The current diagnosis-oriented approach of dizziness does not suit older patients. Often, it is difficult to identify a single underlying cause, and when a diagnosis is made, therapeutic options may be limited. Identification of predictors of dizziness may provide new leads for the management of dizziness in older patients. The aim of the present study was to investigate long-term predictors of regular dizziness in older persons.
Population-based cohort study of 1,379 community-dwelling participants, aged ≥60 years, from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). Regular dizziness was ascertained during face-to-face medical interviews during 7- and 10-year follow-up. We investigated 26 predictors at baseline from six domains: socio-demographic, medical history, medication, psychological, sensory, and balance/gait. We performed multivariate logistic regression analyses with presence of regular dizziness at 7- and 10-year follow-up as dependent variables. We assessed the performance of the models by calculating calibration and discrimination.
Predictors of regular dizziness at 7-year follow-up were living alone, history of dizziness, history of osteo/rheumatoid arthritis, use of nitrates, presence of anxiety or depression, impaired vision, and impaired function of lower extremities. Predictors of regular dizziness at 10-year follow-up were history of dizziness and impaired function of lower extremities. Both models showed good calibration (Hosmer-Lemeshow P value of 0.36 and 0.31, respectively) and acceptable discrimination (adjusted AUC after bootstrapping of 0.77 and 0.71).
Dizziness in older age was predicted by multiple factors. A multifactorial approach, targeting potentially modifiable predictors (e.g., physical exercise for impaired function of lower extremities), may add to the current diagnosis-oriented approach.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2318-14-133) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Older individuals; Dizziness; Predictors; Prospective cohort study
When medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS) become persistent, it may have major implications for the patient, the general practitioner (GP) and for society.
Early identification of patients with MUPS in electronic medical records (EMRs) might contribute to prevention of persistent MUPS by creating awareness among GPs and providing an opportunity to start stepped care management. However, procedures for identification of patients with MUPS in EMRs are not well established yet. In this validation study we explore the test characteristics of an EMR screening method to identify patients with MUPS.
The EMR screening method consists of three steps. First, all patients ≥18 years were included when they had five or more contacts in the last 12 months. Second, patients with known chronic conditions were excluded. Finally, patients were included with a MUPS syndrome or when they had three or more complaints suggestive for MUPS. We compared the results of the EMR screening method with scores on the Patient Health Questionnaire-15 (PHQ-15), which we used as reference test. We calculated test characteristics for various cut-off points.
From the 1223 patients in our dataset who completed the PHQ-15, 609 (49/8%) scored ≥5 on the PHQ-15. The EMR screening method detected 131/1223 (10.7%) as patients with MUPS. Of those, 102 (77.9%) scored ≥5 on the PHQ-15 and 53 (40.5%) scored ≥10. When compared with the PHQ-15 cut-off point ≥10, sensitivity and specificity were 0.30 and 0.93 and positive and negative predictive values were 0.40 and 0.89, respectively.
The EMR screening method to identify patients with MUPS has a high specificity. However, many potential MUPS patients will be missed. Before using this method as a screening instrument for selecting patients who might benefit from structured care, its sensitivity needs to be improved while maintaining its specificity.
This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of systematic assessment of asthma-like symptoms and environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure during regular preventive well-child visits between age 1 and 4 years by well-child professionals.
Sixteen well-child centres in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, were randomised into 8 centres where the brief assessment form regarding asthma-like symptoms and ETS exposure was used and 8 centres that applied usual care. 3596 and 4179 children (born between April 2002 and January 2006) and their parents visited the intervention and control centres, respectively. At child’s age 6 years, physician-diagnosed asthma ever, wheezing, fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), airway resistance (Rint), health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and ETS exposure at home ever were measured. Linear mixed models were applied.
