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Non-specific abdominal pain in childhood
  1. Esther Crawley1,
  2. Huw Jenkins2
  1. 1School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  2. 2Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Esther Crawley, School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Bristol BS82BM, UK; esther.crawley{at}bristol.ac.uk

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Non-specific abdominal pain (NSAP) is a common reason for admission to paediatric medical and surgical units, although the vast majority of cases are managed in primary care or in an outpatient setting. The paper by Thornton et al1 aims to determine the relative risk of subsequent organic and functional gastrointestinal disorders over a 12-year period using linked English Hospital Episodes statistics. During this period, 268 623 children were discharged from hospital with a code for ‘abdominal and pelvic pain’ without further specification. Just under 6% were readmitted over a 10-year period as either inpatients or as day cases and a diagnosis of an organic condition was made. A further 5% were admitted during the same time period and given a label of what the authors describe as ‘a functional disorder’.

The authors have identified some of the strengths and weaknesses of this study including the accuracy of coding and the fact that many children with NSAP are diagnosed and treated …

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