Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is increasingly recognized as a key outcome in both clinical and research settings in the pediatric population with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). This review aims to: (1) summarize the current knowledge on HRQoL and socioprofessional outcomes and (2) provide strategies for incorporation of HRQoL assessment into clinical practice. Studies report that pediatric patients with ESRD have significantly lower HRQoL scores compared with children with other chronic diseases. Patients treated by dialysis are at particularly high risk for impaired HRQoL. Furthermore, patients more often have impaired neurocognitive functioning and lower academic achievement. Important determinants of impaired HRQoL include medical factors (i.e., receiving dialysis, disabling comorbidities, cosmetic side effects, stunted growth), sociodemographic factors (i.e., female gender, non-Western background) and psychosocial factors (i.e., noneffective coping strategies). Contrary to the situation in childhood, adult survivors of pediatric ESRD report a normal mental HRQoL. Despite this subjective feeling of well-being, these patients have on average experienced significantly more difficulties in completing their education, developing intimate relationships, and securing employment. Several medical and psychosocial strategies may potentially improve HRQoL in children with ESRD. Regular assessment of HRQoL and neurocognitive functioning in order to identify areas in which therapies and interventions may be required should be part of standard clinical care.
Keywords: End-stage renal disease; Health-related quality of life; Neurocognitive functioning; Renal replacement therapy; Social outcomes.