We conducted a prospective analysis to independently observe the initial opinion of: (1) consulting pediatric residents (postgraduate year 2 [PGY-2]), (2) corresponding consulting attending physicians (general pediatric or pediatric emergency medicine), and (3) consulting otolaryngology PGY-2 residents when assessing patients for “noisy breathing.” Each was asked to define the type of noisy breathing present and to formulate a diagnosis based on a limited set of choices. The final diagnosis was determined by a single attending pediatric otolaryngologist (S.E.S.) at the completion of the diagnostic workup. The accuracy for characterization of breath sounds for the pediatric residents, attending pediatricians, and otolaryngology residents were 26.1%, 23.5%, and 98.6%, respectively. The positive predictive values for the determination of diagnosis were 71.6%, 69.4%, and 76.6%, respectively. These findings indicate that pediatric residents and attending pediatricians may be deficient in their ability to characterize the breath sounds commonly seen in patients with noisy breathing. Further education of pediatricians may lead to a more accurate diagnostic evaluation of a child with noisy breathing.
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