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BMC Fam Pract. 2004 Mar 11;5:4.

The inter-observer agreement of examining pre-school children with acute cough: a nested study.

Author information

1
Division of Primary Health Care, University of Bristol, Cotham House, Cotham Hill, Bristol, BS6, 6JL, UK. alastair.hay@bristol.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The presence of clinical signs have implications for diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the inter-observer agreement of clinical signs in pre-school children presenting to primary care.

METHODS:

A nested study comparing two clinical assessments within a prospective cohort of 256 pre-school children with acute cough recruited from eight general practices in Leicestershire, UK. We examined agreement (using kappa statistics) between unstandardised and standardised clinical assessments of tachypnoea, chest signs and fever.

RESULTS:

Kappa values were poor or fair for all clinical signs (range 0.12 to 0.39) with chest signs the most reliable.

CONCLUSIONS:

Primary care clinicians should be aware that clinical signs may be unreliable when making diagnosis, prognosis and treatment decisions in pre-school children with cough. Future research should aim to further our understanding of how best to identify abnormal clinical signs.

PMID:
15102326
PMCID:
PMC387826
DOI:
10.1186/1471-2296-5-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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