Quality of life in pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis: Different disease course, different impact, different measurement approach needed
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To understand the impact of pediatric multiple sclerosis (MS), health-related quality of life (HRQL) measures have been used. However, specific areas of concern of youths with MS are not known. The objective of this study was to contribute content for inclusion in a new condition-specific measure of the life impact of MS for children and adolescents.
A patient engagement framework was used, and an online survey was developed using the Patient Generated Index (PGI). Text threads generated by the PGI were mapped to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) and the Comprehensive ICF Core Set for MS.
A total of 20 people completed the PGI survey of which 11 were youths with MS aged 14 to 22 years. Over 75% of the areas nominated by youths with MS were related to activities and participation and approximately 20% were related to body function. In contrast, 60% of the areas nominated by parents were related to body function. This finding indicated that a measure of life impact would need to include both impairments associated with MS and important activities and roles. This new approach has a disability component covers MS-related impairments and is completed using the PGI system where the youth select disability areas affected by MS, rate, and prioritize each area for improvement. The "quality of life" component queries those areas that are going well.
This new measurement approach could prove useful in overcoming challenges in developing condition-specific measures for rare conditions.