Acta Paediatr 2018 Feb 27. Epub 2018 Feb 27.
Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
Aim: This study aimed to validate the Rome III criteria and alarm symptoms with regard to their ability to discriminate between organic and functional diagnoses in children with gastrointestinal complaints.
Methods: We recruited 258 children aged four years to 17 years who consulted a paediatrician in secondary or tertiary care in Stockholm from January 2013 to May 2014 due to gastrointestinal complaints. A symptom questionnaire based on the official Questionnaire on Pediatric Gastrointestinal Symptoms Rome III, including questions on alarm symptoms, was used. A diagnostic review of their medical records was also carried out.
Results: The reference diagnoses were organic (16%), pain-predominant functional gastrointestinal disorders (54%) and other functional diseases (30%). When the reported symptoms that fulfilled the Rome III criteria for pain-predominant functional gastrointestinal disorders were combined with an absence of alarm symptoms, they had a high specificity (0.90) for a functional diagnosis, but a low sensitivity (0.15). Alarm symptoms were equally common in patients with organic (83%) and functional diseases (80%, p = 0.66).
Conclusions: Combining the Rome III criteria and an absence of alarm symptoms from patient questionnaires had high specificity but low sensitivity when diagnosing pain-predominant functional gastrointestinal disorders in children seeking medical care for gastrointestinal complaints.