Background: Advances in biomedical science and technology have resulted in dramatic improvements in the healthcare of pediatric chronic conditions. With enhanced survival, health-related quality of life (HRQOL) issues have become more salient. The objectives of this study were to compare generic HRQOL across ten chronic disease clusters and 33 disease categories/severities from the perspectives of patients and parents. Comparisons were also benchmarked with healthy children data.
Methods: The analyses were based on over 2,500 pediatric patients from 10 physician-diagnosed disease clusters and 33 disease categories/severities and over 9,500 healthy children utilizing the PedsQL 4.0 Generic Core Scales. Patients were recruited from general pediatric clinics, subspecialty clinics, and hospitals.
Results: Pediatric patients with diabetes, gastrointestinal conditions, cardiac conditions, asthma, obesity, end stage renal disease, psychiatric disorders, cancer, rheumatologic conditions, and cerebral palsy self-reported progressively more impaired overall HRQOL than healthy children, respectively, with medium to large effect sizes. Patients with cerebral palsy self-reported the most impaired HRQOL, while patients with diabetes self-reported the best HRQOL. Parent proxy-reports generally paralleled patient self-report, with several notable differences.
Conclusion: The results demonstrate differential effects of pediatric chronic conditions on patient HRQOL across diseases clusters, categories, and severities utilizing the PedsQL 4.0 Generic Core Scales from the perspectives of pediatric patients and parents. The data contained within this study represents a larger and more diverse population of pediatric patients with chronic conditions than previously reported in the extant literature. The findings contribute important information on the differential effects of pediatric chronic conditions on generic HRQOL from the perspectives of children and parents utilizing the PedsQL 4.0 Generic Core Scales. These findings with the PedsQL have clinical implications for the healthcare services provided for children with chronic health conditions. Given the degree of reported impairment based on PedsQL scores across different pediatric chronic conditions, the need for more efficacious targeted treatments for those pediatric patients with more severely impaired HRQOL is clearly and urgently indicated.