The BARF scale. You know… for kids!

A new study presents and evaluates a way for nauseated children to indicate their level of medical distress (thanks to investigator Neil Gaiman for bringing it to our attention):

Development and Validation of a Pictorial Nausea Rating Scale for Children,” Amy L. Baxter [pictured below], Mehernoor F. Watcha, William Valentine Baxter, Traci Leong and Matthew M. Wyatt, Pediatrics, 127;2011, e1542. The authors, at Medical College of Georgia, Baylor College of Medicine, OLM Digital Inc. in Tokyo, Emory University, Baylor College of Medicine, and other institutions, report:

“This pictorial (Baxter Retching Faces) scale for measuring nausea severity has convergent and discriminant validity, and detected change after antiemetic treatment. Its use in the clinical and research setting may assist in nausea management in children…. To our knowledge, this is the first scale based in part on patient drawings.

“Additional studies will be required to determine if the stylized emesis anchor will decrease endorsement of the maximum nausea choice by patients with severe nausea but no emesis, based on concrete thinking that ‘If I am not actually vomiting, I cannot choose this face’….

“Future studies need to be performed to determine if there are age, gender, culture, ethnic, or language variations in the validation of the BARF scale.”

4 Responses to “The BARF scale. You know… for kids!”

  1. Dr. Amy Says:

    I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have made the blog, and am particularly charmed by the location of my picture under the cascading vomit anchor. Choice!

    I do hope this scale can further the science of nausea, and would be happy to be funded to use the scale to go test the previously blogged Barf-O-Meter accuracy with colleague investigators in Hawaii. Mere numeric Barf-O-Meter danger levels could perhaps better communicate risk to sailors with graphic representations. Just sayin’.

  2. Rats Says:

    hey dr amy! nice for you to have your photo here and glad for your cheerful comment. we could certainly use your barf scale for our kids at our children’s hospital. do we need special permission to do so? pls email me at [email protected]

  3. Dr. Amy Says:

    Go for it, Rats; there are about 4 hospital-based studies and two pharma studies using it currently. Feel free to use the scale with my blessing. If you need a hi-res version, contact me at [email protected]. The script for administration we made is in the Peds paper in the appendix. Will reiterate this to your email.

  4. Ed Says:

    Lol at the barf scale. Having been an RN for 20 years, I thought the penis measuring device was something else. You have it beat. Keep it up. Ed RN.

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