Impact of resective epilepsy surgery on health-related quality of life in children with and without low intellectual ability

Lauryn Conway, Elysa Widjaja, Mary Lou Smith*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective: The current study examined pre- and postoperative health-related quality of life (HRQL) across children with and without low intellectual ability. We also aimed to clarify the literature on postsurgical change by assessing domain-specific HRQL pre- and postoperatively in children with drug-resistant epilepsy. Method: All patients (n = 111) underwent resective epilepsy surgery between 1996 and 2016 at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, comparing baseline and 1-year follow-up HRQL with the Quality of Life in Childhood Epilepsy Questionnaire (QOLCE-76). At the group-level, postsurgical change in HRQL was examined through linear mixed-effects modeling. Clinically important change in HRQL at the individual level was quantified using a standard error of measurement (SEM)-based criterion, and estimates were stratified by intellectual ability. Results: Children with epilepsy and low intellectual ability had lower overall HRQL compared with those with normal intelligence (b = − 10.45, SE = 4.89, p = .035). No differences in change in HRQL related to intellectual level were found. In the broader sample, significant postoperative improvements were found for HRQL related to physical activity (b = 8.28, SE = 1.79, p < .001), social activity (b = 15.81, SE = 2.76, p < .001), and behavior (b = 4.34, SE = 1.35, p = .001). Postoperative improvements in physical and social HRQL were associated with better seizure control (p = .011). Conversely, cognitive and emotional domains of HRQL did not improve one year postoperatively, even in the presence of improved seizure control. Significance: Results suggest that children with low intellectual ability can expect to achieve similar improvements in HRQL after epilepsy surgery compared with those with normal intelligence. Further, while overall HRQL is shown to improve in children following epilepsy surgery, domain-specific change is nuanced and has important implications for health practitioners aiming to monitor treatment progress of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-136
Number of pages6
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Developmental disability
  • Domain-specific
  • Pediatric epilepsy surgery
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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