PEDIATRICS recent issues

A Case of a 15-Month-Old With Periorbital Edema and Severe Anemia

This is the case of a previously healthy 15-month-old girl who initially presented to her primary pediatrician with a 2-week history of intermittent periorbital edema. The edema had improved by the time of the visit, and a urine specimen was unable to be obtained in the clinic. A routine fingerstick demonstrated anemia to 8.8 mg/dL, so the patient was started on ferrous sulfate. She then returned to the emergency department 1 month later with severe periorbital edema and pallor but no other significant symptoms. On physical examination, she was tachycardic with striking periorbital edema and an otherwise normal physical examination. She was noted to have a severe microcytic anemia (hemoglobin of 3.9 mg/dL and mean corpuscular volume of 53.1 fL) and hypoalbuminemia (albumin of 1.9 g/dL and total protein of 3.3 g/dL). The remainder of her electrolytes and liver function test results were within normal limits. A urinalysis was sent, which was negative for protein. Our panel of experts reviews her case to determine a unifying diagnosis for both her severe anemia and her hypoalbuminemia.

Health System Research Priorities for Children and Youth With Special Health Care Needs

OBJECTIVES:

In this study, we sought to establish priorities for a national research agenda for children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) through a structured, multistakeholder, mixed-methods approach.

METHODS:

Using surveys, we solicited responses from >800 members of expert-nominated stakeholder organizations, including CYSHCN families, health care providers, researchers, and policymakers, to identify what research with or about CYSHCN they would like to see in a national research agenda. From 2835 individual free-text responses, 96 research topics were synthesized and combined. Using an adapted RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method (a modified Delphi approach), an expert panel rated research topics across 3 domains: need and urgency, research impact, and family centeredness. Domains were rated on 9-point Likert scales. Panelist ratings were used to sort research topics into 4 relative-priority ranks. Rank 1 (highest priority) research topics had a median of ≥7 in all domains.

RESULTS:

The RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method was used to prioritize CYSHCN research topics and depict their varying levels of stakeholder-perceived need and urgency, research impact, and family centeredness. In the 15 topics that achieved rank 1, social determinants of health (disparities and rurality), caregiving (family resilience and care at home), clinical-model refinement (effective model elements, labor divisions, telemedicine, and system integration), value (stakeholder-centered value outcomes, return on investment, and alternative payment models), and youth-adult transitions (planning, insurance, and community supports) were emphasized.

CONCLUSIONS:

High-priority research topics identified by CYSHCN experts and family leaders underscore CYSHCN research trends and guide important directions. This study is the first step toward an efficient and cohesive research blueprint to achieve highly-effective CYSHCN health systems.

Hormonal Treatment and Cardiovascular Risk Profile in Transgender Adolescents

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

The effects of endocrinological treatment on cardiovascular risk profile in transgender adolescents are unknown. In this retrospective cohort study, we aim to investigate these effects and assess obesity and dyslipidemia prevalence in transgender adolescents at 22 years compared with peers.

METHODS:

Changes in BMI, systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), glucose, homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), and lipid values during treatment, along with the prevalence of obesity and dyslipidemia at 22 years, were recorded in 71 transwomen and 121 transmen who started gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists in their adolescence (15 years), with a subsequent addition of sex hormones (17 years).

RESULTS:

In transwomen, changes in BMI (+3.0; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.6 to 4.4), SBP (–2 mm Hg; 95% CI –7 to 3), DBP (+10 mm Hg; 95% CI 7 to 14), glucose (0.0 mmol/L; 95% CI –0.2 to 0.2), HOMA-IR (+0.6; 95% CI –0.6 to 1.9), and lipid values were similar or more favorable compared with peers. The same was true for transmen regarding changes in BMI (+2.3; 95% CI 1.7 to 2.9), SBP (+7 mm Hg; 95% CI 3 to 10), DBP (+7 mm Hg; 95% CI 5 to 10), glucose (+0.1 mmol/L; 95% CI –0.1 to 0.3), HOMA-IR (–0.2; 95% CI –0.8 to 0.3), and lipid values. At age 22, obesity prevalence was 9.9% in transwomen, 6.6% in transmen, 2.2% in ciswomen, and 3.0% in cismen.

