Survival and quality of life after organ transplantation in veterans and nonveterans.

Moore D, Feurer I, Speroff T, Shaffer D, Nylander W, Kizilisik T, Butler J, Awad J, Gorden DL, Chari R, Wright JK, Pinson CW
Am J Surg. 2003 186 (5): 476-80

PMID: 14599610 · DOI:10.1016/j.amjsurg.2003.07.024

BACKGROUND - Some previous studies suggested that transplantation performed in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) patients was associated with a higher rate of complications and poorer outcomes. We examined more than a decade of experience with solid organ transplantation at a single center and compared VA patients with nonveteran patients to assess long-term patient and graft survival and health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

METHODS - Demographic, clinical, and survival data were extracted from a database that included all transplants from January 1990 through December 2002 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (non-VA) and the Nashville VA Medical Center (VA). The HRQOL was assessed in a subset of patients using the Karnofsky functional performance (FP) index and the Short-Form-36 self-report questionnaire. Data were analyzed by Kaplan-Meier survival and analysis of variance methods.

RESULTS - One thousand eight hundred nine adult patients receiving solid organ transplants (1,896 grafts) between 1990 and 2002 were reviewed: 380 VA patients (141 liver, 54 heart, 183 kidney, 2 lung) and 1429 non-VA patients (280 liver, 246 heart, 749 kidney, 154 lung). Mean follow-up time was 46 +/- 1 months. Five-year graft survival for VA and non-VA patients, respectively, was liver 65% +/- 5% versus 69% +/- 3% (P = 0.97); heart 73% +/- 8% versus 73% +/- 3% (P = 0.67); and kidney 76% +/- 5% versus 77% +/- 2% (P = 0.84). Five-year patient survival was liver 75% +/- 5% versus 78% +/- 3% (P = 0.94); heart 73% +/- 8% versus 74% +/- 3% (P = 0.75); and kidney 84% +/- 4% versus 87% +/- 2% (P = 0.21) for VA and non-VA, respectively. In the first 3 years after transplant, the FP scores for VA versus non-VA patients were 85 +/- 2 versus 87 +/- 1 (P = 0.50). The SF-36 mental component scales were 47 +/- 3 versus 49 +/- 1 (P = 0.39); and the SF-36 physical component scales were 37 +/- 2 versus 38 +/- 1 (P = 0.59), respectively. Longer-term (through year 7) HRQOL scores for VA versus non-VA patients were FP 85 +/- 1 versus 88 +/- 1 (P = 0.17); mental component scales 47 +/- 2 versus 49 +/- 1 (P = 0.29); and physical component scales 35 +/- 2 versus 39 +/- 1 (P = 0.05), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS - The veteran patients have similar graft and patient survival as the nonveteran patients. Overall quality of life is similar between veterans and nonveterans during the first three years after transplantation. A trend toward a later decline in the veterans' perception of their physical functioning may stem from the increased prevalence of hepatitis C virus among VA liver transplant recipients, a known factor reducing late HRQOL.

MeSH Terms (21)

Adult Case-Control Studies Cross-Sectional Studies Databases, Factual Female Follow-Up Studies Graft Survival Hospitals, Veterans Humans Karnofsky Performance Status Male Middle Aged Organ Transplantation Quality of Life Surveys and Questionnaires Survival Analysis Tennessee Time Factors United States United States Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans

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