To validate a simplified version of the Walsh clinical prediction rules (CPRs) for the presence of streptococcal pharyngitis in an inner-city, ethnically diverse population.
Patients and methods
This prospective study conducted in New York City, NY, from January 1, 1997, to May 31, 1997, consisted of 171 consecutive adult walk-in patients who presented with symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection and/or sore throat. The patients were assessed by using 5 clinical factors: cough, exposure to known streptococcal contact, temperature, tonsillar-pharyngeal exudates, and cervical lymphadenopathy. Throat cultures for group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus were obtained from all patients. Clinicians assessing the patients were unaware of throat culture results, and those processing the throat cultures were blinded to the clinical predictors.
The prevalence of streptococcal pharyngitis was 24% (95% confidence interval, 18%-30%). The simplified version of the Walsh CPR for streptococcal pharyngitis predicted accurately the probability of a positive culture in our diverse population (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.71). The simplified CPR also showed clinically useful likelihood ratios and posterior probabilities.
A simplified version of the Walsh CPR is accurate for diagnosing streptococcal pharyngitis in an inner-city population. This finding should provide clinicians more confidence in applying the CPR in similar clinical settings.