The goal of this work was to examine the change in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and cognitive functioning from early childhood to adolescence in pediatric liver transplantation (LT) recipients. Patients were recruited from 8 North American centers through the Studies of Pediatric Liver Transplantation consortium. A total of 79 participants, ages 11-18 years, previously tested at age 5-6 years in the Functional Outcomes Group study were identified as surviving most recent LT by 2 years and in stable medical follow-up. The Pediatric Quality of Life 4.0 Generic Core Scale, Pediatric Quality of Life Cognitive Function Scale, and PROMIS Pediatric Cognitive Function tool were distributed to families electronically. Data were analyzed using repeated measures and paired t tests. Predictive variables were analyzed using univariate regression analysis. Of the 69 families contacted, 65 (94.2%) parents and 61 (88.4%) children completed surveys. Median age of participants was 16.1 years (range, 12.9-18.0 years), 55.4% were female, 33.8% were nonwhite, and 84.0% of primary caregivers had received at least some college education. Median age at LT was 1.1 years (range, 0.1-4.8 years). The majority of participants (86.2%) were not hospitalized in the last year. According to parents, adolescents had worse HRQOL and cognitive functioning compared with healthy children in all domains. Adolescents reported HRQOL similar to healthy children in all domains except psychosocial, school, and cognitive functioning (P = 0.02; P < 0.001; P = 0.04). Participants showed no improvement in HRQOL or cognitive functioning over time. For cognitive and school functioning, 60.0% and 50.8% of parents reported “poor” functioning, respectively (>1 standard deviation below the healthy mean). Deficits in HRQOL seem to persist in adolescence. Over half of adolescent LT recipients appear to be at risk for poor school and cognitive functioning, likely reflecting attention and executive function deficits.
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