Integrating Clinical Signs at Presentation and Clinician's Non-analytical Reasoning in Prediction Models for Serious Bacterial Infection in Febrile Children Presenting to Emergency Department

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Abstract

Objective: Development and validation of clinical prediction model (CPM) for serious bacterial infections (SBIs) in children presenting to the emergency department (ED) with febrile illness, based on clinical variables, clinician's “gut feeling,” and “sense of reassurance. Materials and Methods: Febrile children presenting to the ED of Children's Clinical University Hospital (CCUH) between April 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018 were enrolled in a prospective observational study. Data on clinical signs and symptoms at presentation, together with clinician's “gut feeling” of something wrong and “sense of reassurance” were collected as candidate variables for CPM. Variable selection for the CPM was performed using stepwise logistic regression (forward, backward, and bidirectional); Akaike information criterion was used to limit the number of parameters and simplify the model. Bootstrapping was applied for internal validation. For external validation, the model was tested in a separate dataset of patients presenting to six regional hospitals between January 1 and March 31, 2019. Results: The derivation cohort consisted of 517; 54% (n = 279) were boys, and the median age was 58 months. SBI was diagnosed in 26.7% (n = 138). Validation cohort included 188 patients; the median age was 28 months, and 26.6% (n = 50) developed SBI. Two CPMs were created, namely, CPM1 consisting of six clinical variables and CPM2 with four clinical variables plus “gut feeling” and “sense of reassurance.” The area under the curve (AUC) for receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve of CPM1 was 0.744 (95% CI, 0.683–0.805) in the derivation cohort and 0.692 (95% CI, 0.604–0.780) in the validation cohort. AUC for CPM2 was 0.783 (0.727–0.839) and 0.752 (0.674–0.830) in derivation and validation cohorts, respectively. AUC of CPM2 in validation population was significantly higher than that of CPM1 [p = 0.037, 95% CI (−0.129; −0.004)]. A clinical evaluation score was derived from CPM2 to stratify patients in “low risk,” “gray area,” and “high risk” for SBI. Conclusion: Both CPMs had moderate ability to predict SBI and acceptable performance in the validation cohort. Adding variables “gut feeling” and “sense of reassurance” in CPM2 improved its ability to predict SBI. More validation studies are needed for the assessment of applicability to all febrile patients presenting to ED.

Original languageEnglish
Article number786795
JournalFrontiers in Pediatrics
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2022

Keywords*

  • fever
  • gut feeling
  • non-analytical reasoning
  • prediction model
  • serious bacterial infection

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database

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