Adding fever to WHO criteria for diagnosing pneumonia enhances the ability to identify pneumonia cases among wheezing children.


Cardoso, MR; Nascimento-Carvalho, CM; Ferrero, F; Alves, FM; Cousens, SN; (2010) Adding fever to WHO criteria for diagnosing pneumonia enhances the ability to identify pneumonia cases among wheezing children. Archives of disease in childhood. ISSN 0003-9888 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/adc.2010.189894

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Abstract

Objective To examine the ability of the criteria proposed by the WHO to identify pneumonia among cases presenting with wheezing and the extent to which adding fever to the criteria alters their performance. Design Prospective classification of 390 children aged 2-59 months with lower respiratory tract disease into five diagnostic categories, including pneumonia. WHO criteria for the identification of pneumonia and a set of such criteria modified by adding fever were compared with radiographically diagnosed pneumonia as the gold standard. Results The sensitivity of the WHO criteria was 94% for children aged <24 months and 62% for those aged ?24 months. The corresponding specificities were 20% and 16%. Adding fever to the WHO criteria improved specificity substantially (to 44% and 50%, respectively). The specificity of the WHO criteria was poor for children with wheezing (12%). Adding fever improved this substantially (to 42%). The addition of fever to the criteria apparently reduced their sensitivity only marginally (to 92% and 57%, respectively, in the two age groups). Conclusion The authors' results reaffirm that the current WHO criteria can detect pneumonia with high sensitivity, particularly among younger children. They present evidence that the ability of these criteria to distinguish between children with pneumonia and those with wheezing diseases might be greatly enhanced by the addition of fever.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Research Centre: Centre for Maternal, Reproductive and Child Health (MARCH)
Tropical Epidemiology Group
PubMed ID: 20870628
Web of Science ID: 285389200013
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/2405

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