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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e60477. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060477. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Impact of influenza on health-related quality of life among confirmed (H1N1)2009 patients.

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Health Services Research Group, IMIM-Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques, Barcelona, Spain.



We aimed to assess the changes in health-related quality of life (HRQL) in patients with confirmed diagnosis of influenza (H1N1)2009, and to estimate the individual and societal loss of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) caused by the pandemic.


Longitudinal study of patients recruited at major hospitals and primary care centers in Spain. Patients reported their HRQL (EQ-5D) during their influenza episode and seven days prior to it. A subsample was monitored to evaluate HRQL after recovery. HRQL loss was estimated as the difference between EQ-5D prior to the influenza episode and during it. Individual QALY loss (disutility multiplied by the duration of the influenza episode in days) for confirmed cases was calculated and used to estimate the societal loss in Spain (with the official estimations). A total of 432 inpatients and 563 outpatients were included, of whom 145 and 184, respectively, were followed up. Baseline mean HRQL loss was 0.58 (95% CI, 0.53-0.63) for inpatients and 0.43 (95% CI, 0.40-0.46) for outpatients. The majority of the 145 inpatients and 184 outpatients who were followed up regained initial HRQL levels, presenting a mean difference of 0.01 between the EQ-5D score prior to and after the influenza episode. Individual QALY losses for inpatients (0.031, 95% CI, 0.025-0.037) were higher than for outpatients (0.009, 95% CI, 0.007-0.011), while societal QALY losses were reversed: 94 years for inpatients and 6,778 years for outpatients. For fatal cases (an official number of 318), we estimated a QALY loss of 11,981.


The influenza (H1N1)2009 pandemic had a significant but temporary impact on the HRQL of the majority of confirmed in- and outpatients. The societal impact of the influenza pandemic in Spain was estimated to be higher than other acute conditions. These results provide useful data for future cost-utility analyses.

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