The purpose of this paper was to investigate the contributions of sociodemographic, neurologic, and neuropsychological variables to health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in children with epilepsy and high seizure burden. Focus was placed on the relationship between memory and HRQoL, which has not been previously investigated.
Ninety children with epilepsy receiving clinical care at a tertiary-level children’s hospital were retrospectively identified. Primary assessment measures were verbal memory (California Verbal Learning Test–Children’s Version) and HRQoL. Other neuropsychological variables included intellectual function, executive function, emotional and behavioral function, and adaptive function. Sociodemographic and neurologic variables were extracted from chart review.
No significant correlations were found between HRQoL and sociodemographic or neurologic variables. Moderate correlations were found between neuropsychological variables and HRQoL. Emotional function (Child Behavior Checklist) and verbal memory (California Verbal Learning Test–Children’s Version) emerged as significant predictor variables of HRQoL. Low verbal memory was associated with a twofold risk of low HRQoL, emotional and behavioral difficulty with a 10-fold risk, and the combination of emotional and behavioral difficulty and low verbal memory with a 17-fold risk.
Verbal memory and emotional and behavioral difficulty are associated with increased risk of low HRQoL, even when other important variables are considered in children with high seizure burden. The results reinforce the importance of neuropsychological assessment in clinical care in pediatric epilepsy and suggest important areas of focus for psychological intervention.