OBJECTIVE: To evaluate meaningful, patient-centered outcomes including alive-at-home status and patient-reported quality of life 1 year after cardiac surgery. BACKGROUND: Long-term patient-reported quality of life after cardiac surgery is not well understood. Current operative risk models and quality metrics focus on short-term outcomes. METHODS: In this combined retrospective/prospective study, cardiac surgery patients at an academic institution (2014-2015) were followed to obtain vital status, living location, and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) at 1 year using the NIH Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS). We assessed the impact of cardiac surgery, discharge location, and Society of Thoracic Surgeons perioperative predicted risk of morbidity or mortality on 1-year outcomes. RESULTS: A total of 782 patients were enrolled; 84.1% (658/782) were alive-at-home at 1 year. One-year PROMIS scores were global physical health (GPH) = 48.8 ± 10.2, global mental health (GMH) = 51.2 ± 9.6, and physical functioning (PF) = 45.5 ± 10.2 (general population reference = 50 ± 10). All 3 PROMIS domains at 1 year were significantly higher compared with preoperative scores (GPH: 41.7 ± 8.5, GMH: 46.9 ± 7.9, PF: 39.6 ± 9.0; all P < 0.001). Eighty-two percent of patients discharged to a facility were alive-at-home at 1 year. These patients, however, had significantly lower 1-year scores (difference: GPH = -5.1, GMH = -5.1, PF = -7.9; all P < 0.001). Higher Society of Thoracic Surgeons perioperative predicted risk was associated with significantly lower PRO at 1 year (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Cardiac surgery results in improved PROMIS scores at 1 year, whereas discharge to a facility and increasing perioperative risk correlate with worse long-term PRO. One-year alive-at-home status and 1-year PRO are meaningful, patient-centered metrics that help define long-term quality and the benefit of cardiac surgery.