Aims & Objectives:
Adult ICU patients report high levels of fatigue after discharge, but little is known about pediatric ICU survivors in this regard. This study aimed to validate a promising measure of fatigue for use with this population and to compare scores of PICU children with existing normative data.
Ninety-seven children aged 7y to 17y completed the PedsQL Multidimensional Fatigue Scale, which measures general fatigue, sleep/rest fatigue and cognitive fatigue, 3 months after discharge from PICU at a tertiary hospital.
Psychometrics for the scale were acceptable for use with this population. Comparisons with a normative sample (n=209) showed that the PICU survivors reported similar total levels of fatigue to their healthy peers (mean (SD) total fatigue scores: 79.5 (16.2) v 81.8 (12.5), p=0.218). However although it had been hypothesised that the ‘traumatic brain injury’ (TBI) group (n=36) would report the highest level of cognitive fatigue, it was the ‘other emergency admission’ group (n=46) which reported poorer (lower) scores for this subscale than healthy controls (74.3 (22.7) v 82.4 (16.5), p=0.026). The ‘elective’ group (n=15) reported similar scores to controls across all three subscales and the TBI group reported less sleep related fatigue (83.9 (15.3) v 76.8 (16.3), p=0.014).
The PedsQL Multidimensional Fatigue Scale appears to be a promising tool for use in outcomes research with survivors of PICU. These results highlight the need to bear in mind the heterogeneity of PICU patients and the multidimensional nature of fatigue symptoms when evaluating a child’s wellbeing during recovery.