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July 26, 1976

Quality of Life Manqué

JAMA. 1976;236(4):387. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270040043029

Cure of a crippling disability generally benefits both the individual and society. To the individual, it grants freedom from pain or any other disabling symptom; to society, it returns a gainfully employed member. Both benefits contribute to the overall sense of satisfaction that an individual derives from a life of comfort and usefulness; both are essential components of the "quality of life." Improved quality of life is the most widely acknowledged and the least disputed attainment of aortocoronary bypass surgery. The majority of patients who have had it were completely rid or substantially relieved of disabling angina. But has the operation enhanced their social usefulness?

Barnes and his associates1 have recently reviewed changes in the employment status of 263 patients one year after aortocoronary bypass surgery. Ninety percent of the 95 patients who were not working before the operation remained unemployed, and 16% of the 142 patients who were