Diagnostic Accuracy of Clinical Diagnostic Scoring Systems for Childhood Tuberculosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Article Authors: Michael Kakinda, Ronald Olum, Joseph Baruch Baluku, Felix Bongomin


Background: Diagnosis of childhood tuberculosis (TB) poses several challenges. Therefore, point-based scoring systems and diagnostic algorithms have been developed to improve the diagnostic yields in this population. However, there are no updated systematic reviews of the existing childhood TB scoring systems and algorithms. Hence, we systematically reviewed the diagnostic accuracy of the childhood TB diagnostic scoring systems and algorithms.

Methods: We systematically searched PubMed, CINAHL, Embase, Scopus, and Google Scholar databases for relevant articles published until 30 March 2023. QUADAS-2 was used to assess their study quality. Diagnostic accuracy measures (ie, sensitivity, specificity, diagnostic odds ratio, positive and negative likelihood ratios) were pooled using a random-effects model.

Results: We included 15 eligible studies, with a total of 7327 study participants aged <15 years, with 10 evaluations of childhood TB diagnostic scoring systems and algorithms. Among these algorithms and scoring systems, only 3 were evaluated more than once. These were the Keith Edwards scoring system with 5 studies (sensitivity, 81.9%; specificity, 81.2%), Kenneth Jones criteria with 3 studies (sensitivity, 80.1%; specificity, 45.7%), and the Ministry of Health-Brazil algorithm with 3 studies (sensitivity, 79.9%; specificity, 73.2%).

Conclusions: We recommend using the Keith Edwards scoring system because of its high sensitivity and specificity. Further research is necessary to assess the effectiveness of scoring systems and algorithms in identifying TB in children with HIV and malnutrition.

Bibliographical metadata

Publisher Oxford University Press on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America
Place of Publication America
Volume 11
Issue No. 1
DOI https://doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofad624
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