Objective Thoracic aortic disease (TAD) may have substantial impact on health-related quality of life (HRQOL). We described HRQOL in patients with TAD, cardiovascular screening participants and their partners; identified factors associated with HRQOL; and explored lived experiences and feelings of anxiety or depression using a mixed methods design. Methods For this cross-sectional study, all consecutive patients visiting the TAD outpatient clinic (2017–2019) at our centre were asked to complete three questionnaires: the Short Form 36 (SF-36), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Rotterdam Disease Specific Questionnaire (RDSQ). A subsample was invited for in-depth interviews. Results In total, 261 participants were included: 147 patients with TAD (thoracic aortic diameter ≥40 mm; 54 females, 36.7%), 114 screening participants (cardiovascular family screening; 71 females, 62.3%) and 66 partners. Compared with the general population, patients with TAD showed markedly lower HRQOL, whereas screening participants’ HRQOL was less impaired. Female and younger participants scored significantly lower on the SF-36 and HADS compared with male and older participants. Smaller aortic diameter was associated with better RDSQ score, and previous aortic surgery was associated with higher HADS depression scores. Furthermore, partners scored significantly lower on 2/8 SF-36 subdomains when compared with the general population. From 11 interviewees, determinants of psychological distress included coping strategies, impact on social and professional life, disease-related knowledge, state of aortic diameters and physical symptoms. Conclusions Healthcare professionals must be aware of HRQOL impairments in patients with TAD, particularly in younger females. Moreover, attention for partners is needed. Coping strategies and communication within the family were found to be important factors influencing psychological distress, and might be valuable leads for counselling and HRQOL improvement in this population.

doi.org/10.1136/openhrt-2020-001419, hdl.handle.net/1765/131442
Open Heart
Biophysical Genomics, Department Cell Biology & Genetics

Thijssen, C.G.E., Dekker, S., Bons, L. R., Gokalp, A.L., Kauling, R.M., van den Bosch, A., … Roos-Hesselink, J. (2020). Health-related quality of life and lived experiences in males and females with thoracic aortic disease and their partners. Open Heart, 7(2). doi:10.1136/openhrt-2020-001419