CONCLUSIONS:

Generally, endocrinological treatment in transgender adolescents is safe regarding cardiovascular risk. Because obesity is more prevalent in transgender adolescents compared with peers, body weight management should be important during the medical trajectory.

Adherence to Timely Vaccinations in the United States

OBJECTIVES:

To estimate (1) the proportion of children not adhering to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended early childhood immunization schedule and (2) associations between schedule adherence, sociodemographic characteristics, and up-to-date immunization status by 19 to 35 months of age.

METHODS:

We used 2014 National Immunization Survey provider-verified vaccination data to classify vaccination patterns as "recommended" (ie, in line with ACIP dose- and age-specific recommendations), "alternate" (ie, in line with either limiting the number of shots per visit or skipping at least 1 vaccine series), or "unknown or unclassifiable" (ie, not in line with ACIP recommendations or clearly limiting shots per visit or vaccine series). We evaluated the association between vaccination patterns and up-to-date status for all ACIP-recommended vaccinations (including rotavirus and hepatitis A vaccines) using Poisson regression.

RESULTS:

The majority of children’s patterns were classified as "recommended" (63%), with 23% and 14% following alternate or unknown or unclassifiable patterns, respectively; 58% of children were up-to-date with all ACIP-recommended immunizations by 19 to 35 months. Not being up-to-date was associated with alternate (prevalence ratio = 4.2, 95% confidence interval: 3.9–4.5) and unknown or unclassifiable (prevalence ratio = 2.4, 95% confidence interval: 2.2–2.7) patterns.

CONCLUSIONS:

High vaccine coverage by 19 to 35 months of age may miss nonadherence to the recommended immunization schedule in the first 18 months of life, leaving children vulnerable to preventable diseases. With more than one-third of US children not following the ACIP schedule, targeted interventions are needed to minimize vaccine delays and disease susceptibility.

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Breakthrough Infections: 2001-2016

BACKGROUND:

Most countries use 3-dose pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) schedules; a 4-dose (3 primary and 1 booster) schedule is licensed for US infants. We evaluated the invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) breakthrough infection incidence in children receiving 2 vs 3 primary PCV doses with and without booster doses (2 + 1 vs 3 + 1; 2 + 0 vs 3 + 0).

METHODS:

We used 2001–2016 Active Bacterial Core surveillance data to identify breakthrough infections (vaccine-type IPD in children receiving ≥1 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine [PCV7] or 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine [PCV13] dose) among children aged <5 years. We estimated schedule-specific IPD incidence rates (IRs) per 100 000 person-years and compared incidence by schedule (2 + 1 vs 3 + 1; 2 + 0 vs 3 + 0) using rate differences (RDs) and incidence rate ratios.

RESULTS:

We identified 71 PCV7 and 49 PCV13 breakthrough infections among children receiving a schedule of interest. PCV13 breakthrough infection rates were higher in children aged <1 year receiving the 2 + 0 (IR: 7.8) vs 3 + 0 (IR: 0.6) schedule (incidence rate ratio: 12.9; 95% confidence interval: 4.1–40.4); PCV7 results were similar. Differences in PCV13 breakthrough infection rates by schedule in children aged <1 year were larger in 2010–2011 (2 + 0 IR: 18.6; 3 + 0 IR: 1.4; RD: 16.6) vs 2012–2016 (2 + 0 IR: 3.6; 3 + 0 IR: 0.2; RD: 3.4). No differences between schedules were detected in children aged ≥1 year for PCV13 breakthrough infections.

CONCLUSIONS:

Fewer PCV breakthrough infections occurred in the first year of life with 3 primary doses. Differences in breakthrough infection rates by schedule decreased as vaccine serotypes decreased in circulation.

