Activity Limits Linked to Health-related Quality of Life in Kids with CP, Study Shows

Activity Limits Linked to Health-related Quality of Life in Kids with CP, Study Shows

Activity limitations correlate with health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in children with cerebral palsy (CP), new research from South Korea shows.

The study, “Relationship between activity limitation and health-related quality of life in school-aged children with cerebral palsy: a cross-sectional study,” was published in the journal Health and Quality of Life Outcomes.

Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in childhood. It affects quality of life for patients, particularly in functional outcomes, and families. A formal classification system proposed that disability should be defined in terms of activity limitation and participation restriction. In addition to measuring functional performance, these systems enable better planning of treatment goals and interpretation of therapy outcomes.

An increase in activity limitation has been shown to be one of the most frequent clinical symptoms affecting children with cerebral palsy.

Functional classification systems are valuable tools for clinicians in evaluating CP outcomes after intervention and in assessing the impact on healthcare.

Despite existing studies on the relationship between functional classification systems and clinical measurements, the data on the association between these systems and HRQOL have been deemed insufficient.

Analyzing HRQOL would provide a reliable parameter to connect professionals, families and teachers.

The research primarily studied the relationship between activity limitation and HRQOL in school-aged children with CP cerebral palsy. The analysis focused on whether the relationship is different depending on which classification system is used and whether these systems can predict HRQOL. It was conducted by Eun-Young Park, PhD, in the College of Education’s Department of Secondary Special Education at Jeonju University in South Korea.

The study involved 71 children with CP, ages 6 to 15. Activity limitations were assessed with two systems that comprise five levels: the Korean-Gross Motor Function Classification System (K-GMFCS) and the Korean-Manual Ability Classification System (K-MACS), which measures handling objects in daily activities.

HRQOL was analyzed using a questionnaire. Physical therapists collected the data by interviewing the children’s parents.

A correlation between activity limitations and HRQOL was found. But the classification systems also showed differences in the correlation of specific levels with HRQOL.

Study results “provide evidence that the assessed HRQOL can distinguish between children with different levels of CP,” which is a valuable asset for clinicians, the author said. Of note, the results are consistent with those of previous studies addressing the association of quality of life and functioning in children with CP.

The two activity limitation systems were shown to be significant predictors of HRQOL. This result supports the validity of the use of HRQOL in research and clinical care. But “other factors affecting HRQOL in children with CP, such as environmental factors and context, exist” and should be considered, Park said.

“Comprehensive information on children with CP should be gathered to provide professionals with a better understanding of HRQOL,” Park concluded. This would facilitate communication among professionals and families and help achieve more accurate interpretation of HRQOL scores. Studies also should use larger sample sizes to get more robust results and enable the analysis of specific CP types.