No differences in asthma, wheezing, FeNO, Rint or HRQOL measurements between intervention and control group were found using multilevel regression in an intention-to-treat analysis (p>0.05). Children of whom the parents were interviewed by using the brief assessment form at the intervention well-child centres had a decreased risk on ETS exposure at home ever, compared to children who visited the control well-child centres, in an explorative per-protocol analysis (aOR = 0.71, 95% CI:0.59–0.87).
Systematic assessment and counselling of asthma-like symptoms and ETS exposure in early childhood by well-child care professionals using a brief assessment form was not effective in reducing the prevalence of physician-diagnosed asthma ever and wheezing, and did not improve FeNO, Rint or HRQOL at age 6 years. Our results hold some promise for interviewing parents and using information leaflets at well-child centres to reduce ETS exposure at home in preschool children.
An overweight prevention protocol was used in the ‘Be active, eat right’ study; parents of overweight children (5 years) were offered healthy lifestyle counseling by youth health care professionals. Effects of the protocol on child BMI and waist circumference at age 7 years were evaluated.
A cluster RCT was conducted among nine youth health care centers in the Netherlands. Parents of overweight, not obese, children received lifestyle counseling and motivational interviewing according to the overweight prevention protocol in the intervention condition (n = 349) and usual care in the control condition (n = 288). Measurements were made of child height, weight and waist circumference at baseline and at a two-year follow-up; parents completed questionnaires regarding demographic characteristics. Linear mixed models were applied; interaction terms were explored.
The analyzed population consisted of 38.1% boys; mean age 5.7 [sd: 0.4] years; mean BMI 18.1 [sd: 0.6], the median number of counseling sessions in the intervention condition was 2. The regression model showed no significant difference in BMI increase between the research conditions at follow-up (beta −0.16; 95% CI:−0.60 to 0.27; p = 0.463). There was a significant interaction between baseline BMI and research condition; children with a baseline BMI of 17.25 and 17.50 had a smaller increase in BMI at follow-up when allocated to the intervention condition compared to control condition (estimated adjusted mean difference −0.67 [se: 0.30] and −0.52 [se: 0.36]).
Mildly overweight children (baseline BMI 17.25 and 17.50) in the intervention condition showed a significantly smaller increase in BMI at follow-up compared to the control condition; there was no overall difference between intervention and control condition. Future research may explore and evaluate improvements of the prevention protocol.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN04965410
Almost half of the adult Dutch population is currently overweight and the prevalence of overweight children is rising at alarming rates as well. Obese children consult their general practitioner (GP) more often than normal weight children. The Dutch government has assigned a key role to the GP in the prevention of overweight.
The DOERAK cohort study aims to clarify differences between overweight and non-overweight children that consult the GP; are there differences in number of consultations and type and course of complaints? Is overweight associated with lower quality of life or might this be influenced by the type of complaint? What is the activity level of overweight children compared to non-overweight children? And is (sustained) overweight of children associated with parameters related to the energy balance equation?
A total of 2000 overweight (n = 500) and non-overweight children (n = 1500) aged 2 to 18 years who consult their GP, for any type of complaint in the South-West of the Netherlands are included.
At baseline, height, weight and waist circumference are measured during consultation. The number of GP consultations over the last twelve months and accompanying diagnoses are acquired from the medical file. Complaints, quality of life and parameters related to the energy balance equation are assessed with an online questionnaire children or parents fill out at home. Additionally, children or parents keep a physical activity diary during the baseline week, which is validated in a subsample (n = 100) with an activity monitor. Parents fill out a questionnaire about demographics, their own activity behaviour and perceptions on dietary habits and activity behaviour, health and weight status of their child. The physical and lifestyle behaviour questions are repeated at 6, 12 and 24 months follow-up.
The present study is a prospective observational cohort in a primary care setting.
The DOERAK cohort study is the first prospective study that investigates a large cohort of overweight and non-overweight children in primary care. The total study population is expected to be recruited by 2013, results will be available in 2015.
