Advancements in paediatric heart failure management have resulted in improved survival and a focus on long-term outcomes including health-related quality of life. We compared health-related quality of life in children with heart failure with healthy patients, children with chronic conditions, and children with cardiovascular disease.
Families (n=63) and children (n=73) aged 2–20 years with heart failure were enrolled and compared with data previously published for healthy patients (n=5480), those with chronic conditions (n=247), and those with cardiovascular disease (n=347). Patients and parents completed the PedsQL 4.0 and the Cardiac 3.0 Module health-related quality-of-life questionnaires. PedsQL scores including Total, Psychosocial Health Summary, and Physical were compared between groups. In general, patients with heart failure had lower scores than the healthy population (p=0.001), and comparable scores with those with chronic conditions. Parents perceived no difference in physical scores for children with heart failure when compared with healthy children, and perceived higher scores for children with heart failure when compared with those with chronic conditions (p⩽0.003). Furthermore, children with heart failure had decremental health-related quality-of-life scores as the American Heart Association stage of heart failure increased, such that patients with stage C heart failure had scores similar to children with severe cardiovascular disease.
Children with heart failure reported significantly impaired health-related quality of life compared with healthy children and similar scores compared with children with chronic conditions. Parental perceptions appear to underestimate these impairments. Children with heart failure appear to have progressive impairment of health-related quality of life with advancing stage of heart failure.