Background: Cross-sectional analyses have identified significant associations between quality of life (QOL), and comorbidities and adverse effects in cardiac transplant recipients. However, little is known about factors that influence changes in QOL over time. This study examines both cross-sectional and longitudinal data from long-term survivors to identify factors that affect differences in QOL among recipients and individual changes in QOL during a 1-year period. Methods: Self-selected enrollees completed questionnaires, including QOL scales, at 3-month intervals. Repeated measures multiple regression analysis was used to examine the association between the QOL scales and comorbidities, adverse effects, and compliance measures, controlling for other factors. Results: We included 569 participants in the analysis, with a mean time since transplantation of 8.6 years. Cross-sectional results showed that the number of comorbidities, treatment non-compliance, and several adverse effects were associated with low QOL. In longitudinal results, waiting to take medications and taking less medication because of lifestyle restrictions were associated with decreases in QOL over time. Hair loss, changes in face shape, and decreased sexual interest or ability also had the largest adverse effects on changes in QOL. Conclusions: These findings provide new opportunities for interventions to address factors related to decreases in QOL. Clinicians should actively solicit information about compliance with medication regimens. In addition, information about the adverse effects of medications should be considered when making therapeutic decisions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation funded this study. Dr. Barr was funded in part by a grant from the Heart and Lung Surgery Foundation, Los Angeles, California, and research support from the University of Southern California University Hospital, Los Angeles, California.