Kentucky ranks among the highest in the nation for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) prevalence in children aged 4 to 17 years. In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a clinical practice guideline based on the DSM-IV. A guideline revision based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fifth Edition (DSM-5) was released in October 2019. In this study, we assess and describe pediatric providers' ADHD practices using the 2011 guideline and DSM-5 diagnostic criteria.
This was a cross-sectional, survey-based descriptive study. Kentucky Chapter of the AAP (KY AAP) members were anonymously surveyed. The results were examined for trends in routine practice.
Fifty-eight general pediatricians and pediatric residents responded to the survey, yielding a 38% (58/154) response rate. Among respondents performing routine diagnosis of ADHD (N = 51), 73% (37/51) used DSM-5 criteria. Most providers usually or always initially assessed for coexisting behavioral conditions (96%; 49/51), developmental conditions (78%; 39/51), and adverse childhood experiences (73%; 37/51). Among respondents performing routine management of ADHD (N = 55), only 11% (6/55) of respondents indicated that they titrated stimulant medications every 3 to 7 days. After initiation of medication, 78% of providers scheduled a follow-up visit within 2 to 4 weeks. During subsequent visits, only half indicated discussing behavioral interventions, screening for coexisting conditions, and reviewing follow-up teacher-rated ADHD scales.
Pediatricians in the KY AAP adhere to the DSM-5 criteria for diagnosing ADHD. Pediatric providers' practices would benefit from education in improvements in pharmacotherapy titration, surveillance of coexisting conditions associated with ADHD, discussion of psychosocial interventions, and school support strategies.