Chest radiography in the initial episode of bronchospasm in children: Can clinical variables predict pathologic findings?

C. M. Walsh-Kelly, M. K. Kim, H. M. Hennes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


Study objective: To determine whether historical or clinical variables can accurately discriminate among children, experiencing a first episode of bronchospasm, with chest radiography findings that are normal, consistent with reactive airway disease (RAD), or pathologic. Methods: We assembled a prospective case series of patients in our tertiary, academic, pediatric emergency department. All patients aged newborn to 18 years presenting to the ED with their initial episode of wheezing were enrolled. Results: Six hundred thirty-three patients presented to the ED during the study period. Pathologic radiographic findings were identified in 39 (6.2%). Radiographs revealing normal findings and evidence of RAD were noted in 25.4% and 68%, respectively. No single variable accurately predicted all pathologic radiographs. Discriminant function analysis identified nine variables, which we combined into a model. The model failed to accurately discriminate among patients with radiographs revealing evidence of a pathologic condition, normal chest findings, and RAD. Conclusion: No clinical variables, isolated or combined into a model, accurately identify patients with pathologic radiography findings. Continued use of chest radiography as a diagnostic intervention in the initial episode of childhood bronchospasm is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-395
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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