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Arch Hellen Med, 34(2), March-April 2017, 221-228


Complications and long-term quality of life following liver transplantation and major gastrointestinal surgery

D. Mantas,1 C. Karounis,2 E. Antoniou,1 Z. Garoufalia,1 J. Spyropoulos,2 G. Kouraklis1
1Second Department of Propedeutic Surgery, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens
2Intensive Care Unit, "Laiko" General Hospital, Athens, Greece

OBJECTIVE To record postoperative complications after liver transplantation and other major gastrointestinal surgical procedures and to compare the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of the patients 7 years after surgery.

METHOD The study examined two groups of patients who had undergone either orthotopic liver transplantation (n=32) or major surgery for gastrointestinal disease, specifically tumors (n=32), all of whom were in the Intensive Care Unit after surgery for at least 3 days. The complications in the two groups during the immediate postoperative period were recorded, and in the survivors the HRQoL 7 years after surgery was examined using the SF-36 questionnaire, and compared with that of the general population.

RESULTS The most common complication in patients with liver transplantation was infection (78.1%). In patients with other abdominal surgery the most common complications were renal (46.9%), followed by cardiovascular problems (43.8%) and infection (34.4%). Concerning HRQoL, the SF-36 questionnaire was completed for 43.75% (14/32) of the patients in each group. Only in the domain of "mental health" were significant differences found between the two groups of patients, with the patients who had undergone liver transplantation recording a significantly higher score. The quality of life in other aspects of the survey was similar between the two groups of patients.

CONCLUSIONS Recognition of complications is essential for planning immediate treatment and thus decreasing morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing major abdominal surgery. Determination of the post-operative HRQoL is particularly important, since the choice of treatment should take into consideration how it may later affect the patient's life.

Key words: Complications, Gastrointestinal surgery, Liver transplantation, Quality of life.

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