A Centralized Approach for Practicing Genomic Medicine

Next-generation sequencing has revolutionized the diagnostic process, making broadscale testing affordable and applicable to almost all specialties; however, there remain several challenges in its widespread implementation. Barriers such as lack of infrastructure or expertise within local health systems and complex result interpretation or counseling make it harder for frontline clinicians to incorporate genomic testing in their existing workflow. The general population is more informed and interested in pursuing genetic testing, and this has been coupled with the increasing accessibility of direct-to-consumer testing. As a result of these changes, primary care physicians and nongenetics specialty providers find themselves seeing patients for whom genetic testing would be beneficial but managing genetic test results that are out of their scope of practice. In this report, we present a practical and centralized approach to providing genomic services through an independent, enterprise-wide clinical service model. We present 4 years of clinical experience, with >3400 referrals, toward designing and implementing the clinical service, maximizing resources, identifying barriers, and improving patient care. We provide a framework that can be implemented at other institutions to support and integrate genomic services across the enterprise.

A Quality Improvement Initiative to Reduce Hospitalizations for Low-risk Diabetic Ketoacidosis

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Children with established type 1 diabetes (T1D) who present to the emergency department (ED) with mild diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) are often hospitalized, although outpatient management may be appropriate. Our aim was to reduce hospitalization rates for children with established T1D presenting to our ED with mild DKA who were considered low risk for progression of illness.

METHODS:

We conducted a quality improvement initiative between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2018 among children and young adults ≤21 years of age with established T1D presenting to our tertiary care ED with low-risk DKA. Children transferred to our institution were excluded. DKA severity was classified as low, medium, or high risk on the basis of laboratory and clinical criteria. Our quality improvement initiative consisted of development and implementation of an evidence-based treatment guideline after review by a multidisciplinary team. Our primary outcome was hospitalization rate, and our balancing measure was 3-day ED revisits. Statistical process control methods were used to evaluate outcome changes.

RESULTS:

We identified 165 patients presenting with low-risk DKA. The baseline preimplementation hospitalization rate was 74% (95% confidence interval 64%–82%), and after implementation, this decreased to 55% (95% confidence interval 42%–67%) (–19%; P = .011). The postimplementation hospitalization rate revealed special cause variation. One patient in the postimplementation period returned to the ED within 3 days but did not have DKA and was not hospitalized.

CONCLUSIONS:

Hospitalization rates for children and young adults presenting to the ED with low-risk DKA can be safely reduced without an increase in ED revisits.

Pediatricians Experiences With and Perceptions of the Vaccines for Children Program

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

The Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) provides vaccines for children who may not otherwise be vaccinated because of financial barriers. Pediatrician participation is crucial to the VFC’s ongoing success. Our objectives were to assess, among a national sample of pediatricians, (1) VFC program participation, (2) perceived burden versus benefit of participation, and (3) knowledge and perception of a time-limited increased payment for VFC vaccine administration under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

METHODS:

An electronic and mail survey was conducted from June 2017 to September 2017.

RESULTS:

Response rate was 79% (372 of 471); 86% of pediatricians reported currently participating in the VFC; among those, 85% reported never having considered stopping, 10% considered it but not seriously, and 5% seriously considered it. Among those who had considered no longer participating (n = 47), the most commonly reported reasons included difficulty meeting VFC record-keeping requirements (74%), concern about action by the VFC for noncompliance (61%), and unpredictable VFC vaccine supplies (59%). Participating pediatricians rated, on a scale from –5 (high burden) to +5 (high benefit), their overall perception of the VFC: 63% reported +4 or +5, 23% reported +1 to +3, 5% reported 0, and 9% reported –1 to –5. Of pediatricians, 39% reported awareness of temporary increased payment for VFC vaccine administration. Among those, 10% reported that their practice increased the proportion of Medicaid and/or VFC-eligible patients served on the basis of this change.

CONCLUSIONS:

For most pediatricians, perceived benefits of VFC participation far outweigh perceived burdens. To ensure the program’s ongoing success, it will be important to monitor factors influencing provider participation.

Factors Associated With Family Experience in Pediatric Inpatient Care

BACKGROUND:

Hospitals are rapidly increasing efforts to improve the pediatric inpatient experience. However, hospitals often do not know what to target for improvement. To determine what matters most to families, we assessed which aspects of experience have the strongest relationships with parents’ willingness to recommend a hospital.

