Assessing the relationships between health-related quality of life and postoperative length of hospital stay after oesophagectomy for cancer of the oesophagus and the gastro-oesophageal junction†

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To evaluate baseline health-related quality of life (HRQL) factors that influence short-term outcome after oesophagectomy for cancer of the oesophagus and gastro-oesophageal junction and the effects of postoperative length of hospital stay on postoperative HRQL, as perceived by the patients themselves.

METHODS:

Four hundred and fifty-five patients operated on with curative intent between January 2005 and December 2009 were analysed. HRQL scores were obtained by European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ)-C30 and oesophageal-specific symptoms (OES-18) questionnaires at baseline (=day before surgery) and 3-monthly post-surgery for the first year.

RESULTS:

There were 372 males and 83 females, with a mean age of 63.1 years. Hospital mortality was 3.7% (17 patients). When analysing postoperative length of stay (LOS), a median of 10 days was found. In a multivariable analysis, using a binary logistic regression model, independent prognosticators for a longer LOS (>10 days) were: medical [hazard ratio, HR, 6.2 (3.62-10.56); P < 0.0001] and surgical [HR 2.79 (1.70-4.59); P < 0.0001] morbidity, readmittance to intensive care unit [HR 33.82 (4.55-251.21); P = 0.001] and poor physical functioning [HR 1.89 (1.14-3.14); P = 0.014]. Postoperatively, patients with early discharge (LOS <10 days) indicated, at 3 and 12 months postoperatively, significant better HRQL scores in the functional scales (physical, emotional, social and role functioning) and in symptoms scales (fatigue, nausea, dyspnoea appetite loss and dry mouth) when compared with LOS >10 days. Return to the level of the reference population scores was achieved at 1 year in the LOS ≤10 days for almost all the scales, but not in the LOS >10 days group.

CONCLUSIONS:

A better perception of preoperative physical functioning might have a beneficial effect on LOS. Our data, furthermore, suggest that early discharge correlates with improved postoperative HRQL outcomes. A clear decrease of the HRQL is seen at 3 months after the surgery, particularly in the LOS >10 days group. Generally, return to the level of the reference population scores is achieved at 1 year in the LOS ≤10 days, but not in the LOS >10 days group.

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