Applicability of the Health Utilities Index to a Population of Childhood Survivors of Central Nervous System Tumours in the U.K.
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This paper describes the application of a multi-attribute, preference-linked health status and health-related quality of life measurement system--the Health Utilities Index (developed in Canada)--to a group of subjects in the U.K. Children who had survived tumours of the central nervous system (n = 30, age 6-16 years) formed the study group. Respondents (children, parents, physicians and physiotherapists) found the activity (completion of a 15-item questionnaire) to be acceptable and not burdensome (it was accomplished easily by all children > or = 10 years of age). Instrumental reliability was established by acceptable intra- and interobserver agreement and construct validity was supported by strong similarities between the results obtained in this study and those reported from a similar group of children in Canada. The greatest burden of morbidity was reported for the attributes of emotion and cognition (each affected in > 50% of the children). Pain was surprisingly prevalent (affected in approximately one-third of children). The finding of a large number of unique health states emphasises the complex morbidity burden experienced by these children who self-reported poorer overall health (as reflected in utility scores) than did the proxy respondents. The information obtained from this study is readily interpretable and clinically useful. The results of this study also illustrate that extreme caution must be exercised in undertaking linguistic modifications to established instruments for, in this instance, these resulted in a loss of the ability to detect the most severe emotional morbidity and reduced the comparability of results between studies. With this provision, the Health Utilities Index is evidently applicable in the U.K. and the original version has been recommended for use in brain tumour studies by the U.K. CCSG (the U.K. Children's Cancer Study Group).
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