Identifying Health-Related Quality of Life Domains After Upper Extremity Transplantation

David S. Tulsky*, Pamela A. Kisala, Callie E. Tyner, Jerry Slotkin, Christina Kaufman, Christopher L. Dearth, Annamarie D. Horan, Simon G. Talbot, Jaimie T. Shores, Kodi Azari, Curtis Cetrulo, Gerald Brandacher, Carisa M. Cooney, David Victorson, Mary Dooley, L. Scott Levin, CDR Scott M. Tintle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To identify the most important health-related quality of life (HRQOL) domains and patient-reported outcomes after upper extremity transplantation (UET) in individuals with upper extremity amputation. Design: Verbatim audio-recordings of individual interviews and focus groups were analyzed using qualitative, grounded theory-based methods to identify important domains of HRQOL and provide guidance for outcomes measurement after UET. Setting: Individual interviews were conducted by phone. Focus groups were conducted at 5 upper extremity vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA) centers in the US and at an international conference of VCA experts. Participants: Individual phone interviews were conducted with 5 individuals with lived experience of UET. Thirteen focus groups were conducted with a total of 59 clinical professionals involved in UET. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Not applicable. Results: Twenty-eight key HRQOL domains were identified, including physical functioning and medical complications, positive and negative emotional functioning, and social participation, relations, and independence. We identified key constructs for use in evaluation of the potentially substantial physical, medical, social, and emotional effects of UET. Conclusions: This study provides an overview of the most important issues affecting HRQOL after UET, including several topics that are unique to individuals with UET. This information will be used to establish systematic, comprehensive, and longitudinal measurement of post-UET HRQOL outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)878-891
Number of pages14
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Hand transplant
  • Patient-reported outcomes
  • Quality of life
  • Reconstructive transplantation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Upper extremity
  • Upper-limb amputation
  • Vascularized composite allotransplantation


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