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Health-Related Quality of Life May Predict Cirrhosis Survival

Last Updated: July 14, 2009.

Health-related quality of life is a predictor of survival in cirrhosis patients who are in need of liver transplantation, according to a study published in the July issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

TUESDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- Health-related quality of life is a predictor of survival in cirrhosis patients who are in need of liver transplantation, according to a study published in the July issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Fasiha Kanwal, M.D., of John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis, and colleagues measured health-related quality of life in 156 cirrhosis patients who were awaiting liver transplantation. The researchers measured the relationship between health-related quality of life and survival and examined whether that relationship is independent of the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD).

During a mean follow-up of nine months, 17 percent of patients died and 20 percent received liver transplants. The researchers found that higher baseline health-related quality of life predicted lower mortality (hazard ratio, 0.96). There was a 4 percent decrease in mortality for each 1-point increase in health-related quality of life. The researchers determined that the results stayed the same after they adjusted for MELD, patient demographics, and psychosocial characteristics. The MELD score accounted for 1 percent of the variation in health-related quality of life scores.

"In conclusion, our results demonstrate that a short, disease-targeted health-related quality of life instrument can be used to identify patients with advanced liver disease who are at high risk of short-term death. Health-related quality of life assessments might complement objective measures of disease severity not only to accurately and comprehensively assess health status but also to better risk stratify patients with advanced liver disease," the authors write.

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