The Perceived Quality of Life and Functional Status of the Octogenarian Following Open Heart Surgery


Geriatric cardiology; Surgery; Rehabilitation; Quality of life


Heart disease is a major health problem affecting the octogenarian today. As age increases, so does the risk for heart disease. One accepted treatment for heart disease is open-heart surgery. The incidence of open-heart surgery performed on the octogenarian is increasing. Open-heart surgery has risks. It is costly and stressful for the patient and family.

A major focus of the last decade has been on healthcare costs, outcomes, and quality of life. While information on functional status of the octogenarian following open-heart surgery is available, there is little information available related to the perceived quality of life in the octogenarian following open-heart surgery. Comprehensive tools specific to this population are also not available. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceived quality of life and functional status in the octogenarian following open-heart surgery. The theoretical framework used for this study was the Quality of Life (QOL) model adapted for cancer survivors (QOL-CS) (Ferrell et al., 1995). A descriptive research design was used. The sample frame included eligible octogenarians, who underwent open-heart surgery between January 1, 1998 and February 1, 1999, by a group of cardiac surgeons in the Central Florida area.

The New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional status was used to assess the participant's functional level. To assess quality of life, the Quality of Life Scale/Cancer Survivor (Ferrell, Grant, & Hassey-Dow, 1995), in modified form, was used. Both instruments were assessed by a panel of experts to establish content validity. The QOL-CS tool had established validity, internal consistency, and reliability based on the literature review. Crohnbach's alpha measure of internal consistency was also performed on the revised tool. Pfeiffer's Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire (SPMQ) was administered to assess the participant's mental status prior to their completing the QOLCS tool.

The tools were administered over the phone or at the participants home based on their preference. Inclusion criteria were that the participant be between 80 and 90 years old at the time of having open-heart surgery. They also had to be mentally competent and able to understand the English language. The participants completed the SPMQ, a demographic questionnaire, and the QOL-CS modified for this population. The NYHA functional classification was made based on the participant's reported symptoms. Twenty-five people were operated on that fit the criteria and time frame, ten died prior to initiation of the study. Fifteen people were eligible for inclusion in the study, three were unable to be contacted and one refused to participate. Eleven subjects participated in the study.

The QOL-CS tool analyzed the domains of physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well being on a Likert scale of one to ten. The mean results were as follows; physical 7.2, psychological 7.2, social 7.1, and spiritual 5.0. A majority of the subjects (73%) were in a NYHA functional class of I or II. The remaining subjects were in class III.

This study revealed that for this group, quality of life was above average following open-heart surgery. Further research is needed on larger samples to confirm these results. As more and more open-heart surgeries are performed on the octogenarian, research should continue on the functional outcomes and quality of life associated with these interventions. A tool to examine quality of life, specific to this unique population should be developed.


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Graduation Date





Sole, Mary Lou


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Health and Public Affairs






79 p.



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Masters Thesis (Open Access)




Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs; Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic

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