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Don't use steroids for chest infections, GPs advised


How were these patients diagnosed? It appears from the abstract that diagnosis of those patients included, was made exclusively on symptoms rather than examination or investigation. The sample included patients with cough and at least one LRT symptom. According to the paper 77% had phlegm and 46% had chest pain. Mucus production is common in viral URTIs and MSK chest pain is also common in people with coughs of all causes. So if these were some of the defining criteria used for diagnosing LRTI, I doubt the validity of the diagnoses made in this cohort which may well have been a mixture of people with upper and lower respiratory, bacterial and viral infections. Furthermore, the cohort included patients with "no evidence of pneumonia." I can only assume this means that examination was used to exclude patients with objective chest signs, making it even more likely that those included did not actually have LRTI.

Posted date

24 Aug 2017

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