Standardized diagnosis of pneumonia in developing countries

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1992 Feb;11(2):77-81. doi: 10.1097/00006454-199202000-00004.


The World Health Organization recommends the use of raised respiratory rate and chest wall indrawing to enable health workers in developing countries to diagnose pneumonia. We evaluated the current World Health Organization guidelines for management of the child with cough or difficult breathing in Manila, Philippines and Mbabane, Swaziland using an identical protocol in both countries. Raised respiratory rate was defined as greater than or equal to 50/minute for children ages 2 to 12 months and greater than or equal to 40/minute for children 12 months to 5 years. Chest wall indrawing was defined as inward movement of the bony structures of the lower chest wall with inspiration. In the Philippines raised respiratory rate or chest wall indrawing, when applied by a pediatrician, was found to have a sensitivity of 0.81 and specificity of 0.77 for predicting pneumonia as determined by a pediatrician with the aid of a chest roentgenogram. In Swaziland the sensitivity was 0.77 and the specificity was 0.80. When applied by health workers the sensitivity was similar but the specificity was lower. The current World Health Organization ARI case management guidelines predicted pneumonia with similar sensitivity and specificity in two very different developing countries, the Philippines and Swaziland.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Developing Countries*
  • Eswatini
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Philippines
  • Pneumonia / diagnosis*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Respiratory Function Tests / standards*