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The quality of life in adult patients with chronic liver disease who were considered for transplantation was assessed prospectively over a 2 year period, for both those who did and did not subsequently receive transplants. The main outcome measures were the Nottingham Health Profile and survival. Of the 109 patients who completed an entry profile, 27 were transplanted, 71 not transplanted during the study period, and 11 rejected for transplant. Quality of life and severity of liver disease at entry was worse for the transplant group, whose survival at 15 months from entry was 81% compared with 78% for those not transplanted. Among transplant survivors there were marked improvements in quality of life, whilst amongst those not receiving transplants there was little change. In conclusion, liver transplantation was effective in improving quality of life in patients with chronic liver disease, but comparison between transplant and non-transplant patients is difficult because of differences between the groups.