Use of Cluster Analysis to Identify Subtypes of Pediatric Functional Nausea

Erin C. Sullivan, John E. Fortunato, Elizabeth Gray, Sally E Tarbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to evaluate whether there are clinical subtypes in children with functional nausea based on comorbidities and responses to the Nausea Profile questionnaire. METHODS: Patients from the Neurointestinal and Motility Program clinical registry at Lurie Children's Hospital were included if they met Rome IV criteria for functional nausea. Patients completed the Nausea Profile, a multidimensional measure of nausea with gastrointestinal, emotional, and somatic subscales. Comorbidities were assessed by chart review and self-report measures. Latent class analysis was used to identify patient groups based on comorbidities. To assess if model-identified groups were predictive of differences in nausea quality, Nausea Profile subscale means were compared between groups and used to predict group membership. Conversely, k-means analysis was used to divide the sample into groups based upon Nausea Profile subscale scores, to determine if identified groups had different comorbidities. RESULTS: Seventy-two patients (n = 53 girls) with a mean age (±SD) 14.5 ± 2.9 were included. Two clinical subtypes were identified based on comorbidities, with responses on the emotional subscale of the Nausea Profile predicting group membership (P < 0.04). When patients were grouped by nausea quality, the resulting clusters differed on psychiatric comorbidities (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support the existence of nausea subtypes within the broad diagnosis of functional nausea. One such subtype is an emotional predominant nausea supporting the notion that anxiety and depression constitute a subset of patients with nausea. Thus, patients may benefit from a treatment approach that integrates both GI assessment and psychiatric support in their care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-769
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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