OBJECTIVE--To assess the validity of the Nottingham health profile (NHP) as an indicator of short term outcome of cholecystectomy. DESIGN--Prospective assessment of outcome. SETTING--One teaching hospital. Patients--161 consecutive patients admitted for cholecystectomy between January 1989 and September 1990. MAIN MEASURES--Patients' reported symptoms and self assessed NHP scores before cholecystectomy and at follow up at three and 12 months (76 patients); assessment before admission (19). RESULTS--Complete data were obtained preoperatively and at three months' follow up from 154 patients; seven did not respond to the follow up questionnaire. 76/84(90%) patients in the study 12 months or more answered the 12 month follow up questionnaire; eight did not respond. Significant changes in score before and at three months after the operation were observed for four of the six dimensions: energy (35.34 v 19.53, p < 0.0001), pain (27.38 v 9.8, p < 0.0001), sleep (26.99 v 17.51, p = 0.0002), and emotional reactions (16.12 v 7.56, p = 0.001). The mean scores for 76 patients followed up at three and 12 months showed little subsequent change. Scores in readmitted patients were all significantly higher, suggesting poor health. Patients with five reported symptoms had significantly worse scores for all dimensions. Scores were similar before cholecystectomy whether the questionnaire was completed before or after admission. CONCLUSION--The NHP is an appropriate tool for monitoring changes in health after cholecystectomy.
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