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Feature Article

The vomiting child. Considerations and red flag symptoms

Scott Nightingale, ZACHARIAH FULLER

Figures

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© IMGORTHAND/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODELS USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY

Abstract

Vomiting is a common and nonspecific sign of multiple illnesses in infants and children, ranging from benign and self-limiting to life-threatening and requiring immediate management. A careful clinical evaluation, with consideration given to the most serious differential diagnoses, is necessary.

Key Points

  • Causes of vomiting in children vary from the benign and self-limiting to life-threatening.
  • Distinguishing vomiting from regurgitation that is effortless or rumination that is not forceful is important.
  • Consideration of the broad range of diagnostic groups of gastrointestinal/abdominal, neurological/psychological and systemic illnesses that may result in vomiting assists in identifying the principal causes.
  • Extra caution should be taken when assessing children with red flag symptoms and signs.

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© IMGORTHAND/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODELS USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY
© IMGORTHAND/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODELS USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY