Although many studies have reported significant improvements in quality of life after liver transplantation, consistent data on areas of improvement are lacking.
Dr Santiago Tome and colleagues from Spain performed a systematic review on medical literature of quality of life after liver transplantation.
The research team payed particular attention to studies that utilized the most commonly adopted study instrument, Short Form-36.
|Longitudinal data showed improvement of common domains of quality of life|
|Journal of Hepatology|
The team collected studies focused on quality of life in adult liver transplantation recipients, from 1963 to 2007, cited in Pub Med, Embase or Cochrane databases.
The researchers identified 613 articles, of which 44 were longitudinal studies with pre- and post-liver transplantation.
The team assessed data using a sign test, and 19 used Short Form-36, which the team analyzed separately.
The researchers found that longitudinal data showed remarkable improvement of common domains of quality of life comparing pre- and post-transplant items.
However, analysis of 16 Short Form-36 cross-sectional studies comparing post-liver transplantation patient domains with control population showed higher ratings for controls in 6 while no differences were found in 2.
Dr Tomes' team concluded, "This review suggests that whereas general quality of life improves after liver transplantation, when compared with healthy controls, liver transplantation recipients have significant deficits in quality of life."
"Consequently, the previously reported quality of life benefits after liver transplantation may have been overstated."