Streptococcal diagnostic testing and antibiotics prescribed for pediatric tonsillopharyngitis


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Abstract

BackgroundThis study examined a 1-year cross-sectional sample of Kentucky Medicaid claims for the use of streptococcal diagnostic tests for pediatric tonsillopharyngitis and the empiric use of antibiotics.MethodsSubjects were individuals older than 3 and younger than 18 years old seen in an ambulatory setting for tonsillopharyngitis; 3478 individuals accounted for the 5067 separate outpatient and emergency room encounters for pediatric tonsillopharyngitis; 849 encounters coded as streptococcal sore throat were also examined.ResultsDiagnostic tests for group A streptococcal tonsillopharyngitis were performed in only 22% (n = 1130) of the tonsillopharyngitis encounters and 36% (n = 306) of the streptococcal sore throat encounters. Urban physicians were more likely than rural physicians to use a diagnostic test (P = 0.0001). Emergency room encounters and outpatient encounters were not significantly different in the likelihood of having a diagnostic test (P = 0.16). In encounters for tonsillopharyngitis antibiotics were prescribed in 72% of the total encounters and in 73% of the encounters without a diagnostic streptococcal test. In encounters for streptococcal sore throat, antibiotics were prescribed for 68% of the total encounters and 69% of the encounters without a diagnostic streptococcal test.ConclusionsCurrent practices in the Kentucky Medicaid program do not follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for streptococcal tonsillopharyngitis.

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