We know that most patients having heart surgery have symptoms (such as pain and breathlessness) which affect their quality of life (QoL), and they submit to surgery in the hope of achieving relief from these symptoms and thus improving their QoL. We also know that, immediately after surgery, QoL is actually worse for all patients because postoperative pain, hospitalisation and functional limitation all have an impact. The normal scenario thereafter is that QoL then begins to improve, reaches the level it was before the operation and then hopefully exceeds it so that there will come a time when any QoL lost through surgery is ‘paid back’ by QoL gained. From that point onwards, the patient truly begins to benefit from having had the operation. This is true for most patients, but not for all. A few will die from the operation. Some never regain the preoperative level of QoL, and some may not achieve a subsequent QoL improvement that matches or exceeds the QoL loss that occurs after the operation. Currently, we are able to provide detailed individualised information on the first so that we can identify those patients likely to benefit in terms of survival. We do not have such individualised information for QoL.
Nationally 29 NHS cardiac surgical centres took part in this study with Royal Papworth as the lead centre. 2925 patients were recruited to the study, Royal Papworth were the largest individual recruiter with 438 patients in total. Congratulations to the Papworth recruiting team on their achievement.
There is now a 12 month follow up period for the last patients recruited to the study, results will be available spring 2024. Please see the link below for more information on QUACS.