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J Heart Lung Transplant. 2005 Apr;24(4):474-80.

Quality of life after lung transplantation: a cross-sectional study.

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General Hospital Vienna, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Vienna, Austria.



The increase in life expectancy has raised the importance of quality of life after lung transplantation, although this issue has not yet been systematically investigated. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to provide an overview of quality of life in lung transplant patients.


Between April and July 2001, a set of 4 questionnaires were given to all adult, German-speaking lung transplant recipients (n = 108; response rate 87% [n = 94]): St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), a lung-specific health status instrument; the Short Form-36 (SF-36), a general quality of life measure; the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS-D) and a self-reported questionnaire concerning sexual functioning, physical symptoms, adverse effects of immunosuppression and satisfaction with outcome.


With regard to the SGRQ, all lung transplant recipients had significantly better scores, which reflected an enhanced quality of life compared with the reference value for patients with obstructive pulmonary disease (SGRQ: p < 0.001 in all sub-scales). The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Mental Component Summary Scale of the SF-36 did not differ significantly compared with published normative data in the healthy population. However, the side effects of immunosuppression proved to be a major factor influencing the quality of life of lung transplant recipients (11% influenced strongly and 24% moderately). Seventy-six percent of lung transplant patients were highly satisfied with the transplant outcome and 92% would opt for the procedure again. Among all lung transplant recipients, those with cystic fibrosis were most satisfied (significantly) with their quality of life.


Although lung transplant patients must cope with the side effects of immunosuppression, they report a highly satisfying quality of life with regard to physical and emotional well-being and social and sexual function.

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