BACKGROUND: Previous research has described variability in medical evaluation of suspected abuse. The objective of this study was to identify, through expert consensus, required and highly recommended elements of a child abuse pediatrics (CAP) evaluation for 3 common presentations of suspected physical abuse in children aged 0 to 60 months.
METHODS: Twenty-eight CAPs recruited from 2 national organizations formed the expert panel for this modified Delphi Process. An initial survey was developed for each presentation based on demographics, history of present illness, past medical, family and social history, laboratory, radiology, and consultation elements present in at least 10% of CAP consultations collected for a larger study. CAPs ranked each element on a 9-point scale then reviewed and discussed summary results through a project blog over 3 rounds. Required and highly recommended elements were defined as elements ranked as 9 and 8, respectively, by ≥75% of experts after the final round.
RESULTS: From 96 elements in the initial surveys, experts identified 30 Required elements and 37 Highly Recommended elements for CAP evaluation of intracranial hemorrhage, 21 Required and 33 Highly Recommended elements for CAP evaluation of long bone fracture, and 18 Required and 16 Highly Recommended elements for CAP evaluation of isolated skull fracture.
CONCLUSIONS: This guideline reflects expert consensus and provides a starting point for development of child abuse assessment protocols for quality improvement or research. Additional research is required to determine whether this guideline can reduce variability and/or improve reliability in the evaluation and diagnosis of child physical abuse.
- Accepted April 15, 2015.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics