Impact of Chest Radiography for Children with Lower Respiratory Tract Infection: A Propensity Score ApproachReport as inadecuate

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Management of acute respiratory tract infection varies substantially despite this being a condition frequently encountered in pediatric emergency departments. Previous studies have suggested that the use of antibiotics was higher when chest radiography was performed. However none of these analyses had considered the inherent indication bias of observational studies.


The aim of this work was to assess the relationship between performing chest radiography and prescribing antibiotics using a propensity score analysis to address the indication bias due to non-random radiography assignment.


We conducted a prospective study of 697 children younger than 2 years of age who presented during the winter months of 2006–2007 for suspicion of respiratory tract infection at the Pediatric Emergency Department of an urban general hospital in France Paris suburb. We first determined the individual propensity score probability of having a chest radiography according to baseline characteristics. Then we assessed the relation between radiography and antibiotic prescription using two methods: adjustment and matching on the propensity score.


We found that performing a chest radiography lead to more frequent antibiotic prescription that may be expressed as OR = 2.3, CI 1.3–4.1, or as an increased use of antibiotics of 18.6% 0.08–0.29 in the group undergoing chest radiography.


Chest radiography has a significant impact on the management of infants admitted for suspicion of respiratory tract infection in a pediatric emergency department and may lead to unnecessary administration of antibiotics.

Author: Emmanuelle Ecochard-Dugelay, Muriel Beliah, Caroline Boisson, Francis Perreaux, Jocelyne de Laveaucoupet, Philippe Labrune, Ralph



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