Leading Welsh paediatricians gather in Swansea to present latest research

Welsh Paediatric Society Clinical Meeting in association with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

New research on symptom checker apps and sport-related head injuries are amongst the subjects being presented at the joint Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and Welsh Paediatric Society (WPS) clinical meeting taking place in Swansea today.

The meeting gives paediatricians the opportunity to present research, share knowledge and ultimately improve clinical practice.

The day-long programme also includes a series of keynote lectures:

  • Dr Elaine Boyle, Associate Professor in Neonatal Medicine at University Hospital of Leicester’s NHS Trust will deliver a Guest Lecture on ‘Born just a few weeks early: does it matter?’
  • Dr Mark Stacey, Consultant Obstetric Anaesthetist and Associate Dean in Cardiff will present on ‘A Bakers’ Dozen Resilience Skills’
  • A Guest Lecture will be delivered by Dr Michael Farquhar, Consultant Paediatrician in children’s sleep medicine at Evelina Children’s Hospital in London

Dr Mair Parry, President of the Welsh Paediatric Society (WPS) and former Officer for Wales for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said:

“The research being presented at this year’s meeting is crucial to improving healthcare outcomes for children and young people, and to supplying new, innovative solutions to paediatricians. It’s fantastic to see such a wide-range of topics being presented, and to have the opportunity to hear from some high-profile guest speakers.”

Research highlights include:

Dr Internet will see you now!
Symptom checker apps are being increasingly advocated as essential tools for self-diagnosis. A study of 30 children compared the accuracy between the differential diagnosis arrived at by a clinician and by the app after the initial presentation. 

  • Only 7% of diagnoses made through the symptom checker app matched the initial differential diagnosis made by the clinician
  • The symptom checker app accurately matched the second differential diagnosis made by the clinician in only 13% of cases
  • The remaining 80% of diagnoses made by the symptom checker app did not match to that of the clinician, and were not even relevant to the clinical system in question

The researchers conclude that symptom checker apps are risk adverse and cannot be used to confidently diagnose children. This use of technology and artificial intelligence in a paediatric setting would require rigorous assessment before clinical usage is advocated.

Sport-related head injury in children
4% of presentations by children to emergency departments are a result of head injuries. Sport is the second largest cause of these injuries (after falls). Researchers reviewed the case notes for children aged between eight and 15-years-old who presented with a head injury at the University Hospital of Wales over a five-month period. The results exclude injuries resulting from falls.

  • 2% (182 children) of all presentations to the emergency department of children aged between 8-15 in the five-month period were for children with a sport-related head injury. This represents one-fifth of those seen with a head injury
  • 92% were males aged between 13 and 15 years
  • 57% of injuries were caused through rugby, and a further 32% through football
  • ¾ were deemed to be a “mild” head injury, with very few requiring hospital admission

The researchers conclude that mild rugby-related head injury, requiring emergency department assessment, is not uncommon, and are now working towards defining the impact that this might have on these rugby-playing children.