Changes in health-related quality of life and functional capacity following coronary artery bypass graft surgery

Järvinen, Otso; Saarinen, Timo; Julkunen, Juhani; Huhtala, Heini; Tarkka, Matti R.
November 2003
European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery;Nov2003, Vol. 24 Issue 5, p750
Academic Journal
Objective: Improvement in survival and quality of life are the primary indications for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) operations. Among elderly patients the main goal of surgery is not necessarily to prolong life, but to improve the health-related quality of life. Factors associated with mortality and morbidity following CABG surgery have been well defined, but the quality of life and functional capacity in elderly patients undergoing CABG are poorly documented. The aim here was to investigate changes in health-related quality of life, overall performance status and symptomatic status during 1 year after CABG surgery. Methods: Comprehensive data on 508 CABG patients were prospectively collected, including preoperative risk factors and postoperative morbidity in a surgical center and in all eighteen secondary referral hospitals up to discharge. The RAND-36 Health Survey (RAND-36) was used as indicator of quality of life. The primary outcome was change in the physical component summary, mental component summary and General Health summary scores from the RAND-36. Karnofsky dependency category was used to assess overall performance status, and symptomatic status was estimated according to New York Heart Association (NYHA) class. All assessments were made preoperatively and repeated 12 months later. Analysis was based on three age groups: 64 years or less (282 patients), 65–74 years (175 patients), and 75 or more years (51 patients). Results: Thirty-day and 1-year survival rates were 98.2 and 96.7%, respectively. A great majority (86.4%) of the patients recovered without major complication. In all, the present data showed significant improvement in all eight domains of QOL as well as in functional capacity and NYHA class during the 1st year after CABG. However, the mean change in RAND-36 Mental Component Summary scores among patients aged 75 years or more did not reach a statistically significant level (P=0.097) and they had significantly minor improvement as compared to younger patients (P<0.05). Moreover, their General Health score improvement was poorer and statistically insignificant (P=0.817). Conclusions: Elderly patients not only have higher mortality and morbidity but also derive less benefit from CABG regarding certain aspects of QOL.


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