation, 1,218 patients with severe emphysema were randomly assigned to maximal medical therapy or to lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS). A generic quality-of-life measure, known as the Quality of Well-being Scale (QWB), was administered at baseline and again at 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, and 72 months following treatment assignment.
At baseline, QWB scores were comparable for the Medical and LVRS groups. For both groups, scores significantly improved following the rehabilitation program. The QWB scores before death for patients in the LVRS group improved up to the year 2 visit, whereas scores for the Medical group dropped significantly following the baseline visit. Imputing zeros (0) for death, QWB scores decreased significantly for both groups. With or without scoring death as 0, the LVRS group achieved better outcomes, and the significant differences were maintained until the sixth year. Over 6 years of follow-up, LVRS produced an average of 0.30 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), or the equivalent of about 3.6 months of well life.
Compared with maximal medical therapy alone, patients undergoing maximal medical therapy plus LVRS experienced improved health-related quality of life and gained more QALYs.
ClinicalTrials.gov; No.: NCT00000606; URL: www.clinicaltrials.gov