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For advanced coronary disease, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery generally improves patients' symptoms and long-term survival. Unfortunately, some patients experience worse health-related quality of life (HRQL) after CABG. The objective of this study is to report the frequency and risk factors associated with 1-year post-CABG HRQL deterioration.From 2002 to 2007, 2203 “Randomized On/Off Bypass” (ROOBY) trial patients randomly received either off-pump or on-pump CABG at 18 VA medical centers. Subjects completed both baseline and 1-year Seattle Angina Questionnaire (SAQ) and the Veterans Rand 36 (VR-36) questionnaires to assess HRQL. Using previously published criteria, the rates of clinically significant changes were determined for the SAQ [angina frequency (AF), physical limitation (PL), and quality of life (QoL)] and VR36 [mental component score (MCS) and physical component score (PCS)] subscales. Multivariate regression models were then used to identify pre-CABG patient characteristics associated with worsened 1-year HRQL status for each subscale.Over 80% of patients had an improvement or no change in SAQ and VR-36 subscale scores 1 year after CABG. The HRQL scale-specific deterioration rates were 4.5% SAQ-AF, 16.8% SAQ-PL, 4.9% SAQ-QoL, 19.4% VR36-MCS, and 13.5% VR36-PCS. Predictors of 1-year HRQL deterioration were diabetes and smoking for the SAQ-AF; diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and peripheral vascular disease (PVD) for SAQ-PL; COPD and depression for the SAQ-QoL; diabetes for VR36-PCS, and history of stroke and depression for VR36-MCS. The baseline score was an independent predictor for worsening in all the subscales studied.Among VA patients, less than 20% experienced worse HRQL 1 year after CABG. For patients with low symptom burden at baseline, diabetes, smoking, depression, PVD, COPD, and a prior stroke, clinicians should be more cautious in pre-CABG counseling as to their anticipated HRQL improvements.