Purpose: An increasing number of parents and practitioners use the Internet for health related purposes, and an increasing number of models are available on the Internet for predicting spontaneous resolution rates for children with vesicoureteral reflux. We sought to determine whether currently available Internet based calculators for vesicoureteral reflux resolution produce systematically different results. Materials and Methods: Following a systematic Internet search we identified 3 Internet based calculators of spontaneous resolution rates for children with vesicoureteral reflux, of which 2 were academic affiliated and 1 was industry affiliated. We generated a random cohort of 100 hypothetical patients with a wide range of clinical characteristics and entered the data on each patient into each calculator. We then compared the results from the calculators in terms of mean predicted resolution probability and number of cases deemed likely to resolve at various cutoff probabilities. Results: Mean predicted resolution probabilities were 41% and 36% (range 31% to 41%) for the 2 academic affiliated calculators and 33% for the industry affiliated calculator (p = 0.02). For some patients the calculators produced markedly different probabilities of spontaneous resolution, in some instances ranging from 24% to 89% for the same patient. At thresholds greater than 5%, 10% and 25% probability of spontaneous resolution the calculators differed significantly regarding whether cases would resolve (all p <0.0001). Conclusions: Predicted probabilities of spontaneous resolution of vesicoureteral reflux differ significantly among Internet based calculators. For certain patients, particularly those with a lower probability of spontaneous resolution, these differences can significantly influence clinical decision making.
- vesico-ureteral reflux
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