Abstract

Quality of life (QOL) data concerning allogeneic BMT recipients is relatively sparse. We surveyed allogeneic BMT recipients at baseline, one month post-transplant, and one year from transplant attempting to determine fluctuations in QOL over time. We used the FACT-BMT tool, which consists of five component scores, including physical well-being (PWB), social well-being (SWB), emotional well-being (EWB), functional well-being (FWB), and additional concerns (AC). PWB, SWB, and FWB uses a 0–28 point scale while EWB ranges from 0–24. Fifty-three patients were initially entered into this analysis, all of whom received ablative allogeneic transplants from 6/2003 to 6/2005. Median age was 46 years; the majority (57%) were female; underlying diagnoses included AML (42%), ALL (23%), MDS (13%), and other (22%). Median time from diagnosis to transplant was rapid, at 5.2 months. Fifty-one percent had a matched related donor, and 49% had a matched unrelated donor. As of August 2005, 70% of these 53 patients are alive. This analysis compares scores obtained one month from transplant and one year from transplant to baseline values. The average hospital length of stay for this ablative transplant was 29 days. One month after transplant, 21% of patients had grade 2–4 acute GVHD. The median WBC was 4.4 K/μL and the median platelet count was 51 K/μL. When surveyed one month post-transplant, not surprisingly, patients had a significant deterioration of physical well-being and functional well-being scores as shown in the table below. However, this was coupled by a significant increase in emotional well-being:

FACT-BMT SCORES: median (range)

Component Baseline (n = 53) 1-month post-transplant BMT (n = 53) 1-month p-value compared to baseline 12-months post-BMT (n = 23) 12-month p-value compared to baseline 
PWB 21 (6–28) 18 (2–26) p < 0.001 21 (3–28) 0.82 
FWB 17 (0–27) 13 (4–23) p = 0.006 17 (6–27) 0.46 
EWB 17 (3–24) 19 (1–24) p < 0.001 19 (5–24) 0.015 
Component Baseline (n = 53) 1-month post-transplant BMT (n = 53) 1-month p-value compared to baseline 12-months post-BMT (n = 23) 12-month p-value compared to baseline 
PWB 21 (6–28) 18 (2–26) p < 0.001 21 (3–28) 0.82 
FWB 17 (0–27) 13 (4–23) p = 0.006 17 (6–27) 0.46 
EWB 17 (3–24) 19 (1–24) p < 0.001 19 (5–24) 0.015 

The decrease in PWB and FWB was expected given the rigors of an ablative allogeneic transplant, but the significant rise in EWB was surprising. This may reflect a sense of accomplishment, relief, and optimism among patients concerning their underlying diagnosis and treatment. Twenty-three patients were available to complete the survey tool 12 months after transplant. This was a favorable cohort of patients with continued remissions. Fifty-two percent of these 23 patients, however, did have some degree of chronic graft-versus-host disease. The PWB and SWB scores returned to baseline, and the enhanced EWB scores persisted. Thus, the negative impact of the BMT on PWB and SWB was self-limited. The underlying mechanisms of the sustained EWB improvement one year post-transplant may reflect the fact that these patients were doing well clinically. Further analysis of the early rise in emotional well-being after ablative allogeneic BMT would be of interest.

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