This study was conducted to determine the usefulness of routine pharyngeal cultures in pediatric sexual assault victims.
A retrospective chart review was conducted to examine incidence data. The study was conducted in a 656-bed tertiary care hospital with 60,000 ED visits and approximately 350 pediatric sexual assault examinations annually. Records of all pediatric sexual assault examinations completed between 12:01 AM January 1, 1994, and 12:01 AM January 1, 1997, were retrospectively reviewed for inclusion. Subjects were included if they were younger than 15 years and had a nonacute examination for a suspected sexual assault. The final sample included 370 females and 81 males (total n=451 children). Oral and anal cultures were obtained on all patients. In addition, female patients had vaginal cultures and male patients had penile cultures performed. Culture specimens were sent for detection of chlamydia and gonococcus organisms.
Of the 451 sets of cultures examined, there were 6 patients with one or more positive culture results. The 6 patients yielded a total of 10 positive culture results: 1 anal only, 1 vaginal only, and 4 both anal and vaginal. This was a positive culture rate of 1.3% overall. The positive culture result rates by site were oral 0%, vaginal 1.6%, anal 1.1%, and penile 0%. The ages of patients with positive culture results ranged from 2 to 13 years; all of those with positive culture results were female.
The incidence of positive oral culture results in this sample was zero. This finding supports a more limited approach to standard sexually transmitted disease screening in pediatric sexual assault victims. The elimination of routine oral cultures in pediatric victims without alleged oral contact decreases the examination time, decreases the number of invasive procedures associated with the examination, and decreases the cost of the examination without negatively affecting patient care.