Identification of Impaired Executive Functioning after Pediatric Liver Transplantation Using Two Short and Easily Applicable Tests: Cognitive Functioning Module PedsQL and Children's Color Trail Test.
We aimed to assess executive functioning in children after liver transplantation compared with healthy controls and in relation to real-life school performance using the PedsQLTM Cognitive Functioning Scale (CogPedsQL) and the Childrens' Color Trail Test (CCTT). One hundred and fifty five children (78f, median age 10.4 (1.2-18.3) years) underwent testing with CogPedsQL and/or CCTT 4.9 (0.1-17.0) years after transplantation. Results were compared to those of 296 healthy children (165f, median age 10.0 (2.0-18.0) years). Liver transplanted children displayed significantly reduced scores for cogPedsQL and CCTT1&2 compared to healthy controls. Overall, school performance was lower in patients compared to controls. In both patients and controls, results of CCTT2 and CogPedsQL correlated strongly with school performance. In contrast to controls, school performance in patients correlated with the level of maternal but not paternal primary education degree (r = -0.21, p = 0.03). None of the patient CCTT or CogPedsQL test results correlated with parental school education. Conclusion: CogPedsQL and CCTT 1&2 were easily applicable in children after OLT and revealed reduced executive functioning compared to controls. Results reflect real life school performance. The association of parental education with school performance is reduced in transplanted children, which possibly indicates the overriding impact of transplant-associated morbidity on cognitive outcomes.