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Tan NC, Cheah SL, Teo EK, Yang LH
Correspondence: Dr Ngiap-Chuan Tan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction Hepatitis B (HBV) is endemic in Singapore. This study aimed to determine the quality of life of patients with chronic HBV infection (HBV carriers) on conservative management. They were reviewed in primary care facilities and in a district hospital in Singapore.
Methods This cross-sectional survey utilised a validated Hepatitis Quality of Life questionnaire, which incorporated the SF-36 health survey, to assess a convenience sample of HBV carriers' quality of life in 14 domains. The mean scores in each domain were determined, with higher scores indicating better health. Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test was used in the data analysis to determine statistical significance (p-value is less than 0.05).
Results The mean age of 108 participants was 44.1 (standard deviation 12.5) years. They were predominantly Chinese (90.7 percent), male (58.3 percent) and 50.7 percent of them had family members who were HBV-infected. The latter had higher scores in the hepatitis specific limitation (HLIM) domain. The majority did not have any impaired physical nor mental health. In comparison with the healthy peers in the local population, the Chinese HBV carriers scored significantly lower in the "social functioning" domain (p-value is less than 0.001), regardless of gender.
Conclusion The majority of HBV carriers had good physical and mental health. Physicians should recognise the impact of the chronic infection on the social aspects of daily living of the HBV carriers, and such issues should be addressed appropriately to provide better quality care.
Keywords: chronic hepatitis B infection, hepatitis B carrier, quality of life
Singapore Med J. 2008; 49(9): 682-7