Can We Predict Which Children With Clinically Suspected Pneumonia Will Have the Presence of Focal Infiltrates on Chest Radiographs?
Objective. To determine predictive factors for the presence of focal infiltrates in children with clinically suspected pneumonia in a pediatric emergency department.
Methods. Children (1–16 years) with clinically suspected pneumonia were studied prospectively. The presenting features were compared between the children with and without focal infiltrates using χ2 analysis, t test, and odds ratio with 95% confidence intervals. A multivariate prediction rule was developed using logistic regression.
Results. A total of 570 were studied. Risk factors (odds ratio; 95% confidence interval) for the presence of focal infiltrates included history of fever (3.1; 1.7–5.3), decreased breath sounds (1.4; 1.0–2.0), crackles (2.0; 1.4–2.9), retractions (2.8; 1.0–7.6), grunting (7.3; 1.1–48.1), fever (1.5; 1.2–1.9), tachypnea (1.8; 1.3–2.5), and tachycardia (1.3; 1.0–1.6). We then used logistic regression to develop a candidate prediction rule for the variables of fever, decreased breath sounds, crackles, and tachypnea, which had an area under the receiver operating curve of 0.668. This rule had excellent sensitivity (93.1%–98%) yet poor specificity (5.7%–19.4%).
Conclusions. Multiple predictive factors for children with suspected pneumonia have been identified. Patients with focal infiltrates were more likely in our study to have a history of fever, tachypnea, increased heart rate, retractions, grunting, crackles, or decreased breath sounds. A multivariate prediction rule shows promise for the accurate prediction of pneumonia in children. However, the prospective evaluation of this multivariate prediction rule in a clinical setting is still required.
- Received February 24, 2003.
- Accepted October 21, 2003.
- Copyright © 2004 by the American Academy of Pediatrics