Background: Pediatric trauma results in lower mortality than adults and a high potential for lifelong functional impairment and reduced health-related quality of life (HRQL). There is no consensus regarding the best approach to measuring outcomes in this group.
Methods: One hundred and fifty injured children admitted to a pediatric trauma center participated in this study. The Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL), Child Health Questionnaire (CHQ-PF28), King's Outcome Scale for Childhood Head Injury (KOSCHI), modified Glasgow Outcome Scale (mGOS), and the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) were administered at 1 month, 6 months, and 12 months after injury by telephone. Change in instrument scores was assessed using multilevel mixed effects models. Mean HRQL scores were compared with population norms for the CHQ-PF28 and with healthy children for the PedsQL.
Results: Follow-up at all time points was completed for 144 (96%) cases. The median injury severity score was 10, and 65% of the patients enrolled were men. At 12 months, the percentage of cases with ongoing disability was 14% for the FIM, 61% using the mGOS, and 58% for the KOSCHI. CHQ-PF28 physical and PedsQL psychosocial health scores were below healthy child norms at 12 months. Improvement across all time points was demonstrated for the KOSCHI, mGOS, CHQ-PF28 physical, and PedsQL psychosocial summary scores.
Conclusions: Seriously injured children showed ongoing disability and reduced HRQL 12 months after injury. The CHQ-PF28 and PedsQL, and the mGOS and KOSCHI, performed comparably. The FIM demonstrated considerable ceiling effects, and improvement over time was not shown. The results inform the methodology of pediatric outcomes studies and protocol development for the routine follow-up of pediatric trauma patients.