Tremendous strides have been made in the surgical treatment of cardiac disease. Research has documented many physical and psychologic benefits for the patient, but many questions remain unanswered. The change in quality of life may be the single most important outcome of cardiac surgery. This issue has received considerable attention in professional literature in recent years, particularly in the midst of rapidly expanding technology and soaring health care costs. This article reviews the literature related to the quality of life of cardiac surgical patients. Specific topics, such as physiologic and psychologic outcomes, return to work, family responses, and issues related to transplant patients, are discussed. The article includes a discussion of nursing implications

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