Reproducibility and Inter-rater Reliability of 2 Paediatric Nutritional Screening Tools

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Abstract

Objectives:

The aim of the present study was to assess reproducibility and inter-rater reliability of 2 nutritional screening tools (NST): Screening Tool for Risk on Nutritional Status and Growth (STRONGkids) and Screening Tool for the Assessment of Malnutrition in Paediatrics (STAMP).

Methods:

Prospective observational multicentre study. Patients ages 1 month or older admitted to paediatric or surgical wards were tested within 24 hours of admission by 2 independent observers: experts specialized in paediatric nutrition (physicians or dieticians) and clinical staff nonexpert in nutrition. Diagnosis on admission, underlying diseases, and length of stay were registered. Statistical analysis: Kappa index (κ) to evaluate agreement between observers.

Results:

A total of 223 patients were included (53.4% boys), with mean age of 5.59 (95% confidence interval 4.94–6.22) years. Experts classified 9.9% of patients at high risk with STRONGkids and 19.7% using STAMP, whereas nonexpert staff assigned 6.7% of patients to the high-risk category with STRONGkids and 21.9% with STAMP. Agreement between expert and nonexpert staff was good: 94.78% for STRONGkids (κ 0.72 [P < 0.001]); 92.55% for STAMP (κ 0.74 [P < 0.001]). The rate of malnutrition was significantly higher among high-risk patients with both NST, independent of examiner experience. After adjusting for age, both STRONGkids and STAMP high-risk scores predicted longer length of stay, whether assessed by experts or nonexperts, although differences were higher with STRONGkids.

Conclusions:

Agreement between experts and nonexpert staff in nutrition was good, producing a similar high-risk patient profile. Our results demonstrate that these NSTs are appropriate for nutritional screening in settings in which users have no previous experience in the field.

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