Clinicians' diagnostic practice of dengue infections.J Clin Virol. 2007 Nov; 40(3):202-6.JC
Difficulties in the classification of dengue infection have been documented. Such difficulties could be due to the low awareness of the World Health Organization diagnostic guidelines among clinicians.
To study the diagnostic practices of clinicians in classifying patients as dengue fever (DF) or dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF)/dengue shock syndrome (DSS) at the time of discharge during an outbreak.
A prospective descriptive study of clinical features and disease classification in adult and pediatric dengue patients in the University of Malaya Medical Centre.
Five hundred and twenty adult and 191 pediatric patients were enrolled. Thrombocytopenia and evidence of plasma leakage were present in 8% of adult and 19% of pediatric patients. Of these, 93% and 49%, respectively, were given the discharge diagnoses of DF instead of DHF/DSS. Hemoconcentration, serous effusion and thrombocytopenia were not recognized in clinicians' discharge diagnosis of DHF/DSS for adult patients. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve suggested a lack of consistency in the use of WHO guidelines in establishing DHF/DSS in adult patients, while implying otherwise for pediatric patients.
DHF/DSS is an under-recognized condition by clinicians managing these patients. This can affect the case fatality rate of DHF/DSS and the economic burden of the disease. The lack of awareness in disease manifestations especially plasma leakage, can lead to delayed recognition of DHF/DSS.