Assessing health-related quality of life in children with spina bifida

Academic Article


  • Object The purpose of this study is to explore various aspects of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in children with spinal dysraphism. Methods The authors enrolled a prospective cohort of 159 patients from the multidisciplinary spina bifida clinic. Surveys were distributed to caregivers of patients with spina bifida who were 5 years old and older. Data were collected using the Health Utilities Index Mark 3 focusing on vision, speech, hearing, dexterity, ambulation, cognition, emotions, and pain. Each participant received an overall HRQOL utility score and individual domain subscores. These were correlated with demographic and treatment variables. Analysis was done using SPSS statistics (version 21). Results There were 125 patients with myelomeningocele, 25 with lipomyelomeningocele, and 9 with other dysraphisms. Among patients with myelomeningocele, 107 (86%) had CSF shunts in place, 14 (11%) had undergone Chiari malformation Type II decompression, 59 (47%) were community ambulators, and 45 (36%) were nonambulatory. Patients with myelomeningocele had significantly lower overall HRQOL scores than patients with closed spinal dysraphism. Among patients with myelomeningocele, younger patients had higher HRQOL scores. Patients with impaired bowel continence had lower overall HRQOL scores. History of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt was associated with worse HRQOL (overall score, ambulation, and cognition subscores). History of Chiari malformation Type II decompression was associated with worse overall, speech, and cognition scores. Patients who could ambulate in the community had higher overall and ambulation scores. A history of tethered cord release was correlated with lower pain subscore. No association was found between sex, race, insurance type, or bladder continence and HRQOL. Conclusions Patients with myelomeningocele have significantly lower HRQOL scores than those with other spinal dysraphisms. History of shunt treatment and Chiari decompression correlate with lower HRQOL scores.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Rocque BG; Bishop ER; Scogin MA; Hopson BD; Arynchyna AA; Boddiford CJ; Shannon CN; Blount JP
  • Start Page

  • 144
  • End Page

  • 149
  • Volume

  • 15
  • Issue

  • 2