The role of clinical signs in the diagnosis of papilledema: development of an algorithm
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Purpose The aim of this study was not only to emphasize the role of clinical signs as well as ophthalmologic evaluation for accurate and differential diagnosis of papilledema (PE), but also to present an instructive algorithm that would help to eliminate unnecessary examinations and treatments. Method The files of 43 patients (ages 0-18) diagnosed with PE were retrospectively reviewed. The study included 25 patients from our pediatric neurology outpatient clinic, who were thought to have PE, and 18 patients, who were referred from the external centers to our hospital with a pre-diagnosis of PE. Results Of the 43 patients, 28 had PE, 8 had pseudopapilledema (PPE), and 7 had optic nerve pathologies (ONP). For patients who applied directly to our pediatric neurology unit, a margin of error of 8% was detected based on only a simple ophthalmologic examination and an evaluation of clinical findings. For the patients who were forwarded to our pediatric neurology unit from the external centers without examining any clinical findings and with no details, the margin of error was 72%. Conclusion For patients with suspected PE, advanced ophthalmologic opinion is a necessary requirement before invasive radiological examinations are used. When the ophthalmologic evaluation is properly elaborated, the distinction can be made more clearly by using noninvasive methods. In order to determine the gold standard in terms of the methods used in the evaluation of patients who are not clinically diagnosed, new prospective studies with more patients should be planned.