Portal:Differential diagnoses

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Differential Diagnoses and Presenting Complaints
DDx Checklists
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The goal of these differential diagnosis checklists is to reduce the most common cause of missing a diagnosis, the failure to consider it in the first place. The diagnoses are listed in approximate order of decreasing prevalence (most common diseases at the top). This ordering is based on limited published data and the authors' experience. Unless otherwise specified, the checklists address complaints by adults rather than children. In the future the lists will indicate "must not miss" and "commonly missed" entries. See literature by John Ely and others for more information[1][2][3]

Presenting Complaints
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Using the presenting complaint as a starting point can be both a useful learning tool and an invaluable reference at the point of care.


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  1. Ely JW, Graber ML, Croskerry P. Checklists to reduce diagnostic errors. Acad Med. 2011;86(3):307-313. doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e31820824cd
  2. Shimizu T, Matsumoto K, Tokuda Y. Effects of the use of differential diagnosis checklist and general de-biasing checklist on diagnostic performance in comparison to intuitive diagnosis. Med Teach. 2013;35(6):e1218-e1229. doi:10.3109/0142159X.2012.742493
  3. Ely JW, Graber ML. Preventing Diagnostic Errors in Primary Care. Am Fam Physician. 2016;94(6):426-432.