Quality of life remains impaired after childhood bacterial meningitis

23 Oct 2021
Quality of life remains impaired after childhood bacterial meningitis

Survivors of bacterial meningitis (BM) suffer from an impaired health-related quality of life (HRQOL), regardless of possible disability, a study using parents’ perceptions has concluded.

“There is a need to facilitate follow-ups for all BM survivors to enable timely rehabilitation when needed,” the investigators said.

The study assessed survivors of two BM treatment trials at Luanda Children’s Hospital in Angola for disability severity using the modified Glasgow Outcome Scale, which considered neurologic and audiologic sequelae.

Children who received vaccinations at the hospital during the study duration (2017) and the survivors’ siblings served as controls. The investigators then identified HRQOL disparities between patients and controls using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory tool (PedsQL).

Sixty-eight BM survivors (median time since diagnosis, 28 months) and 35 controls were included in the study. Survivors had significantly lower scores than controls via PedsQL parent-proxy reports, indicating a lower HRQOL (physical health: 82.5 vs 100; p=0.001; psychosocial health: 80 vs 90; p=0.005; and total score: 82.61 vs 93; p=0.004). However, no difference was found in PedsQL child self-reporting between patients and controls.

Furthermore, patients significantly differed from controls in PedsQL parent-proxy reporting terms in all Glasgow Outcome Scale classes, with total scores of 84.21 (mild/no disability), 43.54 (moderate disability), and 55.56 (severe disability) for patients and 91.3 for controls (p=0.04, p=0.02, and p<0.001, respectively).

“Survivors of BM often suffer from impaired quality of life that stems from disabling sequelae,” the investigators said.

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