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Prog Transplant. 2007 Jun;17(2):136-41.

Quality of life and bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome in patients after lung transplantation.

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Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.



Lung transplantation has become an established and effective treatment for patients with end-stage pulmonary disease.


To investigate health-related quality of life in correlation with occurrence and degree of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome after transplantation.


In a cross-sectional study design, 119 consecutive lung transplant recipients (63.9% bilateral and 36.1% single lung transplants) responded voluntarily to a set of standardized questionnaires (12-Item Short-Form Health Survey, Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale, Coping With Everyday Life, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Zerssen list of complaints) that covered health-related quality of life and psychological well being. Also, we performed pulmonary function studies to clinically grade bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome in all patients.


In this cohort, 41.2% of patients developed bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome at a mean interval of 5.6 years after lung transplantation. Actuarial freedom from bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome was 90.1% +/- 2.3% at 1 year, 79.9% +/- 3.7% at 3 years, and 59.5% +/- 4.8% at 5 years after lung transplantation. Recipients with bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome reported significantly lower well being and quality of life than those without bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, who scored similar to healthy volunteers. In a subanalysis, body functioning (P < .001) and related areas of coping (P < .001) were mostly affected by bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome.


Quality of life was negatively affected by the onset of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome. However, even patients who develop bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome reported a temporary benefit from lung transplantation. In addition to optimal medical care and efforts in preventing bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, psychological support of lung recipients seems to be essential, especially when bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome occurs.

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