BACKGROUND: Lung transplantation (LTx) aims to reduce physical disability and mental distress, extend survival, and improve health-related quality of life (HRQoL). In this systematic review we aimed to: (1) augment evidence regarding measures to assess HRQoL and psychological outcomes after LTx; and (2) summarize HRQoL and psychological outcomes after LTx.
METHODS: Validated and standardized instruments with well-known psychometric properties used for assessing HRQoL and psychological outcomes after LTx were identified by means of comprehensive literature searches of PsychINFO and Medline/PubMed, up through March 2014, using the following search terms in various combinations: lung transplantation; physical functioning; symptom experience; mental health; anxiety; depression; distress; social functioning; life satisfaction; and health-related quality of life.
RESULTS: The search strategy identified 371 titles and abstracts. Of these, 279 were retrieved for further assessment and 63 articles selected for final review. Thirty-nine studies were found for HRQoL, 15 for physical functioning, 5 for mental health and 4 for social functioning. A total of 50 psychometric instruments were encountered.
CONCLUSIONS: Considerable heterogeneity exists in methodology, operational concepts and applied outcome measures in the existing literature on HRQoL and psychological outcomes after LTx. Nevertheless, the studies generally point to significant improvements in both mental health and HRQoL post-transplant. Further research is warranted utilizing consistent outcome measures, including LTx-specific measures and longitudinal study designs.