The objectives of this meta-analysis were to provide an overview of the evidence regarding the effects of interventions, implemented in the school- and general population setting, aiming to prevent excessive sedentary behaviour in children and adolescents on (1) the amount of sedentary behaviour and (2) BMI. Differences in effects on sedentary behaviour and BMI between single health behaviour interventions (sedentary behaviour only) and multiple health behaviour interventions were explored.
A literature search was conducted in PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, PsycINFO and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Thirty-four (R)CT studies evaluating 33 general population interventions, published between 1990 and April 2011, aiming to decrease sedentary behaviour in normal weight children or adolescents (0–18 years) were included. Intervention duration ranged from 7 days to 4 years. Mean change in sedentary behaviour and BMI from baseline to post-intervention was calculated using a random effects model.
Results showed significant decreases for the amount of sedentary behaviour and BMI. For sedentary behaviour the post-intervention mean difference was −17.95 min/day (95%CI:-26.61;–9.28); the change-from-baseline mean difference was −20.44 min/day (95%CI:-30.69;–10.20). For BMI the post-intervention mean difference was −0.25 kg/m² (95%CI:-0.40;–0.09); the change-from-baseline mean difference was −0.14 kg/m² (95%CI:-0.23;–0.05). No differences were found between single and multiple health behaviour interventions.
Interventions in the school- and general population setting aiming to reduce only sedentary behaviour and interventions targeting multiple health behaviours can result in significant decreases in sedentary behaviour. Studies need to increase follow-up time to estimate the sustainability of the intervention effects found.
Sedentary behaviour; Intervention; Overweight prevention; Children; General population
Ear, nose, and throat (ENT) problems are common in childhood and are important reasons to visit the general practitioner.
To examine trends in incidence rates, antibiotic prescribing, and referrals of five common ENT problems in children.
Netherlands Information Network of General Practice (LINH), a nationally representative general practice database.
A total of 50 000 children, aged 0–17 years, registered in Dutch general practice over the period 2002–2008.
Incidence rates were calculated and trends were analysed using linear regression analysis, with incidence rates per age group, proportion treated with antibiotics, and referrals as dependent variables and year of observation as independent variable.
In general, incidence rates of acute otitis media, serous otitis, sinusitis, tonsillitis, and tonsil hypertrophy remained stable over the period 2002–2008. An increasing trend was observed for serous otitis media in children aged 0–4 years (RR = 1.04, p < 0.001). A decreasing trend was observed for sinusitis in children aged 5–11 and for tonsillitis in children aged 11–17 years (RR 0.99, p < 0.001 and RR 0.94, p < 0.001, respectively). Antibiotics were prescribed in 10–60% of the diagnoses. An increasing trend for antibiotic prescription was found for acute otitis media (beta = 0.07, p < 0.001), mainly on account of amoxicillin. Although antibiotic treatment of tonsillitis remained stable, pheneticillin prescriptions showed a downward trend (beta = −0.10, p < 0.001). First-choice antibiotics were prescribed in >80% of cases.
This study showed remarkably stable trends in incidence rates, antibiotic prescribing, and referrals of common ENT problems. The low proportion of antibiotic treatment in ENT problems did not show negative consequences.
Antibiotics; children; ear; nose; and throat diseases; general practice; incidence; prescribing; referrals
Parents of febrile children frequently contact primary care. Longer duration of fever has been related to increased risk for serious bacterial infections (SBI). However, the evidence for this association remains controversial. We assessed the predictive value of duration of fever for SBI.
Studies from MEDLINE, Embase and Cochrane databases (from January 1991 to December 2009) were retrieved. We included studies describing children aged 2 months to 6 years in countries with high Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccination coverage. Duration of fever had to be studied as a predictor for serious bacterial infections.
Seven studies assessed the association between duration of fever and serious bacterial infections; three of these found a relationship.
The predictive value of duration of fever for identifying serious bacterial infections in children remains inconclusive. None of these seven studies was performed in primary care. Studies evaluating the duration of fever and its predictive value in children in primary care are required.
The incidence of hypertrophy and recurrent infections of the tonsils/adenoids appears to be decreasing in the Netherlands. It is uncertain whether this is a ‘real’ decrease in the incidence of disease or an ‘artefact’.
