Child's Nervous System

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 117–124 | Cite as

Functional outcome in young adults with spina bifida and hydrocephalus

  • R. HetheringtonEmail author
  • M. Dennis
  • M. Barnes
  • J. Drake
  • F. Gentili
Original Paper



Quality of life was studied in 31 adult survivors of spina bifida, each with Verbal or Performance IQ score over 70.


Instruments measured physical and occupational function, cognitive/psychological function, somatic sensation, and social interaction in the context of the ability to live independently.


Domain group means except motor independence were in the average range (±1 standard deviation). Variability within the group with respect to physical phenotype (high spinal lesions were associated with poorer motor independence) and medical history [a greater number of shunt revisions (>4) were associated with poorer functional numeracy] was predictive of quality of life. Both spinal lesion level and number of shunt revisions influenced occupational status.


There was a relation between everyday mathematics, reading skills, and quality of life. The consequences of the physical, medical, and cognitive effects of spina bifida extend into young adulthood and have an impact on quality of life.


Spina bifida Hydrocephalus Quality of life 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Hetherington
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Dennis
    • 1
  • M. Barnes
    • 1
  • J. Drake
    • 1
  • F. Gentili
    • 1
  1. 1.Community Health and Knowledge TransferThe Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada

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