Outcome measures for assessing change over time in studies of symptomatic children with hypermobility: A systematic review
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Maarj, M., Coda, A., Tofts, L., Williams, C., Santos, D. & Pacey, V. (2021) 'Outcome measures for assessing change over time in studies of symptomatic children with hypermobility: A systematic review', BMC Pediatrics, 21, article no. 527
Background: Generalised joint hypermobility (GJH) is highly prevalent among children and associated with symptoms in a fifth with the condition. This study aimed to synthesise outcome measures in interventional or prospective longitudinal studies of children with GJH and associated lower limb symptoms. Methods: Electronic searches of Medline, CINAHL and Embase databases from inception to 16th March 2020 were performed for studies of children with GJH and symptoms between 5 and 18 years reporting repeated outcome measures collected at least 4 weeks apart. Methodological quality of eligible studies were described using the Downs and Black checklist. Results: Six studies comprising of five interventional, and one prospective observational study (total of 388 children) met the inclusion criteria. Interventional study durations were between 2 and 3 months, with up to 10 months post-intervention follow-up, while the observational study spanned 3 years. Three main constructs of pain, function and quality of life were reported as primary outcome measures using 20 different instruments. All but one measure was validated in paediatric populations, but not specifically for children with GJH and symptoms. One study assessed fatigue, reporting disabling fatigue to be associated with higher pain intensity. Conclusions: There were no agreed sets of outcome measures used for children with GJH and symptoms. The standardisation of assessment tools across paediatric clinical trials is needed. Four constructs of pain, function, quality of life and fatigue are recommended to be included with agreed upon, validated, objective tools.