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Investigating the impact of pain, age, Gross Motor Function Classification System, and sex on health-related quality of life in children with cerebral palsy

Journal title
Developmental medicine and child neurology
Publication year
Findlay, B.; Switzer, L.; Narayanan, U.; Chen, S.; Fehlings, D.

AIM: To explore whether health-related quality of life (HRQOL) can be predicted by pain, age, Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) level, and sex in children with cerebral palsy (CP) and whether different pain etiologies have varying effects on HRQOL. METHODS: Children with CP aged 3 to 19 years and their caregivers were consecutively recruited. Caregivers reported their child’s pain (Health Utilities Index 3 [HUI3] pain subset) and HRQOL (DISABKIDS questionnaires). Physicians identified pain etiologies. A multiple linear regression model determined whether pain, GMFCS level, sex, and age predicted HRQOL. An ANOVA evaluated the effects of pain etiologies on HRQOL. RESULTS: Three hundred and forty-four participants were approached and 87% (n=300) participated. Sufficient data were available on 248 (72% of total sample). Sixty-six participants (27%) formed the pain group with HUI3 pain scores of at least 3. The presence of pain and increasing age significantly negatively predicted HRQOL (p<0.001, R(2) =0.141), while GMFCS and sex did not. Musculoskeletal deformity (24%) and hypertonia (18%) were the most frequent pain causes. HRQOL statistically differed depending on the pain etiology (p=0.028) with musculoskeletal deformity showing the lowest mean HRQOL. INTERPRETATION: The presence of pain and increasing age negatively predict HRQOL in CP. musculoskeletal deformity has the greatest negative impact on HRQOL.

Research abstracts