The Clinical Utility of Health‐related Quality of Life Assessment in Pediatric Cardiology Outpatient Practice Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: Children with congenital heart disease may experience significant psychosocial morbidity related to impaired quality of life (QOL). The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical utility of health-related QOL assessment in a pediatric cardiology outpatient clinic. DESIGN: The Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) 4.0 Generic Core Scales were completed by a convenience sample of 176 patients, aged 8-18 years, being seen in a pediatric cardiology clinic. Three cardiologists enrolled in this study reviewed the completed PedsQL during the clinic visit and recorded their responses to items reported to be a problem "Often" or "Almost Always." This utilization of the instrument was compared to standardized scoring and the practicality and perceived usefulness of the practice was evaluated by physician interview. RESULTS: PedsQL responses showed 38% of patients reporting significant (Often or Almost Always) problems on at least one domain (19% Physical Functioning, 18.2% Emotional Functioning, 11.4% Social Functioning, and 22.3% School Functioning problems). Using standardized scoring, the prevalence of scores below the cutoff score for clinically significant impaired QOL in each domain ranged from 10% to 20%, with agreement between scoring methods ranging from 89% to 93%, sensitivity 68% to 86%, and specificity 89% to 97%. Cardiologists reported interventions in 30.1% of patients. They found that the PedsQL was easy to use, did not interfere with clinic operations, required minimal time (1-5 minutes), and provided information that had an important impact on their practice in some patients. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the clinical utility of health-related QOL assessment using the PedsQL in a pediatric cardiology outpatient setting. Identification of significant impairments in QOL can impact clinical decision making and may change psychosocial outcomes in children with congenital heart disease.

author list (cited authors)

  • Uzark, K., King, E., Spicer, R., Beekman, R., Kimball, T., & Varni, J. W.

citation count

  • 27

complete list of authors

  • Uzark, Karen||King, Eileen||Spicer, Robert||Beekman, Robert||Kimball, Thomas||Varni, James W

publication date

  • May 2013