Background: Although some pediatric sepsis survivors experience worsening health-related quality of life (HRQL), many return to their pre-illness HRQL. Whether children can improve beyond baseline is not known. We examined a cohort of pediatric sepsis survivors to determine if those with baseline HRQL scores below the population mean could exhibit ≥10% improvement and evaluated factors associated with improvement. Methods: In this secondary analysis of the Life After Pediatric Sepsis Evaluation prospective study, children aged 1 month to 18 years admitted to 12 academic PICUs in the United States with community-acquired septic shock who survived to 3 months and had baseline HRQL scores ≤ 80 (i.e., excluding those with good baseline HRQL to allow for potential improvement) were included. HRQL was measured using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory or Stein-Jessop Functional Status Scale. Findings: One hundred and seventeen children were eligible. Sixty-one (52%) had ≥ 10% improvement in HRQL by 3 months. Lower pre-sepsis HRQL was associated with increased odds of improvement at 3 months [aOR = 1.08, 95% CI (1.04–1.11), p < 0.001] and 12 months [OR = 1.05, 95% CI (1.02–1.11), p = 0.005]. Improvement in HRQL was most prevalent at 3 month follow-up; at 12 month follow-up, improvement was more sustained among children without severe developmental delay compared to children with severe developmental delay. Interpretation: More than half of these children with community acquired septic shock experienced at least a 10% improvement in HRQL from baseline to 3 months. Children with severe developmental delay did not sustain this improvement at 12 month follow-up.
- health-related quality of life
- long-term outcomes
- pediatric critical care
- pediatric critical illness
- pediatric sepsis