Transplantation is a life-saving option for patients with liver disease. However, recovery is variable. Impairments in physical health, emotional wellbeing and quality of life are reported. Quality of life may be worse after transplantation for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
To identify factors that could impact on quality of life after liver transplantation for HCV infection.
A qualitative design was used. Data were collected by in-depth interview. Colaizzi’s framework for data analysis was used.
Varying levels of physical and psychological disability persist for many years after liver transplantation. Participants described living productive and meaningful lives. Many reported a more positive outlook on life since transplantation. Many felt stigmatised by the association of liver disease with alcohol/drug misuse. Participants described the uncertainty of life after transplantation. While all expressed gratitude to the donor, emotional responses to the donation varied.
Transplant recipients exchange one health state for another. Pre-transplant preparation should encourage realistic expectations of life after transplantation. Before transplantation, potential recipients should be given an opportunity to discuss the donation process. This may reduce the burden of emotional debt experienced by some recipients. Feelings of stigma and future uncertainty may be worse for transplant recipients with HCV. A qualitative approach can provide deeper insight into issues affecting quality of life after transplantation for HCV, and explain some of the ambiguous and contradictory findings of previous quantitative studies.