METHODS:

Cross-sectional study of 17 727 surveys completed from November 2012 to January 2014 by parents of children hospitalized at 69 hospitals in 34 states using the Child Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey. Hierarchical logistic regressions predicted the "top box" for willingness to recommend from measures of specific care dimensions (nurse-parent communication, doctor-parent communication, communication about medicines, keeping parents informed about the child’s care, privacy with providers, preparing to leave the hospital, mistakes and concerns, child comfort, cleanliness, and quietness), adjusting for parent-child characteristics. Relative importance was assessed by using partially standardized adjusted odds ratios (aORs).

RESULTS:

Child comfort (aOR 1.50; 95% confidence interval 1.41–1.60) and nurse-parent communication (aOR 1.50; 95% confidence interval 1.42–1.58) showed the strongest relationships with willingness to recommend, followed by preparing to leave the hospital, doctor-parent communication, and keeping parents informed. Privacy and quietness were not significantly associated with willingness to recommend in multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our study uncovered highly valued dimensions that are distinct to pediatric care. Hospitals that care for children should consider using dedicated pediatric instruments to measure and track their performance. Improvement efforts should focus on creating an age-appropriate environment, improving the effectiveness of provider interactions, and engaging parents to share their values and concerns.

The Effects of Nicotine on Development

Recently, there has been a significant increase in the use of noncombustible nicotine–containing products, including electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). Of increasing popularity are e-cigarettes that can deliver high doses of nicotine over short periods of time. These devices have led to a rise in nicotine addiction in adolescent users who were nonsmokers. Use of noncombustible nicotine products by pregnant mothers is also increasing and can expose the developing fetus to nicotine, a known teratogen. In addition, young children are frequently exposed to secondhand and thirdhand nicotine aerosols generated by e-cigarettes, with little understanding of the effects these exposures can have on health. With the advent of these new nicotine-delivery systems, many concerns have arisen regarding the short- and long-term health effects of nicotine on childhood health during all stages of development. Although health studies on nicotine exposure alone are limited, educating policy makers and health care providers on the potential health effects of noncombustible nicotine is needed because public acceptance of these products has become so widespread. Most studies evaluating the effects of nicotine on health have been undertaken in the context of smoke exposure. Nevertheless, in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies strongly indicate that nicotine exposure alone can adversely affect the nervous, respiratory, immune, and cardiovascular systems, particularly when exposure occurs during critical developmental periods. In this review, we have included both preclinical and clinical studies to identify age-related health effects of nicotine exposure alone, examining the mechanisms underlying these effects.

Sleep and Adiposity in Children From 2 to 6 Years of Age

OBJECTIVES:

To compare sleep in young children at different obesity risks, which were based on parental weight, as well as to explore the longitudinal associations of sleep characteristics with adiposity.

METHODS:

In total, 107 children from an obesity prevention project were included, of which 43 had normal-weight parents (low obesity risk) and 64 had overweight and/or obese parents (high obesity risk). Sleep was measured yearly from ages 2 to 6 years by using actigraphy. Five sleep characteristics, that of late sleep, long sleep latency, short sleep duration, low sleep efficiency, and irregular sleep onset, were defined and scored across ages, with a higher score indicating more frequent exposure. The outcome variables, also measured yearly, were BMI z score and waist circumference.

RESULTS:

There was no difference in sleep patterns among children at different risks. Higher short sleep duration score was associated with a greater increase in BMI z score (0.12; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.01 to 0.25) across ages. Independently of sleep duration, higher late sleep score was associated with greater increases in BMI z score (0.16; 95% CI 0.05 to 0.27) and waist circumference (0.60 cm; 95% CI 0.23 to 0.98). Moreover, compared with children at low risk and without habitual late sleep, children at high risk and with habitual late sleep had greater increases in BMI z score (0.93; 95% CI 0.40 to 1.45) and waist circumference (3.45 cm; 95% CI 1.78 to 5.12).

CONCLUSIONS:

More frequent exposures to late sleep were associated with greater increases in adiposity measures from ages 2 to 6 years, particularly in children with obese parents.

Mandatory Vaccination in Europe

BACKGROUND:

Mandatory vaccination has been effective in maintaining high vaccination coverage in countries such as the United States. However, there are no peer-reviewed analyses of the association between mandates and both coverage and subsequent incidence of vaccine-preventable disease in Europe.

