Variety of symptoms reported by patients with upper gastrointestinal diseases
BACKGROUND There is increased interest in the concept 'quality of life'. Available instruments are defined and discussed, with special emphasis on reliability and validity. Research on quality of life in patients with upper gastrointestinal disorders is reviewed, and our own results presented. METHODS The Psychosocial Adjustment to Illness Scale was used to compare 100 patients with functional dyspepsia and 100 patients with duodenal ulcer in a cross-sectional study, and to monitor the quality of life of 74 duodenal ulcer patients in a longitudinal phase. RESULTS The quality of life of patients with functional dyspepsia was more negatively affected than that of patients with duodenal ulcer. After half of the patients had received short-term cognitive psychotherapy and all had received prophylactic H2-blocker treatment after ulcer relapse, quality of life improved in both the treatment group and the control group. Seventy-four patients with recurrent duodenal ulcers reported higher satisfaction with the health care system, improved sexual relationship, and less psychological distress one year after cure of the ulcer disease by the eradication of Helicobacter pylori compared to before. CONCLUSIONS Reliable and valid instruments are available to measure quality of life, and will probably gain increased importance in future medical research. In patients with recurrent duodenal ulcer disease, quality of life improves with the eradication of Helicobacter pylori.