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J Psychosom Res. 2010 Apr;68(4):345-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2009.10.003. Epub 2009 Dec 5.

A medical record review for functional somatic symptoms in children.

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1
Research Clinic for Functional Disorders and Psychosomatics, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark. c.rask@dadlnet.dk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The objectives of this study were to develop and test a systematic medical record review for functional somatic symptoms (FSSs) in paediatric patients and to estimate the inter-rater reliability of paediatricians' recognition of FSSs and their associated impairments while using this method.

METHODS:

We developed the Medical Record Review for Functional Somatic Symptoms in Children (MRFC) for retrospective medical record review. Described symptoms were categorised as probably, definitely, or not FSSs. FSS-associated impairment was also determined. Three paediatricians performed the MRFC on the medical records of 54 children with a diagnosed, well-defined physical disease and 59 with 'symptom' diagnoses. The inter-rater reliabilities of the recognition and associated impairment of FSSs were tested on 20 of these records.

RESULTS:

The MRFC allowed identification of subgroups of children with multisymptomatic FSSs, long-term FSSs, and/or impairing FSSs. The FSS inter-rater reliability was good (combined kappa=0.69) but only fair as far as associated impairment was concerned (combined kappa=0.29).

CONCLUSIONS:

In the hands of skilled paediatricians, the MRFC is a reliable method for identifying paediatric patients with diverse types of FSSs for clinical research. However, additional information is needed for reliable judgement of impairment. The method may also prove useful in clinical practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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