Measures of Health-Related Quality of Life Outcomes in Pediatric Neurosurgery: Literature Review

Virendra R. Desai*, Nisha Gadgil, Shahbaz Saad, Jeffrey S. Raskin, Sandi K. Lam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Improving value in healthcare means optimizing outcomes and minimizing costs. The emerging pay-for-performance era requires understanding of the effect of healthcare services on health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Pediatric and surgical subspecialties have yet to fully integrate HRQoL measures into practice. The present study reviewed and characterized the HRQoL outcome measures across various pediatric neurosurgical diagnoses. Methods: A literature review was performed by searching PubMed and Google Scholar with search terms such as “health-related quality of life” and “pediatric neurosurgery” and then including the specific pathologies for which a HRQoL instrument was found (e.g., “health-related quality of life” plus “epilepsy”). Each measurement was evaluated by content and purpose, relative strengths and weaknesses, and validity. Results: We reviewed 68 reports. Epilepsy, brain tumor, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, hydrocephalus, and scoliosis were diagnoses found in reported studies that had used disease-specific HRQoL instruments. Information using general HRQoL instruments was also reported. Internal, test–retest, and/or interrater reliability varied across the instruments, as did face, content, concurrent, and/or construct validity. Few instruments were tested enough for robust reliability and validity. Significant variability was found in the usage of these instruments in clinical studies within pediatric neurosurgery. Conclusions: The HRQoL instruments used in pediatric neurosurgery are currently without standardized guidelines and thus exhibit high variability in use. Clinicians should support the development and application of these methods to optimize these instruments, promote standardization of research, improve performance measures to reflect clinically modifiable and meaningful outcomes, and, ultimately, lead the national discussion in healthcare quality and patient-centered care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-265
Number of pages14
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • HRQoL
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Neurosurgery
  • Pediatric
  • QoL
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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