We are using a validated questionnaire (SF-36) to annually assess health-related quality of life (QOL) in kidney and pancreas-kidney transplant recipients. The SF-36 consists of eight scales to assess physical functioning, general health, and mental functioning. Norms and 95% confidence intervals (C.I.) have been developed for the US population. At present, 1138 recipients with functioning grafts (520 Type I diabetic; 618 nondiabetic) 1-10 yr post-transplant have completed the questionnaire. Of the recipients, 446 completed the questionnaire once; 632 twice; and 53 three times (305 after 1 yr; 266 after 2 yr; 256 after 3 yr; 206 after 4 yr; 192 after 5 yr; 150 after 6 yr; 130 after 7 yr; 138 after 8 yr; 125 after 9 yr; 92 after 10 yr). For both diabetic and nondiabetic recipients, there was little change in average scores for each scale between years (p = NS). In relation to the US population, average scores for nondiabetics were below the 50th percentile on all 8 scales; for diabetics < 25th percentile on the physical functioning and vitality scales, < 50th percentile on all others. For both diabetic and nondiabetic recipients, average scores were higher than reported norms for patients with CHF, COPD, or depression but were similar to those with Htn or recent MI. Individual scores were then compared with age-matched means (+/- 2 SEMs) (95% C.I.) for the US population. At each year post-transplant, up to 40% of nondiabetic and up to 65% of diabetic recipients had scores below the 95% C.I. on individual scales (particularly the physical functioning and general health scales)--e.g. over 30% nondiabetic and up to 60% diabetic recipients had scores on the physical functioning scales below the 95% C.I. More diabetic recipients (vs. nondiabetics) reported poor QOL on the physical functioning, general health and social functioning scales. There was little difference in the mental health scales. For those with Type I diabetes, a similar percentage of kidney and K/P recipients reported QOL below the 95% C.I. for the age-matched population, except on the GH scale (better QOL for K/P recipients). We conclude that successful transplant recipients report health-related QOL below that of the age-matched general population but similar to those with other chronic diseases. Diabetic and nondiabetic recipients have similar scores on the mental health scales; nondiabetic recipients score better on the general health and physical functioning scales.
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