Journal List > Korean J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr > v.10(1) > 1110220

Korean J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2007 Mar;10(1):44-50. Korean.
Published online Mar 31, 2007.
Copyright © 2007 The Korean Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
The Accuracy of Barr, Blethyn and Leech Scoring Systems on Plain Abdominal Radiographs in Childhood Constipation
Ji Young Moon and Kyung Rye Moon
Department of Pediatrics, Chosun University College of Medicine, Gwangju, Korea.


The role of plain, abdominal radiography in childhood constipation has not been fully evaluated. The aim of this study was to determine the accuracy and reliability of scoring systems assessing a fecal load on plain, abdominal radiographs in children with functional constipation.


: Plain, abdominal radiographs from 38 constipated children and 39 control children were examined by four independent inspectors, pediatric residents. Four inspectors independently scored the radiographs according to three different scoring systems Barr, Blethyn, and Leech. No clinical information about the patients was available to the inspectors. Each abdominal radiograph was evaluated on two separate occasions, one week apart. Kappa coefficients were calculated as indicators of inter-and intra-inspector variability, coefficients < 0.20, 0.21~0.40, 0.40~0.60, 0.60, 0.61~0.80 and 0.81~1.00 were considered to indicate poor, fair, moderate, good, and very good agreement, respectively.


The Leech score showed the highest reproducibility: the inter-inspector agreement was uniformly very good on two separate occasions (κ values of 0.88, 0.91, 0.92, 0.86 in the first time and 0.81, 0.88, 0.89, 0.84 in the second time). Agreement using the Barr score was good (κ values of 0.66, 0.67, 0.69, 0.66 in the first time and 0.68, 0.65, 0.71, 0.68 in the second time). However, agreement for the Blethyn score was the lowest of the three scoring systems. The Leech scoring system had the highest sensitivity and specificity compared to the Barr scoring system for the diagnosis of functional constipation by plain, abdominal radiographs.


The Leech score appeared to be a more accurate and reliable method because of its high sensitivity and specificity for evaluating the fecal load on plain, abdominal radiographs in children with functional constipation. Therefore, the Leech scoring system was found to be the most useful for assessment for the degree of constipation on plain, abdominal radiographs in children.

Keywords: Constipation; Radiography; Children; Scoring system