Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Computer model better than clinical judgment for diagnosing fever in young children

Date:
April 22, 2010
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
A computerized diagnostic model outperforms clinical judgment for the diagnosis of fever in young children, and may improve early treatment, a new study finds.

A computerised diagnostic model outperforms clinical judgement for the diagnosis of fever in young children, and may improve early treatment, finds a study published online in the British Medical Journal.

Fever (or febrile illness) is a common symptom in children, especially in those under five years of age, but it can be difficult to diagnose the correct cause. Yet physicians need to be able to distinguish minor viral illnesses from serious bacterial infections such as pneumonia, urinary tract infection and meningitis.

Current diagnostic processes and clinical scoring systems are often inadequate, so there is a real need for an accurate acute clinical decision making tool that takes into account all the signs and symptoms associated with serious causes of febrile illness.

So a team of researchers in Australia set out to develop and test a computerised model to distinguish serious bacterial infections from self limiting non-bacterial illnesses.

The study involved over 15,000 healthy children under five years of age presenting to the emergency department of a large children's hospital over a two-year period with a febrile illness (a body temperature of 38ēC or more in the previous 24 hours).

A standard clinical evaluation was performed by physicians and serious bacterial infections were confirmed or excluded using standard tests and follow up. The signs and symptoms noted by the physicians were then combined in a diagnostic model and the results were compared.

The data show that urinary tract infection, pneumonia and bacteraemia (bacteria in the blood) occur in about 7% of young children with a fever, but only 70-80% of these children are prescribed antibiotics on initial consultation and 20% of children without an identified bacterial infection are probably over-treated with antibiotics.

The performance of the diagnostic model for each infection was acceptable or better than physician evaluation.

The authors point out that almost all (95%) of these children had the appropriate tests, and that some doctors routinely delay giving antibiotics until test results are known, so this may help to explain the initial under-treatment. However, about two thirds of children who were not treated were subsequently prescribed antibiotics.

They conclude: "By combining routinely collected clinical information into a statistical model, we have demonstrated that a clinical diagnostic model may improve the care of children presenting with fever who have suspected serious bacterial illness."

"This study reinforces the importance of measuring vital signs and assessing a child's overall state of illness," say general practitioners Matthew Thompson and Anne Van den Bruel in an accompanying editorial. But, they caution that, "before widespread implementation, we will need to have evidence showing the effect of using such a model on patient management and outcomes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. C. Craig, G. J. Williams, M. Jones, M. Codarini, P. Macaskill, A. Hayen, L. Irwig, D. A. Fitzgerald, D. Isaacs, M. McCaskill. The accuracy of clinical symptoms and signs for the diagnosis of serious bacterial infection in young febrile children: prospective cohort study of 15 781 febrile illnesses. BMJ, 2010; 340 (apr19 2): c1594 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.c1594

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Computer model better than clinical judgment for diagnosing fever in young children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100420220802.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2010, April 22). Computer model better than clinical judgment for diagnosing fever in young children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100420220802.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Computer model better than clinical judgment for diagnosing fever in young children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100420220802.htm (accessed August 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) — Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) — California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak's Progression

3 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak's Progression

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) — Here are three things you need to know about the deadly Ebola outbreak's progression this week. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins