Long-term Quality of Life in Neonatal Surgical Disease

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Abstract

Objective:

This prospective observational study was designed to assess Pediatric Quality of Life (PedsQL) after surgical treatment for congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), esophageal atresia/tracheoesophageal fistula (EA/TEF), Hirschsprung disease (HD), gastroschisis (GAS), omphalocele (OMP), and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

Summary of Background Data:

Improvements in neonatal and surgical care have led to increased survival for many newborn conditions. Quality of life in these patients is seldom explored in a longitudinal manner. We hypothesized that age-adjusted physical and psychosocial scores would improve over time, but with diagnosis-dependent variation.

Methods:

Data were collected from 241 patients (CDH = 52; EA/TEF = 62; HD = 46; GAS = 32; OMP = 26; NEC = 23) in an institutional Clinical Outcomes Registry (COR) from 2012 to 2017. Aggregate physical, psychosocial, and overall PedsQL scores were determined for each diagnosis. Spline regression models were created to model scores as a function of age.

Results:

Physical scores trended up for all diagnoses except CDH and NEC beyond age 10. Psychosocial scores trended up for all diagnoses except NEC and EA/TEF beyond age 10. Beyond age 12, CDH, GAS, and HD patients had overall scores within the normal range, while NEC, OMP, and EA/TEF patients had scores similar to children with chronic medical illness.

Conclusion:

Variation exists in long-term PedsQL scores after neonatal surgery for selected, complex disease. Beyond age 12, quality of life is significantly impaired in NEC, moderately impaired in OMP and EA/TEF, and within normal range for CDH, HD, and GAS patients at the population level. These data are relevant to prenatal and perioperative discussions with patients and families.

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