Background: Sanfilippo syndrome type B (Sanfilippo B) belongs to a group of rare lysosomal storage diseases characterized by progressive cognitive decline from an early age, acute hyperactivity, and concomitant somatic symptoms. Caregivers face a unique set of challenges related to the complex nature of Sanfilippo B, but the burden and impact on quality of life (QoL) of caregivers is poorly defined and best practice guidance for clinicians is lacking.
Methods: An international clinical advisors meeting was convened to discuss key aspects of caregiver burden associated with Sanfilippo B based on findings from qualitative and quantitative research undertaken to identify and quantify the nature and impact of the disease on patients and caregivers.
Results: Providing care for patients with Sanfilippo B impinges on all aspects of family life, evolving as the patient ages and the disease progresses. Important factors contributing toward caregiver burden include sleep disturbances, impulsive and hyperactive behavior, and communication difficulties. Caregiver burden remained high throughout the life of the patient and, coupled with the physical burden of daily care, had a cumulative impact that generated significant psychological stress.
Conclusion: A Sanfilippo-specific QoL questionnaire is needed that is directed at caregiver needs and burden and best practice management of these domains.