Revascularization is the cornerstone in the treatment of patients with critical limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI). However, the 2-year mortality rate is up to 50% in these patients. Therefore, the clinical benefit of revascularization needs to be considered carefully. The question emerges if there are changes in quality of life (QoL) and health status (HS) in the end-of-life phase of CLTI in older patients.
Patients with CLTI and of an age of 70 years or older were included in a prospective observational cohort study. Treatment consisted of endovascular revascularization, surgical revascularization, or conservative therapy. The follow-up period was 2 years. Within this follow-up period, patients completed the following questionnaires at six specified time intervals: the WHOQOL-BREF and the SF-12. Patients who died within 2 years after inclusion were analyzed. Final scores were defined as the last measurement at end of follow-up or death.
Eighty two patients (42.1%) died during the 24-month follow-up. QoL and HS before death did not decrease with treatment (option: endovascular intervention, surgical revascularization, or conservative therapy).
Older patients with CLTI and a life expectancy less than 2 years had no differences in QoL and HS before death compared to their previous measurement. Except for the mental HS domain, no differences in the percentage of patients showing significant individual change in QoL and HS were found between the treatments. For clinicians, it is important to use patient-reported outcome measure when discussing treatment for older frail patients with CLTI in a shared decision-making process.