To investigate possible causes of the decreasing incidence of adenotonsillar problems among Dutch children.
Design of study
A nationally representative general practice database.
Incidence rates were calculated over 2002–2005 among children aged 0–14 years. Multilevel Poisson regression analyses were used to examine the following possible causes of changing incidence rates: change in recording (more substitution codes), change in the demand for care (fewer visits to the GP), and change in the supply of care (fewer antibiotic prescriptions and referrals). Indications for a ‘real’ change in the incidence of disease were examined by calculating incidence rates of other clinical manifestations of microbial pathogens that may cause adenotonsillar problems.
The incidence rate decreased significantly (P = 0.017) from 3.0 to 1.3 per 1000 children per year. Correcting for demand for and supply of care led to a smaller decline in yearly incidence, from 2.9 to 1.7 per 1000 children per year (P = 0.105). No clearly similar trend was found in other clinical manifestations of viruses and bacteria that may cause adenotonsillar problems.
Part of the declining trend can be explained by a change in the demand for and supply of care, but no apparent causal clue emerged for the residual declining trend in the incidence of disease.
adenoids; child; family practice; incidence microbiology; tonsillitis
Population-based data on hospital admissions for children aged 0-17 years concerning all respiratory diseases are scarce. This study examined hospital admissions in relation to the preceding consultations in general practice in this age group.
Data on children aged 0-17 years with respiratory diseases included in the Second Dutch National Survey of General Practice (DNSGP-2) were linked to all hospital admissions in the Dutch National Medical Registration. Admission rates for respiratory diseases were calculated. Data were analysed using multivariate logistic regression.
Of all 79,272 children within the DNSGP-2, 1.8% were admitted to hospital for any respiratory diagnosis. The highest admission rates per 1000 children were for chronic disease of tonsils and adenoids (12.9); pneumonia and influenza (0.97); and asthma (0.92). Children aged 0-4 years and boys were admitted more frequently. Of children with asthma, 2.3% were admitted for respiratory diseases. For asthma, admission rates varied by urbanisation level: 0.47/1000 children/year in cities with ≤ 30,000 inhabitants, 1.12 for cities with ≥ 50,000 inhabitants, and 1.73 for the three largest cities (p = 0.002). Multivariate logistic regression showed that within two weeks after a GP consultation, younger age (OR 0.81, 95% CI 0.76-0.88) and more severe respiratory diseases (5.55, 95% CI 2.99-8.11) predicted hospital admission.
Children in the general population with respiratory diseases (especially asthma) had very low hospital admission rates. In urban regions children were more frequently admitted due to respiratory morbidity. For effectiveness studies in a primary care setting, hospital admission rates should not be used as quality end-point.
Prevention of childhood asthma is an important public health objective. This study evaluates the effectiveness of early detection of preschool children with asthma symptoms, followed by a counselling intervention at preventive child health centres. Early detection and counselling is expected to reduce the prevalence of asthma symptoms and improve health-related quality of life at age 6 years.
This cluster randomised controlled trial was embedded within the Rotterdam population-based prospective cohort study Generation R in which 7893 children (born between April 2002 and January 2006) participated in the postnatal phase. Sixteen child health centres are involved, randomised into 8 intervention and 8 control centres. Since June 2005, an early detection tool has been applied at age 14, 24, 36 and 45 months at the intervention centres. Children who met the intervention criteria received counselling intervention (personal advice to parents to prevent smoke exposure of the child, and/or referral to the general practitioner or asthma nurse). The primary outcome was asthma diagnosis at age 6 years. Secondary outcomes included frequency and severity of asthma symptoms, health-related quality of life, fractional exhaled nitric oxide and airway resistance at age 6 years. Analysis was according to the intention-to-treat principle. Data collection will be completed end 2011.
This study among preschool children provides insight into the effectiveness of early detection of asthma symptoms followed by a counselling intervention at preventive child health centres.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN15790308.
