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.

Related Articles


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 November 22, 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 November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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