Unità medico scientifica

La diarrea è una delle più frequenti cause di morte nei bambini sotto i cinque anni affetti da malnutrizione acuta severa.

Lo studio analizza le differenze tra il monitoraggio delle scariche diarroiche effettuato dalle mamme e quello eseguito da personale sanitario formato attraverso l'osservazione diretta del pannolino sostituito ogni due ore.

BMC Pediatr. 2017 Jun 7;17(1):140.

Stool frequency recording in severe acute malnutrition ('StoolSAM'); an agreement study comparing maternal recall versus direct observation using diapers.

Voskuijl W1,2, Potani I3, Bandsma R4, Baan A5, White S6, Bourdon C4, Kerac M7,8.


BACKGROUND: Approximately 50% of the deaths of children under the age of 5 can be attributed to undernutrition, which also encompasses severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Diarrhoea is strongly associated with these deaths and is commonly diagnosed solely based on stool frequency and consistency obtained through maternal recall. This trial aims to determine whether this approach is equivalent to a 'directly observed method' in which a health care worker directly observed stool frequency using diapers in hospitalised children with complicated SAM.

METHODS: This study was conducted at 'Moyo' Nutritional Rehabilitation Unit, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Malawi. Participants were children aged 5-59 months admitted with SAM. We compared 2 days of stool frequency data obtained with next-day maternal-recall versus a 'gold standard' in which a health care worker observed stool frequency every 2 h using diapers. After study completion, guardians were asked their preferred method and their level of education.

RESULTS: We found poor agreement between maternal recall and the 'gold standard' of directly observed diapers. The sensitivity to detect diarrhoea based on maternal recall was poor, with only 75 and 56% of diarrhoea cases identified on days 1 and 2, respectively. However, the specificity was higher with more than 80% of children correctly classified as not having diarrhoea. On day 1, the mean stool frequency difference between the two methods was -0.17 (SD; 1.68) with limits of agreement (of stool frequency) of -3.55 and 3.20 and, similarly on day 2, the mean difference was -0.2 (SD; 1.59) with limits of agreement of -3.38 and 2.98. These limits extend beyond the pre-specified 'acceptable' limits of agreement (±1.5 stool per day) and indicate that the 2 methods are non-equivalent. The higher the stool frequency, the more discrepant the two methods were. Most primary care givers strongly preferred using diapers.

CONCLUSIONS: This study shows lack of agreement between the assessment of stool frequency in SAM patients using maternal recall and direct observation of diapers. When designing studies, one should consider using diapers to determining diarrhoea incidence/prevalence in SAM patients especially when accuracy is essential.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN11571116 (registered 29/11/2013).

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