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Many a cases of Pain abdomen in children are functional

Many a cases of Pain abdomen in children are functional

Dr. Natoshia R Cunningham and colleagues conducted a study and have found out that Psychological screening for anxiety, disability, and pain can increase psychological referral rates among pediatric patients with abdominal pain, according to a study published in the Journal Pediatrics. This implies that a lot of cases of pain abdomen in the pediatric group also of psychological origin rather than of pathological origin.

Pediatric functional abdominal pain disorders are common, costly, and disabling. Clinical anxiety is highly prevalent and is associated with increased pain and functional disability. Thus, a psychological screening process is recommended but is infrequently used in current practice.

A screening process for patient-reported anxiety (Screen for Child Anxiety and Related Disorders), functional disability (Functional Disability Inventory), and pain levels was implemented in a large gastroenterology division within a major medical center. Quality improvement methods and traditional analytic approaches were used to test the feasibility and outcomes of routine screening in patients ages 8 to 18 with abdominal pain.

Screening rates increased from <1% to >80%. A total of 1291 patients who reported having abdominal pain completed the screening during the first 6 months. Clinically significant anxiety (43.1%), at least moderate disability (45%), and elevated pain (61.5%) were common in children with abdominal pain. The presence of clinically significant anxiety corresponded with higher pain and pain-related disability. Twenty-one percent of youth had clinical elevations in all 3 areas. In such instances, medical providers received an automated prompt to tailor care, including to consider a psychological referral. After the project implementation, psychological referral rates increased from 8.3 per 1000 patients to 15.2 per 1000 patients.

The authors concluded that systematic screening for anxiety, pain, and pain-related disability as a routine part of medical care can be reliably implemented with clinically meaningful results. Future directions include examining the role of anxiety over the long-term and reducing clinician burden.

Source: With inputs from Journal Pediatrics

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