Assessment of the
severity of atopic dermatitis (AD) is necessary
to evaluate the disease process. This study
evaluates and validates the TIS in children with
AD presenting in general practice. Independent
investigators determined the severity of AD
using the TIS and the objective SCORAD. The
interobserver agreement for the TIS and SCORAD
was calculated, as was the correlation between
TIS and SCORAD. The mean time to assess the TIS
was less than one minute. A moderate-to-good
agreement between the observers was found for
the TIS (κ = 0.604 or 0.464), or SCORAD (κ = 0.695 or 0.700). There was an excellent correlation between TIS and SCORAD (rs = 0.755–0.839). In conclusion, the TIS is an easy and fast method to
score AD. Because of the moderate to good interobserver agreement
and the high correlation with the SCORAD, we recommend the TIS to
determine the severity of AD in general practice.
Asthma and other chronic airway diseases can be effectively treated by inhaler therapy. Inhaler therapy depends on appropriate use of the inhaler. This study evaluates the knowledge among Dutch children and their parents regarding asthma inhaler therapy and appropriateness of its use.
Five general practices selected all children aged 0 to 12 years on asthma inhalation medication. Children demonstrated inhaler use and were interviewed with their parents.
46 subjects were enrolled; mean age 5.5 years (SD 3.4) years; 26 (57%) were boys. Of the children using one inhaler only, 70% used the inhaler as indicated and of those using more than one inhaler 46%. On average 2.6 mistakes were made during demonstration of the technique, and 2 mistakes were reported in the interview. In total, 87% of the parents decided when and how the inhaler had to be used. Spacer cleaning was performed correctly by 49%; 26% reported a correct way of assessing how many doses were remaining.
Dutch children make essential mistakes related to inhaler use that are easy to avoid. We recommend a better explanation and demonstration of the technique, and recommend involvement of the parents during instruction.
GPs are often consulted for respiratory tract symptoms in children.
To explore characteristics of children, their parents, and their GPs that are correlated with consulting a GP for cough, sore throat, or earache.
Design of study
Second Dutch National Survey of General Practice (DNSGP-2) with a health interview and an additional questionnaire.
Children aged 0–17 years registered with 122 GPs in Dutch general practice.
Characteristics of patients and their GPs were derived from the DNSGP-2 health interview and a questionnaire, respectively. Characteristics of the illness symptoms and GP consultation were acquired by means of an additional questionnaire. Data were analysed using multivariate logistic regression.
Of all children who completed the questionnaire, 550 reported cough, sore throat, or earache in the 2 weeks preceding the interview with 147 of them consulting their GP. Young children more frequently consulted the GP for respiratory symptoms, as did children with fever, longer duration of symptoms, those reporting their health to be ‘poor to good’, and living in an urban area. When parents were worried, and when a child or their parents were cued by someone else, the GP was also consulted more often. GP-related determinants were not associated with GP consultation by children.
This study emphasises the importance of establishing the reasons behind children with respiratory tract symptoms consulting their GP. When GPs are aware of possible determinants of the decision to consult a GP, more appropriate advice and reassurance can be given regarding these respiratory symptoms, which are generally self-limiting.
children; consultation; family practice; respiratory tract infections
Most febrile children contacting a GP cooperative are seen by a GP, although the incidence of serious illness is low. The guidelines for triage might not be suitable in primary care.
To investigate the determinants related to the outcome of triage in febrile children.
Design of study
Dutch GP cooperative.
Receptionists filled out a triage questionnaire when parents called regarding their febrile child (aged between 3 months and 6 years) and estimated the level of concern of the parents. The outcome was either telephone advice, a consultation, or a home visit. Children were divided in subgroups based on age <18 months or ≥18 months, and prognostic models for a consultation were constructed.
