BACKGROUND: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) starting during childhood has been assumed to impair quality of life (QoL) of affected children. As this aspect is crucial for further personality development, the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) was assessed in a Swiss nationwide cohort to obtain detailed information on the fields of impairment.
METHODS: Data were prospectively acquired from pediatric patients included in the Swiss IBD Cohort Study. IBD activity was evaluated by PCDAI and PUCAI. The age adapted KIDSCREEN questionnaire was evaluated for 110 children with IBD (64 with Crohn's disease 46 with ulcerative colitis). Data were analyzed with respect to established reference values of healthy controls.
RESULTS: In the KIDSCREEN index a moderate impairment was only found for physical wellbeing due to disease activity. In contrast, mental well-being and social support were even better as compared to control values. A subgroup analysis revealed that this observation was restricted to the children in the German speaking part of Switzerland, whereas there was no difference compared to controls in the French part of Switzerland. Furthermore, autonomy and school variables were significantly higher in the IBD patients as compared to controls.
CONCLUSIONS: The social support for children with IBD is excellent in this cohort. Only physical well-being was impaired due to disease activity, whereas all other KIDSCREEN parameters were better as compared to controls. This indicates that effective coping and support strategies may be able to compensate the burden of disease in pediatric IBD patients.