Perception of pediatric neurology among non-neurologists.

Journal of child neurology

PubMedID: 15032375

Jan MM. Perception of pediatric neurology among non-neurologists. J Child Neurol. 2004;19(1):1-5.
Pediatric neurology is considered a relatively new and evolving subspecialty. In Saudi Arabia, neurologic disorders in children are common, and the demand for trained pediatric neurologists is strong. The aim was to study the perception of the pediatric neurology specialty among practicing generalists and their referral practices. Attendees of a symposium on pediatric epilepsy comprehensive review for the generalist were included. A structured 25-item questionnaire was designed to examine their demographics, training, practice, and referral patterns. One hundred nineteen participants attended the symposium, and 90 (76%) questionnaires were returned. Attendees' ages were 22 to 70 years (mean 32 years), with 65.5% female physicians. There were 32% consultants, 51% trainees, and 17% students. Most physicians (67%) were practicing general pediatrics. Only 36% received a structured pediatric neurology rotation during training. Children with neurologic complaints constituted 28.5% of those seen in their practice, and they referred 32.5% of them to pediatric neurology. Only 32% were moderately or highly confident in making the diagnosis or providing the appropriate treatment. Those who received a structured pediatric neurology rotation felt more comfortable in their management (P = .03). Many physicians (38.5%) had no direct access to a pediatric neurologist for referrals. To conclude, pediatric neurologic disorders are common in daily practice. Most generalists did not receive a structured neurology rotation during their training and were not highly confident in diagnosing and treating these children. Given the limited number of pediatric neurologists, I highly recommend that generalists receive appropriate neurologic training.