Of 422 children, 73% were seen by a GP. Children aged <18 months were more likely to be seen when their parents reported less drinking or shortness of breath. In children aged ≥18 months, a duration of fever of ≥3 days, drowsiness, or a pale, ashen, or mottled skin were predictors of consultation. Children with alarm symptoms were seen according to the guideline. In both subgroups, children without alarm symptoms were more likely to be seen when their parents were concerned.
The available guideline was followed to a large extent at a GP cooperative. Because, surprisingly, most children were reported to have alarm symptoms, the validity of the triage questions asking parents about alarm symptoms is questionable.
after-hours care; child; fever; infant; practice guideline; preschool; triage
In pre-school children a diagnosis of asthma is not easily made and only a minority of wheezing children will develop persistent atopic asthma. According to the general consensus a diagnosis of asthma becomes more certain with increasing age. Therefore the congruence between asthma medication use and doctor-diagnosed asthma is expected to increase with age. The aim of this study is to evaluate the relationship between prescribing of asthma medication and doctor-diagnosed asthma in children age 0–17.
We studied all 74,580 children below 18 years of age, belonging to 95 GP practices within the second Dutch national survey of general practice (DNSGP-2), in which GPs registered all physician-patient contacts during the year 2001. Status on prescribing of asthma medication (at least one prescription for beta2-agonists, inhaled corticosteroids, cromones or montelukast) and doctor-diagnosed asthma (coded according to the International Classification of Primary Care) was determined.
In total 7.5% of children received asthma medication and 4.1% had a diagnosis of asthma. Only 49% of all children receiving asthma medication was diagnosed as an asthmatic. Subgroup analyses on age, gender and therapy groups showed that the Positive Predictive Value (PPV) differs significantly between therapy groups only. The likelihood of having doctor-diagnosed asthma increased when a child received combination therapy of short acting beta2-agonists and inhaled corticosteroids (PPV = 0.64) and with the number of prescriptions (3 prescriptions or more, PPV = 0.66). Both prescribing of asthma medication and doctor-diagnosed asthma declined with age but the congruence between the two measures did not increase with age.
In this study, less than half of all children receiving asthma medication had a registered diagnosis of asthma. Detailed subgroup analyses show that a diagnosis of asthma was present in at most 66%, even in groups of children treated intensively with asthma medication. Although age strongly influences the chance of being treated, remarkably, the congruence between prescribing of asthma medication and doctor-diagnosed asthma does not increase with age.
Optimal clinical management of childhood urinary tract infections (UTI) potentiates long-term positive health effects. Insight into the quality of care in Dutch family practices for UTIs was limited, particularly regarding observation periods of more than a year. Our aim was to describe the clinical management of young children's UTIs in Dutch primary care and to compare this to the national guideline recommendations.
In this cohort study, all 0 to 6-year-old children with a diagnosed UTI in 2001 were identified within the Netherlands Information Network of General Practitioners (LINH), which comprises 120 practices. From the Dutch guideline on urinary tract infections, seven indicators were derived, on prescription, follow-up, and referral.
Of the 284 children with UTI who could be followed for three years, 183 (64%) were registered to have had one cystitis episode, 52 (18%) had two episodes, and 43 (15%) had three or more episodes. Another six children were registered to have had one or two episodes of acute pyelonephritis. Overall, antibiotics were prescribed for 66% of the children having had ≤ 3 cystitis episodes, two-thirds of whom received the antibiotics of first choice. About 30% of all episodes were followed up in general practice. Thirty-eight children were referred (14%), mostly to a paediatrician (76%). Less than one-third of the children who should have been referred was actually referred.
Treatment of childhood UTIs in Dutch family practice should be improved with respect to prescription, follow-up, and referral. Quality improvement should address the low incidence of urinary tract infections in children in family practice.
Sepsis or bacteraemia, however rare, is a significant cause of high mortality and serious complications in children. In previous studies skin disease or skin infections were reported as risk factor. We hypothesize that children with sepsis or bacteraemia more often presented with skin diseases to the general practitioner (GP) than other children. If our hypothesis is true the GP could reduce the risk of sepsis or bacteraemia by managing skin diseases appropriately.
