Background: Current reporting on cardiac surgical outcomes focuses on a patient's status at 30 days and lacks long-term meaningful data. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of complications after cardiac operation on patient-reported outcomes (PROs) at 1 year after surgery. Methods: All patients undergoing cardiac operation at an academic institution (2014-2015) were contacted 1 year after surgery to obtain vital status, location, and PROs using the validated National Institutes of Health Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (NIH-PROMIS). Records were merged with Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) data, and multivariate linear regression evaluated the risk-adjusted effects of complications on 1-year PROs. Results: A total of 782 eligible patients underwent cardiac operation, with PROs data available for 91% of patients alive at 1 year (648 of 716). Mean NIH-PROMIS scores were global physical health (GPH), 48.8 ± 10.2; global mental health (GMH), 51.3 ± 9.5; and physical functioning (PF), 45.5 ± 10.2 (reference score for general adult population, 50 ± 10). Occurrence of an STS Major Morbidity (prolonged ventilation, renal failure, reoperation, stroke, or deep sternal wound infection) significantly reduced 1-year PROs (GPH, 45.4 ± 8.9 [P <.001]; GMH, 48.6 ± 9.5 [P =.01]; PF, 40.9 ± 10.2 [P <.001]). After risk adjustment, incidence of a STS Major Morbidity, prolonged ventilation, or renal failure had a significant adverse effect on 1 or more PRO domains. Conclusions: Although cardiac surgical patients have PROs scores similar to the general population, complications after cardiac operation continue to negatively influence patient quality of life 1 year after surgery. Use of NIH-PROMIS shows that prolonged ventilation and renal failure have the largest impact on 1-year patient-reported outcomes.