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Improving the evidence for identifying children with serious illnesses in primary care


As well as our work on vital signs, we are involved in a number of other initiatives to improve recognition of serious infection in children in primary care.

  • ERNIE (European Recognition of serious iNfection collaboration). This group is co-ordinated by Matthew Thompson, and includes members from the Universities of Leuven (Belgium), Masstricht, and Rotterdam (NL), University College London, Northampton. The ERNIE group has published key research using data from primary care and emergency departments across Europe and is now investigating more effective ways to use vital signs and other clinical features to recognise serious illness earlier, in children visiting primary care and emergency departments.

New point of care testing for serious infection

  • Capillary Refill Time. GPs often use a test called capillary refill time when examining children in primary care, to help to determine whether the child has blood flow (perfusion) which is too low, indicating possible shock. There is no standardized way of carrying out this test. We are carrying out a systematic review to determine the best way to carry out, and interpret the results of, this test in children.

For more information contact Susannah Fleming.

  • C-Reactive Protein. Testing for levels of C-reactive protein in the blood helps GPs to assess the level of inflammation in patients, and to identify serious infection. These tests are not used routinely in GP settings. We will carry out research to assess the impact of using these tests on children attending primary care.

For more information contact Ann Van den Bruel