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Parents' interpretations of children's respiratory symptoms on video
  1. R S Cane,
  2. S A McKenzie
  1. Queen Elizabeth Children's Services, 2nd Floor, Fielden House, Stepney Way, Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, London E1 1BB, UK
  1. Dr McKenziemckenzie{at}


AIMS To investigate how parents report children's respiratory sounds on video compared to a clinical “gold standard”.

METHODS Five clinicians agreed on 10 video clips of children with audible breathing. These responses were the “gold standard”. The clips were shown to parents of children: (a) with asthma/wheeze; (b) with other respiratory complaints; (c) without respiratory complaints. Parents were asked what they called the sounds, where they originated, and whether their own child made similar sounds.

RESULTS A total of 190 parents took part. The “correct” labelling of wheeze was 59% (95% confidence interval 52 to 66%) and 47% (95% confidence interval 40 to 54%) for other sounds (stridor, snoring, stertor). Parents were better at locating both sounds than labelling. There were no differences between subject groups. There were more false positive responses to labelling and locating other sounds than for wheeze (27%v 8% and 33% v10%).

CONCLUSION Parents locate sounds better than describing them. At least 30% of all parents use other words for wheeze and 30% labelled other sounds as “wheeze”. This could have important clinical implications.

  • parents' reports
  • wheeze
  • video

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