Chronic kidney disease (CKD) and kidney failure in childhood are associated with significant and life-altering morbidities and lower quality of life. Emerging evidence suggests that management should be guided in part by symptom burden; however, there is currently no standardized assessment tool for quantifying symptom burden in this pediatric population. This study aimed to develop and refine a patient-reported symptom assessment tool for children with CKD/kidney failure (PRO-Kid), to evaluate the frequency and impact of symptoms.
This was a prospective observational study of children and caregivers of children with CKD/kidney failure at two Canadian pediatric care centers. Building on previously published patient-reported outcome measures (PROs) for the assessment of symptom burden in other populations, we drafted a 13-item questionnaire. Cognitive interviews were performed with children and caregivers of children with CKD/kidney failure to iteratively refine the questionnaire.
Twenty-four participants completed cognitive interviewing (11 children, 13 caregivers). The most common symptoms endorsed were feeling left out, feeling sad/depressed, inability to focus, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, not wanting to eat, and changes in the taste of food. Feeling left out was added to the questionnaire as almost all participants voiced this as a frequent and impactful symptom, resulting in a 14-item questionnaire.
PRO-Kid is the first pediatric CKD/kidney failure-specific PRO tool to assess symptom burden. Future work should validate this tool in a larger cohort so that it may be used to improve the care of children living with CKD/kidney failure.