BACKGROUND: The evaluation of patient-reported health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) contributes to a comprehensive understanding of the burden associated with this disease. The aim of this study was to assess the overall impact of TB on the health status and on single health domains identified in the WHO definition of health, including physical, mental and social health aspects.
METHODS: Four instruments for HRQOL evaluation were applied in a longitudinal multicentre study during six-month standard TB treatment in South Africa. These included the generic SF-12 and EQ-5D-5L, the disease-specific St. George´s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) and the condition-specific Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Statistical analysis included significance testing, univariable and multivariable analysis, and repeated measures ANOVA. Change over time in the physical component score (PCS) of SF-12 was defined as primary endpoint. A target sample size of 96 patients was estimated.
RESULTS: HRQOL of the study participants was impaired in all physical, mental and psycho-social health domains at treatment start. HRQOL improved significantly and in a clinically meaningful manner during the course of standard TB treatment, over the period of the study. The greatest improvement (95%) was observed in mental health. Younger patients with higher education and who were employed had a better HRQOL.
DISCUSSION: This study demonstrates the need for an integrative understanding of TB with HRQOL as core element to inform gaps in current TB management. Improvements in the management of TB following an integrative patient-centred approach will contribute towards meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG3) target and will support the End TB strategy of the WHO.