Introduction: Pneumonia is the most common diagnosis made in hospitalised children. The Malaysian Clinical Practice Guidelines on pneumonia and respiratory tract infections provides a comprehensive guidance in the local context. We evaluated the documented assessment and management of children diagnosed with pneumonia admitted to the children’s ward, Hospital Batu Pahat against this guideline.
Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of hospital case notes for children admitted from January to May 2004.
Results: Ninety six case notes were analysed. Most patients (84%) had at least four positive clinical features leading to the diagnosis of pneumonia. 92% met the guideline criteria for admission. Sp02 was performed for 58% on admission, and 58% with reading below 95% received supplemental oxygen. Throughout hospital stay, each patient had an average of four investigations (range: 1 – 12). Among 23 patients who had further investigations, justifications were only recorded in seven patients (30.4%), and changes in management resulted in 23%. The most common antibiotic prescribed was intravenous Penicillin (97 %). In 17 patients who met the guideline classification for severe pneumonia, none received the recommended antibiotic combination. The median time to fever resolution was 22 hours (range 2 – 268), and median hospital stay was 3 days (range 1 – 12).
Conclusions: Although the quality of clinical assessment and antibiotic choices were acceptable, there was a failure to critically evaluate patients according to disease severity and initiate corresponding investigations and managements. Future efforts need to be directed at promoting further guideline adherence and the exercise of critical judgment in patient evaluation.