Quality of Life in Coronary Artery Disease

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Abstract

Background:

Coronary artery disease (CAD) constitutes a considerable financial burden on society in Finland; it is the cause of death of approximately 7,500 men and 6,500 women annually in a population of 5 million.

Objectives:

The purpose of this study was to assess the changes in the quality of life (QOL) of patients with CAD treated by medication, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), and coronary artery bypass surgery (CABS) during 1 year.

Method:

The study population consisted of 280 patients with CAD. One hundred patients had been referred to CABS and another 100 to PTCA, whereas 80 patients were on drug therapy. The patients assessed their health status and QOL in terms of functional capacity and aspects of distress using self-completed questionnaires with the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) instrument before the operation and 6 and 12 months afterwards.

Results:

The QOL of the patients who had undergone CABS and PTCA was significantly better on the dimensions of energy, pain, and mobility 1 year after the intervention. In the medication group, the only improvement took place on the dimension of social isolation, whereas both energy and mobility deteriorated.

Conclusions:

The results on QOL obtained in this study support the notion that patients continue to have many problems even after medical treatment with a good outcome. The problems occur in different areas compared with the pretreatment situation as on the dimensions of social isolation and emotional reaction. The rehabilitation of CAD patients is therefore important because the new problems are manifested differently from those seen before the illness or the treatment. The patient's QOL and personal preference for a treatment modality should be important criteria in the choice of treatment.

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