A pilot study of the impact of surgical repair on disease-specific quality of life among patients with pectus excavatum.

Abstract

BACKGROUND This study was conducted to determine the ability of 2 questionnaires (ie, child and parent versions) to measure physical and psychosocial quality-of-life changes after surgical repair of pectus excavatum. METHODS The authors administered these questionnaires by telephone interviews with 22 parents and 19 children (ages 8 to 18) before surgery and 6 to 12 months after repair by the Nuss procedure. RESULTS The instruments had high test-retest reliability (Rho > 0.6 for all retained questions). Children reported significant improvements in exercise intolerance, shortness of breath, and tiredness. Of 9 questions asking the children how they feel or act about their bodies, all but one question showed significant improvement after surgery. Parents also reported significant improvements in their child's exercise tolerance, chest pain, shortness of breath, and tiredness and decreases in the frequency of the child being frustrated, sad, self-conscious, and isolated. CONCLUSIONS These questionnaires appear to be more than adequate to measure disease-specific quality-of-life changes after surgery. These data confirm for the first time that surgical repair of pectus excavatum has a positive impact on both the physical and psychosocial well-being of the child.

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