Factors that influence health-related quality of life in patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis

Angela C Cheung, Harshna Patel, Javier Meza-Cardona, Maria Cino, Sanjeev Sockalingam, Gideon M Hirschfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is an incurable, cholestatic liver disease often coincident with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

AIMS: To evaluate the impact of liver disease and IBD on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in PSC.

METHODS: A mixed-methods, cross-sectional study was performed at a tertiary center. Short Form-36 (SF-36) scores were compared between PSC, Canadian normative data, and disease controls. Disease-specific instruments scores [PBC-40, Short IBD questionnaire, Liver Disease Quality of Life Questionnaire (LDQOL)] were compared between PSC and disease controls. Multivariable regression identified factors independently associated with final SF-36 component scores. Qualitative evaluation of patient questionnaires was performed using a content analysis framework.

RESULTS: One hundred and sixty-two surveys were completed (99 PSC, 26 primary biliary cirrhosis, 16 non-autoimmune cholestatic liver disease, and 21 IBD). PSC patients had significantly lower SF-36 scores than Canadian controls, but similar scores to disease controls. LDQOL most accurately predicted HRQoL. Factors negatively associated with physical HRQoL included shorter IBD duration, liver disease symptoms, and decompensated cirrhosis. Mental HRQoL was influenced by liver disease and IBD symptoms, pruritus, social isolation, and depression. Nearly 75 % expressed existential anxiety regarding disease progression and diminished life expectancy, with 25 % disclosing social isolation.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with PSC have significantly lower HRQoL than healthy controls. Both symptoms of IBD and chronic liver disease impact HRQoL in patients with PSC, which lead to significant psychologic burden that is expressed by existential anxieties and social isolation. A PSC-specific HRQoL tool is critical to adequately quantify the distinct impact of IBD and cholestatic liver disease.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Early online date7 Jan 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jan 2016


  • Health-related quality of life
  • Qualitative research
  • Cholestatic liver disease
  • Short Form-36


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