METHODS:

Using data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization, we evaluated the relationship between country-level mandatory vaccination policies and (1) measles and pertussis vaccine coverage and (2) the annual incidence of these diseases in 29 European countries. Multivariate negative binomial and linear regression models were used to quantify these associations.

RESULTS:

Mandatory vaccination was associated with a 3.71 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.68 to 5.74) percentage point higher prevalence of measles vaccination and a 2.14 (95% CI: 0.13 to 4.15) percentage point higher prevalence of pertussis vaccination when compared with countries that did not have mandatory vaccination. Mandatory vaccination was only associated with decreased measles incidence for countries without nonmedical exemptions (adjusted incidence rate ratio = 0.14; 95% CI: 0.05 to 0.36). We did not find a significant association between mandatory vaccination and pertussis incidence.

CONCLUSIONS:

Mandatory vaccination and the magnitude of fines were associated with higher vaccination coverage. Moreover, mandatory vaccination was associated with lower measles incidence for countries with mandatory vaccination without nonmedical exemptions. These findings can inform legislative policies aimed at increasing vaccination coverage.

State-of-the-Art Renal Imaging in Children

Imaging modalities for diagnosing kidney and urinary tract disorders in children have developed rapidly over the last decade largely because of advancement of modern technology. General pediatricians and neonatologists are often the front line in detecting renal anomalies. There is a lack of knowledge of the applicability, indications, and nephrotoxic risks of novel renal imaging modalities. Here we describe the clinical impact of congenital anomalies of the kidneys and urinary tract and describe pediatric-specific renal imaging techniques by providing a practical guideline for the diagnosis of kidney and urinary tract disorders.

Reducing Variation in the Management of Apnea of Prematurity in the Intensive Care Nursery

BACKGROUND:

Premature infants have bradycardia and/or desaturation events due to apnea of prematurity that resolve as the infants mature. Despite American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines recommending a standard "event-free" period before discharge, length of observation in our Intensive Care Nursery was variable. By June 2018, for infants born <36 weeks’ gestation in the Intensive Care Nursery, we aimed to standardize time to discharge after the last documented event at 5 days, when the baseline mean was 3.6 days (range 0–6 days).

METHODS:

A quality-improvement team used the Model for Improvement. Plan-do-study-act cycles improved nursing documentation of events and standardized discharge criteria after consensus on operational definitions. The outcome measure was days to discharge after last documented event. Process measures included percentage of events documented completely and correctly in the electronic medical record. Balancing measure was length of stay after 36 weeks’ corrected gestational age. We used statistical process control.

RESULTS:

The baseline event watch ranged from 0 to 6 days. After defining significant events, documentation expectations, and consensus on a 5-day "watch" before discharge, the event watch range narrowed with a mean that shifted from 3.6 to 4.8 days on X-bar S statistical process control chart. Completeness of documentation increased from 38% to 63%, and documentation of significant events increased from 38% to 88%. Length of stay after 36 weeks’ corrected gestational age was unchanged, and nursing satisfaction improved.

CONCLUSIONS:

We found decreasing variation in the management of apnea of prematurity while simultaneously improving staff satisfaction. Next steps include revising electronic medical record flowsheets and spread to network NICUs.

Digital Technology Distraction for Acute Pain in Children: A Meta-analysis

CONTEXT:

Digital distraction is being integrated into pediatric pain care, but its efficacy is currently unknown.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the effect of digital technology distraction on pain and distress in children experiencing acutely painful conditions or procedures.

DATA SOURCES:

Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, PsycINFO, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Xplore, Ei Compendex, Web of Science, and gray literature sources.

STUDY SELECTION:

Quantitative studies of digital technology distraction for acutely painful conditions or procedures in children.

DATA EXTRACTION:

Performed by 1 reviewer with verification. Outcomes were child pain and distress.

