Health-related quality of life in children and adolescents with epilepsy in Enugu: Need for targeted intervention

A E Aronu, N Uwaezuoke, J M Chinawa, A Bisi-Onyemaechi, N C Ojinnaka
Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice 2021, 24 (4): 517-524

Background: Epilepsy, a chronic brain disorder, predisposes children to low Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL).

Objective: This study aimed at assessing the HRQOL in Nigerian children with epilepsy and compare it with that in healthy children.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of 166 children with epilepsy (CWE), aged 5-18 years on anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) for at least 6 months and 166 age and sex-matched apparently healthy children was conducted. A generic version of the Pediatric Quality of Life (Peds QoL version 4) scale was used to assess HRQOL.

Results: There were significant differences in Quality-of-Life mean scores in the domains of social functioning, psychosocial combination, and psychosocial plus physical activities between cases and controls. The school function scores of <50, indicating low QOL, were significantly more (Chi square = 35.37) (P = 0.0001) among the cases (32.5%) compared to the controls (6.3%). Similarly, low quality of life in the psychosocial combination were observed significantly (P_ = 0.042) more among the cases (12.7%) compared to the controls (6.3%). Low quality of life in emotional feeling domain were noted significantly (Chi square = 12.9) (P = 0.0002) more in subjects aged between 8 and 12 (20%). QOL scores of below 50 in the social function domain were observed significantly (Chi square = 6.49) (P = 0.039) more in subjects aged between 5 and 7 years (44.8%). There was significant gender difference in Quality-of-life index in school functioning domain in subjects. (Chi Square = 6.49) (P value = 0.039). Children in the upper social class scored higher in the social functioning domain, and social class was significantly associated with scores in the social domain of functioning. (F = 3.75 and P = 0.03). QOL scores below 50 in the emotional domain were significantly more among subjects aged 8-12 years/13-18 year, s and QOL scores of <50 in the school function domain were significantly more in subjects aged 5-7 years. (P = 0.0002) (P = 0.039), respectively.

Conclusion: HRQOL is reduced in CWE in all domains of Peds QoL. Significant predictors of reduced HRQOL include age, gender, and socioeconomic class. Beyond seizure control, epilepsy management should be oriented towards ensuring the optimal health-related quality of life.

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