We performed a case-control study using data of children aged 0–17 years of the second Dutch national survey of general practice (2001) and the National Medical Registration of all hospital admissions in the Netherlands. Cases were defined as children who were hospitalized for sepsis or bacteraemia. We selected two control groups by matching each case with six controls. The first control group was randomly selected from the GP patient lists irrespective of hospital admission and GP consultation. The second control group was randomly sampled from those children who were hospitalized for other reasons than sepsis or bacteraemia. We calculated odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CI). A two-sided p-value less than 0.05 was considered significant in all tests.
We found odds ratios for skin related GP consultations of 3.4 (95% CI: [1.1–10.8], p = 0.03) in cases versus GP controls and 1.4 (95% CI: [0.5–3.9], p = 0.44) in cases versus hospital controls. Children younger than three months had an odds ratio (cases/GP controls) of 9.2 (95% CI: [0.81–106.1], p = 0.07) and 4.0 (95% CI: [0.67–23.9], p = 0.12) among cases versus hospital controls. Although cases consulted the GP more often with skin diseases than their controls, the probability of a GP consultation for skin disease was only 5% among cases.
There is evidence that children who were admitted due to sepsis or bacteraemia consulted the GP more often for skin diseases than other children, but the differences are not clinically relevant indicating that there is little opportunity for GPs to reduce the risk of sepsis and/or bacteraemia considerably by managing skin diseases appropriately.
This study aimed to assess the incidence of unintentional injuries presented in general practice, and to identify children at risk from experiencing an unintentional injury. We used the data of all 0–17-year-old children from a representative survey in 96 Dutch general practices in 2001. We computed incidence rates and multilevel multivariate regression analysis in different age strata and identified patient and family characteristics associated with an elevated injury risk. Nine thousand four hundred and eighty-four new injury episodes were identified from 105 353 new health problems presented in general practice, giving an overall incidence rate of 115 per 1000 person years (95% confidence interval [CI] = 113 to 118). Sex and residence in rural areas are strong predictors of injury in all age strata. Also, in children aged 0–4 years, a higher number of siblings is associated with elevated injury risk (≥3 siblings odds ratio [OR] = 1.57, 95% CI = 1.19 to 2.08) and in the 12–17-year-olds, ethnic background and socioeconomic class are associated with experiencing an injury (non-western children OR = 0.67, 95% CI = 0.54 to 0.81; low socioeconomic class OR = 1.39, 95% CI = 1.22 to 1.58). Unintentional injury is a significant health problem in children in general practice, accounting for 9% of all new health problems in children. In all age groups, boys in rural areas are especially at risk to experience an injury.
child; epidemiology; wounds and injuries
We aimed to investigate incidence rates of urinary tract infections in Dutch general practice and their association with gender, season and urbanisation level, and to analyse prescription and referral in case of urinary tract infections.
During one calendar year, 195 general practitioners in 104 practices in the Netherlands registered all their patient contacts. This study was performed by the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL) in 2001. Of 82,053 children aged 0 to 18 years, the following variables were collected: number of episodes per patient, number of contacts per episode, month of the year in which the diagnosis of urinary tract infection was made, age, gender, urbanisation level, drug prescription and referral.
The overall incidence rate was 19 episodes per 1000 person years. The incidence rate in girls was 8 times as high as in boys. The incidence rate in smaller cities and rural areas was 2 times as high as in the three largest cities. Throughout the year, incidence rates varied with a decrease in summertime for children at the age of 0 to 12 years. Of the prescriptions, 66% were in accordance with current guidelines, but only 18% of the children who had an indication were actually referred.
This study shows that incidence rates of urinary tract infections are not only related to gender and season, but also to urbanisation. General practitioners in the Netherlands frequently do not follow the clinical guidelines for urinary tract infections, especially with respect to referral.
The increasing proportion of skin diseases encountered in general practice represents a substantial part of morbidity in children. Only limited information is available about the frequency of specific skin diseases. We aimed to compare incidence rates of skin diseases in children in general practice between 1987 and 2001.
