Measuring quality of recovery in perioperative clinical trials

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Purpose of review

Perioperative studies increasingly report patient-centered outcomes, but few provide a valid, global measure of a patient's health status after surgery and anesthesia. This review considers three quality of recovery (QoR) scales.

Recent findings

The 9-item (QoR Score), 15-item (QoR-15), and 40-item (QoR-40) QoR scales have been extensively validated in perioperative settings, and have also been used as outcome measures in numerous surgery and anesthesia studies. A range of clinical trials are presented to illustrate the value of the QoR scales in perioperative medicine research.


The QoR Score, QoR-15, and QoR-40 are valid and recommended endpoints for perioperative clinical trials, and there is guidance as to what constitutes a minimal clinically important difference. These recovery scales are sensitive to a change in health status and, as numerical data, optimize statistical power when used in the design of a clinical trial. They are closely correlated with conventional measures of outcome such as analgesic consumption, pain scores, nausea and vomiting, and hospital stay. Although conventional measures may be considered patient-centered, each are incomplete by themselves. QoR scores provide a meaningful overall evaluation of a patient's recovery after surgery and anesthesia.

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