University of Oulu

Lahtinen, S., Molnár, K., Hietanen, S. et al. Quality of life in head and neck cancer patients at 5 years after free flap reconstruction: a significant decline during the follow-up. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 279, 4069–4075 (2022).

Quality of life in head and neck cancer patients at 5 years after free flap reconstruction : a significant decline during the follow-up

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Author: Lahtinen, Sanna1,2; Molnár, Krisztina1,2; Hietanen, Siiri2;
Organizations: 1Department of Anesthesiology, Oulu University Hospital (OYS), P.O. BOX 21, 90029, Oulu, Finland
2Research Group of Surgery, Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, MRC Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
4PEDEGO Research Unit, MRC Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Department of Operative Care, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-08-25


Purpose: Free flap reconstructions following head and neck tumor resection are known to involve more than 50% rate of complications and other adverse events and up to 50% mortality during a 5-year follow-up.

We aimed to examine the difference in the long-term quality of life (QoL) between the 2-year and 5-year assessments after free flap surgery for cancer of the head and neck.

Methods: A total of 28 of the 39 eligible patients responded to the survey. QoL was assessed at 5 years after operation and compared with the assessment performed at 2 years after the operation using RAND-36, EORTC-C30 and H&N-35, and SWAL-QOL tools.

Results: The criteria for poor QoL using RAND-36 tool was met in 11 (39.3%) patients in contrast to 4 (14.3%, P = 0.003) patients in the 2-year assessment. EORTC-C30 global score was decreased from 83.9 (SD16.4) to 64.6 (SD 24.0, P < 0.001) during the follow-up. In both RAND-36 and EORTC-C30 surveys, decline was found in physical and role functioning together with energy and emotional well-being domains. SWAL-QOL showed poor swallowing-related QoL in both assessments.

Conclusion: We found a significant decline in QoL during a 5-year follow-up after free flap surgery for cancer of the head and neck.

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Series: European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology
ISSN: 0937-4477
ISSN-E: 1434-4726
ISSN-L: 0937-4477
Volume: 279
Issue: 8
Pages: 4069 - 4075
DOI: 10.1007/s00405-021-07242-1
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology
3122 Cancers
Funding: Open Access funding provided by University of Oulu including Oulu University Hospital. This study was funded by Thelma Mäkikyrö fund.
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