Lung transplantation offers the hope of prolonged survival and significant improvement in quality of life to patients that have advanced lung diseases. However, the medical literature lacks strong positive evidence and shows conflicting information regarding survival and quality of life outcomes related to lung transplantation. Decisions about the use of lung transplantation require an assessment of trade-offs: do the potential health and quality of life benefits outweigh the potential risks and harms? No amount of theoretical reasoning can resolve this question; empiric data are needed. Rational analyses of these trade-offs require valid measurements of the benefits and harms to the patients in all relevant domains that affect survival and quality of life. Lung transplant systems and registries mainly focus outcomes assessment on patient survival on the waiting list and after transplantation. Improved analytic approaches allow comparisons of the survival effects of lung transplantation versus continued waiting. Lung transplant entities do not routinely collect quality of life data. However, the medical community and the public want to know how lung transplantation affects quality of life. Given the huge stakes for the patients, the providers, and the healthcare systems, key stakeholders need to further support quality of life assessment in patients with advanced lung disease that enter into the lung transplant systems. Studies of lung transplantation and its related technologies should assess patients with tools that integrate both survival andquality of life information. Higher quality information obtained will lead to improved knowledge and more informed decision making.
- Lung transplantation
- Outcomes assessment (health care)
- Quality of life
- Survival analysis
- Technology assessment (biomedical)