Burden Among Caregivers of Pediatric Patients with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) and Plexiform Neurofibroma (PN) in the United States: A Cross-Sectional Study

Neurology and Therapy, 2022


Patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) may develop plexiform neurofibromas (PNs) that can cause disfigurement, pain, and dysfunction, and may even be life-threatening. Studies have indicated NF1-PN can substantially impact the quality of life (QoL) of pediatric patients. However, research on caregiver burden is scarce.


Caregivers of pediatric patients ages 2-18 years with NF1-PN in the USA were recruited through the Children's Tumor Foundation to participate in an online cross-sectional survey (December 2020-January 2021). Caregiver burden was measured using the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI), and productivity loss from patientcare was measured using the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment questionnaire, adapted for caregiving (WPAI:CG).


Ninety-five caregivers were recruited with a median age of 44.0 years. Most were female (88.4%), white/Caucasian (85.3%), and did not have NF1 or PN (86.3% and 89.5%, respectively). Commonly reported health conditions among caregivers include anxiety (48.4%) and depression (34.7%). On the ZBI (range 0-88; higher = greater burden), mean (SD) scores were 23.0 (13.8) and 12.7% of caregivers reported moderate-severe (scores 41-60) or severe burden (scores 61-88). Fifty-six caregivers were employed and working in the 7 days prior to completing the WPAI:CG. They reported missing an average of 6.9% of their working hours and an average reduction of 17.3% of on-the-job effectiveness, contributing to 22.3% loss in work productivity. Among all 95 caregivers, an average of 17.2% of regular daily activities were impaired.


The burden among caregivers of pediatric patients with NF1-PN is considerable and underscores an unmet need for better disease management.

View abstract


Yang X, Yoo HK, Amin S, Cheng WY, Sundaresan S, Zhang L, Duh MS