Background\ud \ud The goal of much care in chronic childhood illness is to improve quality of life (QOL). However, surveys suggest QOL measures are not routinely included. In addition, there is little consensus about the quality of many QOL measures.\ud \ud Objectives\ud \ud To determine the extent to which quality of life (QOL) measures are used in paediatric clinical trials and evaluate the quality of measures used.\ud \ud Design\ud \ud Systematic literature review.\ud \ud Review Methods\ud \ud Included paediatric trials published in English between 1994 and 2003 involving children and adolescents up to the age of 20 years, and use of a standardised QOL measure. Data Sources included MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMB Reviews, AMED, BNI, PSYCHINFO, the Cochrane library, Internet, and reference lists from review articles.\ud \ud Results\ud \ud We identified 18 trials including assessment of QOL (4 Asthma, 4 Rhinitis, 2 Dermatitis, and single studies of Eczema, Cystic fibrosis, Otis media, Amblyopia, Diabetes, Obesity associated with a brain tumour, Idiopathic short stature, and Congenital agranulocytosis). In three trials, parents rated their own QOL but not their child's. Fourteen different QOL measures were used but only two fulfilled our minimal defined criteria for quality.\ud \ud Conclusions\ud \ud This review confirms previous reports of limited use of QOL measures in paediatric clinical trials. Our review provides information about availability and quality of measures which will be of especial value to trial developers.\u
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