BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES Most young infants presenting to the emergency department (ED) with a brief resolved unexplained event (BRUE) are hospitalized. We sought to determine the rate of explanatory diagnosis after hospitalization for a BRUE. METHODS This was a multicenter retrospective cohort study of infants hospitalized with a BRUE after an ED visit between October 1, 2015, and September 30, 2018. We included infants without an explanatory diagnosis at admission. We determined the proportion of patients with an explanatory diagnosis at the time of hospital discharge and whether diagnostic testing, consultation, or observed events occurring during hospitalization were associated with identification of an explanatory diagnosis. RESULTS Among 980 infants hospitalized after an ED visit for a BRUE without an explanatory diagnosis at admission, 363 (37.0%) had an explanatory diagnosis identified during hospitalization. In 805 (82.1%) infants, diagnostic testing, specialty consultations, and observed events did not contribute to an explanatory diagnosis, and, in 175 (17.9%) infants, they contributed to the explanatory diagnosis (7.0%, 10.0%, and 7.0%, respectively). A total of 15 infants had a serious diagnosis (4.1% of explanatory diagnoses; 1.5% of all infants hospitalized with a BRUE), the most common being seizure and infantile spasms, occurring in 4 patients. CONCLUSIONS Most infants hospitalized with a BRUE did not receive an explanation during the hospitalization, and a majority of diagnoses were benign or self-limited conditions. More research is needed to identify which infants with a BRUE are most likely to benefit from hospitalization for determining the etiology of the event.
BACKGROUND The accuracy of the risk criteria for brief resolved unexplained events (BRUEs) from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is unknown. We sought to evaluate if AAP risk criteria and event characteristics predict BRUE outcomes. METHODS This retrospective cohort included infants <1 year of age evaluated in the emergency departments (EDs) of 15 pediatric and community hospitals for a BRUE between October 1, 2015, and September 30, 2018. A multivariable regression model was used to evaluate the association of AAP risk factors and event characteristics with risk for event recurrence, revisits, and serious diagnoses explaining the BRUE. RESULTS Of 2036 patients presenting with a BRUE, 87% had at least 1 AAP higher-risk factor. Revisits occurred in 6.9% of ED and 10.7% of hospital discharges. A serious diagnosis was made in 4.0% (82) of cases; 45% (37) of these diagnoses were identified after the index visit. The most common serious diagnoses included seizures (1.1% ) and airway abnormalities (0.64% ). Risk is increased for a serious underlying diagnosis for patients discharged from the ED with a history of a similar event, an event duration >1 minute, an abnormal medical history, and an altered responsiveness (P < .05). AAP risk criteria for all outcomes had a negative predictive value of 90% and a positive predictive value of 23%. CONCLUSIONS AAP BRUE risk criteria are used to accurately identify patients at low risk for event recurrence, readmission, and a serious underlying diagnosis; however, their use results in the inaccurate identification of many patients as higher risk. This is likely because many AAP risk factors, such as age, are not associated with these outcomes.
A 3-month-old boy was admitted from his pediatrician’s office for failure to thrive and vomiting. On admission, he weighed barely more than his birth weight and was cachectic with muscle wasting. His abdomen was grossly distended but soft and nontender. A trial of nasogastric feeds resulted in a worsening of his clinical status. He was transferred to the ICU, and diagnostic imaging was concerning for a distal bowel obstruction. Surgical pathology revealed a surprising diagnosis, which is described in detail in the following case.