Objective: There is increasing awareness of the importance of assessing physical, psychological, social and behavioural well-being in chronic disease. The aim of this study was to examine the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of children with common epilepsy syndromes and to explore if there are HRQoL differences between those syndromes.
Methods: Each child had their epilepsy syndrome defined according to the International League Against Epilepsy classification. Epilepsy syndromes included symptomatic frontal, temporal, parietal/occipital lobe and partial unlocalized epilepsy, and two idiopathic epilepsies, childhood absence epilepsy (CAE) and benign rolandic epilepsy (BRE). Seizure semiology and ictal/interictal electroencephalogram (EEG) were determined for symptomatic partial epilepsy syndromes by video-EEG monitoring. HRQoL was evaluated with an epilepsy-specific instrument, the Quality of Life in Childhood Epilepsy Questionnaire, and two generic instruments, the Child Health Questionnaire and Child Behavior Checklist.
Results: Children with symptomatic partial epilepsy syndromes were affected by epilepsy in a similar way and did not have unique HRQoL profiles. However, these children had significantly lower HRQoL scores compared to those with CAE or BRE. All children with epilepsy regardless of syndrome had a higher frequency of behavioural problems compared to normative data.
Conclusion: These results indicate that children with epilepsy regardless of syndrome require evaluation of the psychosocial implications. There is a greater impact on HRQoL in symptomatic epilepsy compared to idiopathic epilepsy. Specific symptomatic partial syndromes did not differ in the degree they affect HRQoL. These findings have important implications for clinicians caring for children with epilepsy.