Cadernos de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
LEAL, Luciana Pedrosa and OSORIO, Mônica Maria. Validity and reproductibility of the clinical signs for the diagnosis of anemia in children. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2005, vol.21, n.2, pp. 565-572. ISSN 0102-311X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2005000200023.
This study aimed to assess the validity and reproducibility of clinical signs (palmar and conjunctival pallor) in the diagnosis of anemia in children 6-23 months of age in Northeast Brazil. This was a cross-sectional study with a sample of 421 children in the child care and pediatric outpatient wards at the Mother and Child Care Institute of Pernambuco. Two examiners evaluated clinical signs using the Kappa coefficient, and validation (sensitivity and specificity) was performed using hemoglobin as the standard. Clinical signs demonstrated low reproducibility (kappa 0.24-0.25). The highest sensitivity for diagnosing anemia (Hb < 11g/dl) and moderate/ severe anemia (Hb < 9g/dl), respectively, was provided by combining palmar and conjuntival pallor (39.7% and 53.5%), followed by palmar pallor alone (29.9% and 40.0%). The highest specificity was provided by palmar pallor in the child as compared to the mother (95.5% and 90.1%, Hb < 11g/dl and Hb < 9g/dl, respectively). Sensitivity of clinical signs was better in diagnosing moderate/severe anemia, especially when combining palmar and conjunctival pallor, suggesting that their utilization does not provide a good instrument for diagnosing mild anemia.
Keywords : Diagnosis; Anemia; Child Health; Reproducibility of Results.