Letters

Long term follow up of children with recurrent abdominal pain

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7159.682a (Published 05 September 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:682

Definition of recurrent abdominal pain was not applied

  1. Ishaq Abu-Arafeh
  1. Stirling Royal Infirmary, Stirling FK8 2AU
  2. Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, London SE5 8AZ
  3. Department of Paediatrics, Royal Free Hospital, London NW3 2QG
  4. University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX
  5. MRC National Survey of Health and Development, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London Medical School, London, WC1E 6BT

    EDITOR—Large longitudinal studies of children with recurrent abdominal pain, such as the one Hotopf et al conducted, are needed. Current knowledge is limited, and studies on the long term follow up of patients with recurrent abdominal pain should fill the gaps. Hotopf et al have addressed this important subject by trying to answer two questions, as the title of their paper indicates.1 The prevalence of recurrent abdominal pain in their cohort (2%) was lower than that reported in cross sectional studies (8-12%). 2 3 This suggests problems with the collection and reliability of the data.

    Hotopf et al's first question was, “Why do children have chronic abdominal pain?” Their study was not, however, designed to answer this question. They did not have enough information and did …

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