Important differences between quality of life and health status in elderly patients suffering from critical limb ischemia

S L Steunenberg*, J. de Vries, J.W. Raats, N. Verbogt, P. Lodder, G.J. van Eijck, E.J. Veen, H.G.W. de Groot, G.H. Ho, L. van der Laan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Critical limb ischemia (CLI) patients are often of advanced age with reduced health status (HS) and quality of life (QoL) at baseline. Physical health is considered as the most affected domain due to reduced mobility and ischemic pain. QoL and HS are often used interchangeably in the current literature. HS refers to objectively perceived physical, psychological, and social functioning and in assessing QoL, change is measured subjectively and can only be determined by the individual since it concerns patients' evaluation of their functioning. It is important to distinguish between QoL and HS, especially in the concept of shared decision-making when the opinion of the patient is key. Goal of this study was to examine and compare QoL and HS in elderly CLI patients in relation to the used therapy, with a special interest in conservatively treated patients.


Patients suffering from CLI and ≥70 years old were included in a prospective study with a follow-up period of 1 year. Patients were divided into three groups; endovascular revascularization, surgical revascularization, and conservative therapy. The WHOQoL-Bref was used to determine QoL, and the 12-Item Short Form Health Survey was used to evaluate HS at baseline, 5-7 days, 6 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year.


Physical QoL of endovascularly and surgically treated patients showed immediate significant improvement during follow-up in contrast to delayed increased physical HS at 6 weeks and 6 months (P<0.001). Conservatively treated patients showed significantly improved physical QoL at 6 and 12 months (P=0.02) in contrast to no significant improvement in physical HS.


This study demonstrates that QoL and HS are indeed not identical concepts and that differentiating between these two concepts could influence the choice of treatment in elderly CLI patients. Discriminating between QoL and HS is, therefore, of major importance for clinical practice, especially to achieve shared decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1221-1226
JournalClinical Interventions in Aging
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Conservative Treatment/psychology
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Ischemia/psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life/psychology
  • Stress, Psychological/psychology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures/psychology


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