Quality-of-life assessment in patients who had been surgically treated for cerebellar pilocytic astrocytoma in childhood

Alfredo Pompili, Marco Caperle, Andrea Pace, Valerio Ramazzotti, Laura Raus, Bruno Jandolo, Emanuele Occhipinti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Object. After radical surgery for childhood cerebellar astrocytomas, patients are considered to be cured. Long-term follow up demonstrates that these patients survive, with most of them leading a normal life. The study reported here was aimed at assessing the quality of life (QOL) of these adults, which is defined as a person's sense of well-being, as derived from his or her current experience of life as a whole. Methods. Twenty patients who had undergone surgery between 1970 and 1985 were enrolled in the study. In four patients ventriculoperitoneal shunts were in place; two of these patients had required more than six shunt revisions. At present, all patients have clear neuroimaging studies and their Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) scores are as follows: 70 in three, 80 in seven, 90 in six, and 100 in four. A QOL questionnaire was administered to the patients and to a control group consisting of 20 healthy volunteers of matching age and sex. The chi-square test was applied to compare patients and controls. Traditional questions on the level of education, work, whether the patients have their own families, and whether they possessed a driver's license were asked at the end of the questionnaire. In all the dimensions assessed except one (sex life), the difference between patients and control volunteers was significant, socializing and adolescence being the most striking ones. This was also true when the three patients with the lowest KPS scores and the worst QOL results were excluded. Conclusions. By traditional standards, these patients appear to fare quite well. Nevertheless, their self-reported life experience is unsatisfying when compared with the control group. The authors conclude that psychosocial factors are critical to complete recovery and the QOL of children who undergo successful operations for benign cerebellar astrocytoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-234
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Astrocytoma
  • Brain tumor
  • Pilocytic astrocytoma
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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