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J Vasc Surg. 1999 May;29(5):913-9.

Quality of life after infrainguinal bypass grafting surgery. Dutch Bypass Oral Anticoagulants or Aspirin (BOA) Study Group.

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Department of Vascular Surgery, University Hospital Utrecht, The Netherlands.



The purpose of this study was to compare quality of life in patients with and without various ischemic complications after infrainguinal bypass grafting surgery for occlusive vascular disease.


A sample of patients (n = 746) randomized in the Dutch BOA study (n = 2645), a multicenter trial that compared the effectiveness of oral anticoagulant therapy with aspirin in the prevention of infrainguinal bypass graft occlusions, was entered in this study. On the basis of clinical outcomes of the trial, the patients were grouped as follows: patients with patent grafts (n = 409); patients with nontreated graft occlusions, subdivided into an asymptomatic group (n = 32) and a symptomatic group (n = 65); patients with subsequent revascularizations (n = 194); patients with amputations (n = 36); and patients with failed secondary revascularizations followed by secondary amputation (n = 38). In case an outcome event occurred, the patients were regrouped accordingly. Every half year, the patients completed a Short Form-36 and a EuroQol questionnaire. A multilevel model was used for repeated measure analysis.


The mean follow-up time was 21 months. The quality of life in patients with nontreated asymptomatic occlusions was roughly similar to the quality of life in patients with patent grafts. Patients with symptomatic nontreated occlusions had the lowest outcome with regard to pain as compared with the other groups. Furthermore, physical and social functioning was lower for these patients than for patients with patent grafts. Revascularizations, successful or not, negatively affected pain, social functioning, and physical and emotional role. After successful revascularization, some improvement was observed in pain, physical and social functioning, and general and mental health as compared with the group with nontreated symptomatic occlusions. Amputation deteriorated physical functioning strikingly, especially after failed secondary revascularization. These patients also had the lowest scores of all the groups in the dimensions of social functioning, physical and emotional role, and mental health. EuroQol score showed deterioration of quality of life after all events, except for asymptomatic occlusions. The same patterns emerged if we stratified our analysis according to the indication for the initial operation: claudication or limb salvage. Quality of life was constant over time in all the groups in the observed period.


Quality of life in patients with asymptomatic occluded grafts is similar to quality of life in patients with patent grafts. Revascularization of symptomatic occluded grafts improves quality of life to a certain extent. Amputation, in particular after failed secondary revascularization, seemed to be the lowest possible outcome. The results of the Short Form-36 and EuroQol measurements were in line with the clinical expectations. The association of disease severity with scores on the instruments supports the construct validity of these outcome measures for an objective assessment of quality of life in controlled studies.

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