Plain abdominal radiography in the detection of major disease in children: a prospective analysis

Annals of Emergency Medicine
S G RothrockC B Hummel


To prospectively evaluate previously described high-yield clinical criteria for obtaining plain abdominal radiographs in the emergency evaluation of children. Prospective, observational study. Emergency departments of a university medical center and an affiliated county hospital. Three hundred fifty-four children 15 years old or younger who underwent plain abdominal radiography during a one-year period. Physicians ordering plain abdominal radiographs completed data forms that included historical and physical examination information before viewing films. At a later date, records of all patients were reviewed for radiologist interpretation and final diagnosis. The data were analyzed to determine the sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values of previously described high-yield criteria (from a retrospective series) in detecting radiographs that were diagnostic or suggestive of "major" abdominal disease. Sixty-one patients (17%) had major diseases potentially requiring procedural intervention (eg, appendicitis, ingested foreign bodies, and intussusception), whereas 296 patients (83%) had minor diseases not requiring procedural intervention (eg, gastroenteritis and nonabdominal diagnoses). The presence of any of the following f...Continue Reading


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