RESULTS:

There were 106 studies (n = 7820) that reported on digital technology distractors (eg, virtual reality and video games) used during common procedures (eg, venipuncture, dental, and burn treatments). No studies reported on painful conditions. For painful procedures, digital distraction resulted in a modest but clinically important reduction in self-reported pain (standardized mean difference [SMD] –0.48; 95% confidence interval [CI] –0.66 to –0.29; 46 randomized controlled trials [RCTs]; n = 3200), observer-reported pain (SMD –0.68; 95% CI –0.91 to –0.45; 17 RCTs; n = 1199), behavioral pain (SMD –0.57; 95% CI –0.94 to –0.19; 19 RCTs; n = 1173), self-reported distress (SMD –0.49; 95% CI –0.70 to –0.27; 19 RCTs; n = 1818), observer-reported distress (SMD –0.47; 95% CI –0.77 to –0.17; 10 RCTs; n = 826), and behavioral distress (SMD –0.35; 95% CI –0.59 to –0.12; 17 RCTs; n = 1264) compared with usual care.

LIMITATIONS:

Few studies directly compared different distractors or provided subgroup data to inform applicability.

CONCLUSIONS:

Digital distraction provides modest pain and distress reduction for children undergoing painful procedures; its superiority over nondigital distractors is not established. Context, preferences, and availability should inform the choice of distractor.

Well-Child Care Adherence After Intrauterine Opioid Exposure

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

For children with intrauterine opioid exposure (IOE), well-child care (WCC) provides an important opportunity to address medical, developmental, and psychosocial needs. We evaluated WCC adherence for this population.

METHODS:

In this retrospective cohort study, we used PEDSnet data from a pediatric primary care network spanning 3 states from 2011 to 2016. IOE was ascertained by using physician diagnosis codes. WCC adherence in the first year was defined as a postnatal or 1-month visit and completed 2-, 4-, 6-, 9-, and 12-month visits. WCC adherence in the second year was defined as completed 15- and 18-month visits. Gaps in WCC, defined as ≥2 missed consecutive WCC visits, were also evaluated. We used multivariable regression to test the independent effect of IOE status.

RESULTS:

Among 11 334 children, 236 (2.1%) had a diagnosis of IOE. Children with IOE had a median of 6 WCC visits (interquartile range 5–7), vs 8 (interquartile range 6–8) among children who were not exposed (P < .001). IOE was associated with decreased WCC adherence over the first and second years of life (adjusted relative risk 0.54 [P < .001] and 0.74 [P < .001]). WCC gaps were more likely in this population (adjusted relative risk 1.43; P < .001). There were no significant adjusted differences in nonroutine primary care visits, immunizations by age 2, or lead screening.

CONCLUSIONS:

Children <2 years of age with IOE are less likely to adhere to recommended WCC, despite receiving on-time immunizations and lead screening. Further research should be focused on the role of WCC visits to support the complex needs of this population.

Cost-effectiveness of Imaging Protocols for Suspected Appendicitis

BACKGROUND:

Inaccurate diagnosis of appendicitis leads to increased costs and morbidity. Ultrasound costs less than computed tomography (CT) or MRI but has lower sensitivity and may not visualize the appendix.

METHODS:

We conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis using a decision-analytic model of 10 imaging strategies for suspected appendicitis in a hypothetical cohort of patients: no imaging with discharge or surgery; CT only; MRI only; or staged approach with CT or MRI after 1) negative ultrasound result or ultrasound without appendix visualization, 2) ultrasound without appendix visualization, or 3) ultrasound without appendix visualization but with secondary signs of inflammation. Inputs were derived from published literature and secondary data (quality-of-life and cost data). Sensitivity analyses varied risk of appendicitis and proportion of visualized ultrasound. Outcomes were effectiveness (quality-adjusted life-years [QALYs]), total direct medical costs, and cost-effectiveness (cost per QALY gained).

RESULTS:

The most cost-effective strategy for patients at moderate risk for appendicitis is initial ultrasound, followed by CT if the appendix is not visualized but secondary signs are present (cost of $4815.03; effectiveness of 0.99694 QALYs). Other strategies were well above standard willingness-to-pay thresholds or were more costly and less effective. Cost-effectiveness was sensitive to patients’ risk of appendicitis but not the proportion of visualized appendices.

CONCLUSIONS:

Tailored approaches to imaging based on patients’ risk of appendicitis are the most cost-effective. Imaging is not cost-effective in patients with a probability <16% or >95%. For moderate-risk patients, ultrasound without secondary signs of inflammation is sufficient even without appendix visualization.

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