High Cost and Low Yield: The Diagnostic Evaluation of Rumination Syndrome in Pediatrics

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Abstract

Objective

To document the use of diagnostic testing in adolescents who ultimately were diagnosed with rumination syndrome, a functional gastrointestinal disorder. We examined the diagnostic yield of each test as well as the associated costs, and we determined if any demographic or illness-related variables impacted the magnitude of the work-up.

Study design

A retrospective chart review was conducted for 68 patients with rumination syndrome admitted to our inpatient treatment program. The cost and findings of patients' diagnostic investigations were gathered, as well as demographic and illness-related variables to determine factors that may be related to evaluation size.

Results

The most commonly used tests in the evaluation of rumination syndrome included esophagogastroduodenoscopy, gastric emptying, antroduodenal manometry, upper gastrointestinal series, and abdominal ultrasound scan. Each patient underwent an average of 8.8 tests, with the average cost for each patient's diagnostic work-up being US $19 795. Few tests were found to be beneficial in the diagnosis of rumination syndrome, and few demographic or illness variables were found to be related to the overall extent of the investigation.

Conclusions

Extensive testing for rumination syndrome in adolescents is common in clinical practice, and comes at a high financial cost with low yield, likely delaying diagnosis and treatment. Symptom-based criteria should be used to make the diagnosis of rumination syndrome.

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