Characteristics of Pediatric Patients Seen in Medical School–Based Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine Clinics

Gregg Lund, DO, MS, and Jane E. Carreiro, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: October 13, 2009

Accepted: March 26, 2010

Published: July 1, 2010

J Osteopath Med; 110(7): 376-380

Context: Manual medicine—specifically osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT)—is commonly used in treating patients aged 18 years or younger. However, no published reports have described characteristics of this patient population or the conditions for which OMT is used with these patients. To better counsel parents, train physicians and other healthcare providers, and prioritize research, an improved understanding of the use of OMT in children is needed.

Objectives: To characterize pediatric patients and their conditions as seen in a medical school–based osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic.

Methods: The study design was a retrospective analysis of administrative data on the use of OMT. The setting was faculty osteopathic manipulative medicine specialty clinics associated with the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. Data were analyzed from patients seen in the clinics from January 1, 2007, through December 31, 2007, if they were younger than 19 years at their first visit during that period. Factors included in the data analysis were patient age at first visit, age at time of visit, number of visits during the study period, types of clinical diagnoses, and visits with nonmusculoskeletal diagnoses.

Results: A total of 407 patients generated 1500 clinic visits. Data showed a mean of 3.7 visits per patient (25th-75th percentiles = 2-5 visits) during the 1-year study period. The mean age at the first clinic visit was 7 years, 3 months, with the 25th-to-75th percentile being 1 year, 9 months, to 12 years, 3 months. Clinic visits by age group (ie, age at time of visit) as percentages of total visits were as follows: 0 to 11 months, 13.7%; 1 to 4 years, 33.3%; 5 to 12 years, 28.9%, older than 12 years, 24.2%. Diagnoses provided in visits covered a wide variety of common pediatric conditions. For the entire study population, 43.5% of visits included nonmusculoskeletal diagnoses. The percentages of visits with nonmusculoskeletal diagnoses for each age group were as follows: 0 to 11 months, 33.7%; 1 to 4 years, 64.0%; 5 to 12 years, 48.8%; older than 12 years, 17.7%.

Conclusions: Pediatric patients seen in the faculty osteopathic manipulative medicine specialty clinic included the entire pediatric age range and a wide range of common pediatric conditions. A substantial number of visits involved treatment for nonmusculoskeletal conditions. Further investigation is needed to determine if the patient sample of the present study is representative of other clinical settings or geographic regions.

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