We used data on all children aged 0–17 years derived from two consecutive surveys performed in Dutch general practice in 1987 and 2001. Both surveys concerned a longitudinal registration of GP consultations over 12 months. Each disease episode was coded according to the International Classification of Primary Care. Incidence rates of separate skin diseases were calculated by dividing all new episodes for each distinct ICPC code by the average study population at risk. Data were stratified for socio-demographic characteristics.
The incidence rate of all skin diseases combined in general practice decreased between 1987 and 2001. Among infants the incidence rate increased. Girls presented more skin diseases to the GP. In the southern part of the Netherlands children consulted their GP more often for skin diseases compared to the northern part. Children of non-Western immigrants presented relatively more skin diseases to the GP. In general practice incidence rates of specific skin diseases such as impetigo, dermatophytosis and atopic dermatitis increased in 2001, whereas warts, contact dermatitis and skin injuries decreased.
The overall incidence rate of all skin diseases combined in general practice decreased whereas the incidence rates of bacterial, mycotic and atopic skin diseases increased.
Due to clinical and non-clinical factors, considerable variation exists in the prescribing of antibiotics for respiratory tract infections (RTIs) by GPs based in the Netherlands.
To assess, in patients with RTIs in Dutch general practice: the prescribing rates of antibiotics; the relationship between GP characteristics and antibiotic prescribing; and the type of antibiotics prescribed.
Design of study
Descriptive and prognostic.
Eighty-four GPs in the middle region of the Netherlands.
All patient consultations for RTIs were registered by 84 GPs during 3 weeks in autumn and winter 2001 and 2002. In addition, all GPs completed a questionnaire related to individual and practice characteristics.
The mean proportion of consultations in which GPs prescribed antibiotics was 33% (95% CI = 29 to 35%) of all RTIs. This proportion varied from 21% for patients with upper RTIs or an exacerbation of asthma/COPD, to about 70% when patients had sinusitis-like complaints or pneumonia. Amoxycillin and doxycycline were the most frequently prescribed antibiotics, while 17% of the antibiotics prescribed were macrolides. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that the longer GPs had practised, the more frequently they prescribed antibiotics, especially in combination with relatively little knowledge about RTIs or the less time GPs felt they had available per patient. The final model, with seven factors, explained 29% of the variance of antibiotic prescribing.
The prescribing behaviour of Dutch GPs might be improved with regard to choice of type and indication of antibiotics.
antibiotics; prescribing rates; respiratory tract infections
Background: Although children are frequently referred to specialists, detailed information on referral patterns of them is scarce. Even less information is available on how referral patterns evolve over time.
Aims: To examine current referral patterns for children aged 0–17 years and compare these with referral patterns reported for 1987.
Design of study: Data were analysed from two national cross-sectional surveys, performed in 2001 (91 general practices) and in 1987 (103 general practices).
Setting: Dutch general practice.
Method: All new referrals to specialists were assessed by age, sex, International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC) category, specialty referred to, and specific episodes of disease. Referral measures were quantified as new referrals per 1000 person–years and per 100 new episodes, a measure of likelihood of a young person with a specific diagnosis to be referred. Rates in 2001 were compared with those from 1987.
Results: Referral rates decreased from 138 per 1000 person–years in 1987, to 84 per 1000 person–years in 2001. Age differences in referral rates were similar in both surveys. Compared with 1987, more boys than girls were referred to specialists. The overall likelihood of a condition being referred decreased from 8.0 per 100 episodes in 1987 to 6.5 per 100 episodes in 2001. Reasons for referral had also changed by 2001, particularly for the ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist and ophthalmologist. Moreover, referral rates for acute otitis media, refractive disorders, and vision problems decreased two- to fourfold in 2001.
Conclusion: Presently, Dutch general practitioners tend to manage more health problems themselves and refer less young people to specialists.
referral; children; general practice