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Health-related quality of life in long-term survivors of pediatric liver transplantation.

The purpose of this study is to measure the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in children who are long-term survivors of liver transplantation and to pilot the Liver Transplant Disability Scale (LTDS), a newly developed 12-point scale that quantifies chronic medical disability related to liver transplantation. This study is a cross-sectional survey of 51 children surviving liver transplantation by at least 2 years, with a median age of 4.94 years. Functional capacity and utility scores were measured by the Health Utilities Index Mark II (HUI2), and chronic disease-specific medical disability was measured by the LTDS. HUI2 results were compared with a reference population. LTDS scores were compared with utility scores and patient survival 3 years later. Ninety percent of the study patients had functional deficits compared with 50% of controls. Functional impairment was typically mild. The resulting mean utility score, 0.86 +/- 0.13 (0 = dead, 1 = perfect health), was significantly less than that of the reference population, 0.95 +/- 0. 07 (P <.001). LTDS scores ranged from 0 (no disability) to 6 (moderate disability). Seventy-one percent of the children had mild disability (scores 0 to 3), and 29% had moderate disability (scores 4 to 6). LTDS scores did not correlate with utility scores but were predictive of survival. The majority of pediatric liver transplant recipients have mild functional deficits. Their utility scores reflected a high level of HRQOL but were significantly less than those of a reference population. The majority also had mild medical disability, predominantly delayed growth. Medical disability did not correlate with HRQOL but predicted survival 3 years later.

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