Longitudinal quality of life in liver transplant recipients
Since acceptance in 1984 as a treatment for end-stage liver disease, over 26,000 liver transplants have been performed in the United States. With the availability of this surgical procedure, many people have another chance at life. Liver transplantation is often scrutinized because of its high cost, its limited resources (organs), and concerns of whether or not it is an appropriate service. Measuring quality of life post-transplant is one way to show that liver transplantation is making a difference. From 1983 to 1997 over 40 studies examined quality of life in liver transplant recipients. Few studies were longitudinal, capturing information from the same individual at several time points. The purpose of this study was to describe transplant recipients' quality of life pre-transplant and at 1 and 2 years post-transplant. Patients were asked to complete the Quality of Life form at the time of initial evaluation for liver transplant and 1 and 2 years post-transplant. Data from 139 recipients was extracted from a large database maintained by a large transplant center. Repeated measures analysis of variance showed a statistically significant difference in quality of life at 1 and 2 years post-transplant as compared to QOL scores pre-transplant. There was no statistically significant difference between quality of life at 1 and 2 years. A statistically significant difference in quality of life was also found between men and women with men reporting higher overall quality of life scores. Liver transplantation does make a difference in improving quality of life. Nurses need to disseminate this information to health care providers, liver transplant candidates, and liver transplant recipients. Further investigation is suggested to explore the difference of quality of life between genders.