Psychiatric morbidity in children with medically unexplained chronic pain: diagnosis from the pediatrician's perspective.
SourcePediatrics (Evanston), 117, 3, (2006), pp. 889-897
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectDCN 1: Perception and Action; DCN 3: Neuroinformatics; EBP 1: Determinants in Health and Disease; N4i 1: Pathogenesis and modulation of inflammation; NCEBP 9: Mental health; UMCN 3.2: Cognitive neurosciences
CONTEXT: There is very little general evidence to support the clinical management, particularly diagnosis, of medically unexplained chronic pain (UCP) in children. OBJECTIVE: We sought to assess in children with UCP if clinical characteristics held important by general pediatricians help to accurately diagnose psychiatric morbidity and, alternatively, if the same can be achieved using dedicated questionnaires. METHODS: We used a cross-sectional diagnostic study in a pediatric outpatient clinic of a university hospital. Our participants were 134 patients, aged 8 to 18 years, who were referred for UCP. Performed were (1) diagnostic test reflecting the pediatricians' choice of clinical characteristics and (2) selected questionnaires. Classification was performed according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, by a child psychiatrist using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-Parent Version IV and the Semi-structured Clinical Interview for Children and Adolescents. Results were analyzed by logistic regression. RESULTS: Psychiatric morbidity was present in 80 of the children. A minority had a medical explanation for the pain (15% definite, 17% probable). The clinical diagnostic model included age, social-problem indicators, family structure, parental somatization, and school problems. In the quintile of children in whom this model predicted the highest risk, 93% indeed had psychiatric morbidity at reference testing. In the quintile with the lowest predicted risk, indeed only 27% had psychiatric morbidity. The Dutch Personality Inventory for Youth and the Child Behavior Checklist matched the pediatricians' choice of clinical characteristics. In the quintile of children with the highest predicted risk based on these questionnaires, 89% had psychiatric morbidity. In the quintile with the lowest predicted risk, only 15% had psychiatric morbidity. CONCLUSIONS: A pediatrician-chosen set of clinical characteristics of children with UCP proves useful in diagnosing psychiatric morbidity. Using selected questionnaire screening yields similar results.
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