The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recently published its new guidelines for the treatment of pediatric tonsillopharyngitis; a diagnostic test for the detection of streptococci is recommended, followed by a treatment with penicillins (10 days) or cephalosporins (5 days) in case of positivity, and by no treatment otherwise. The success of a guideline, in general, depends on its diffusion in practice and on its adaptability to different local settings. The aim of the present study (FAST) was the evaluation of the clinical and economical impact of the application of the AAP guidelines in the Italian reality. The study was conducted with the cooperation of 600 pediatricians, uniformly distributed on the Italian territory, and involved 3072 patients. The pediatricians were left free to decide whether to follow the guidelines or not. The results of the analysis indicate that only some 20% of the pediatricians adhered to the suggested protocol; the total cost (calculated in the perspective of the National Health System, with a time horizon of about 3 months) per patient, nonetheless, resulted inferior in the group treated according to the proposed protocol (50,45 • vs. 53,30 •). Furthermore, a lower incidence of complications occurred in these patients. Among the “off-protocol” behaviors, two showed particularly evident misuse of health resources: inappropriate treatment after test positivity (59,15 •/patient), and treatment after test negativity (14% of the total population). Another interesting, although not surprising, result of this study was the evidence that penicillins are as effective as cephalosporins in the short-term, but significantly inferior in terms of complications, positivity for streptococci at the control test, and complications detected at follow-up
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