PedsCases: A Learning Module for the Approach to Pediatric Vomiting

Publication ID Published Volume
10194 September 1, 2015 11


The resource file features two podcasts found on PedsCases: Pediatrics for Medical Students that aim to review an approach to pediatric vomiting, as well as supplemental material to enhance learning about the topic. The podcasts are intended for undergraduate medical students in their core pediatrics rotation and present an initial approach to the assessment and management of pediatric vomiting. The content is applicable to learners in the fields of pediatrics, family medicine, radiology, general surgery, and emergency medicine. Other attached resources include Word document copies of the script and supplemental study table from the podcasts. Additionally, a case example is included that expands on the case featured in the podcasts and contains multiple-choice questions such that learners can apply knowledge gained from listening to or reading the script of the podcasts.

The first podcast focuses on pathophysiology, common causes, and differential diagnosis of pediatric vomiting, including those specific to the neonatal period. The second podcast continues with a clinical approach to pediatric vomiting, including history taking, physical examination, investigations, and management. The podcasts provide a useful and practical approach to narrowing the broad differential diagnosis for pediatric vomiting. They also review both gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal causes and identify red flag symptoms and signs that may signify a serious or life-threatening cause. A case example is presented at the start of the first podcast and is further explored and resolved to conclude and reinforce the teaching of the second podcast. Learning is further reinforced by working through the case example and answering its corresponding multiple-choice questions after listening to the two podcasts.

PedsCases has been integrated into the undergraduate pediatric medical education curriculum at the University of Alberta and at other Canadian medical schools. It is one of the main sources recommended to students to cover the core objectives of the clinical pediatric rotation and to assist in preparing for the final examinations. Since the focus of medical education has shifted towards independent learning, PedsCases has become an essential tool.

Since 2008, PedsCases has had over 40,000 visitors from 150 countries with over 450,000 podcast downloads. PedsCases has published 14 previous learning modules in MedEdPORTAL. Further, PedsCases is the number one search result identified by Internet search engines when searching for the term "pediatric cases." PedsCases is posted as a recommended resource at the Pediatric Undergraduate Program Directors of Canada and the Canadian Healthcare Education Commons. Additionally, the deployment of PedsCases has been empirically evaluated. Both cases and podcasts help medical students to achieve their desired learning objectives and improve student-assessed competency while cases improve student knowledge. Moreover, the content found on is aligned with the Canadian National Undergraduate Curriculum in Pediatrics, which has been developed by the Pediatric Undergraduate Program Directors of Canada; thus, it is a key educational tool for pediatric educators and clerkship directors to use to complement the national curriculum and help learners to achieve the outlined competencies.


Boschee E, Lewis M. PedsCases: a learning module for the approach to pediatric vomiting. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2015;11:10194.

Educational Objectives

After completing this resource, learners will be able to:

  1. Create a differential diagnosis for pediatric vomiting.
  2. Highlight the key causes of vomiting specific to the newborn and pediatric population.
  3. Develop a clinical approach to pediatric vomiting through history taking, physical exam, and investigations.


  • Vomiting, Pediatrics, Gastroenterology, PedsCases


  1. About PedsCases: a brief history of PedsCases. PedsCases Web site. Accessed July 10, 2015.

  2. Blake RL, Hosokawa MC, Riley SL. Student performances on Step 1 and Step 2 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination following implementation of a problem-based learning curriculum. Acad Med. 2000;75(1):66-70.

  3. Gill P, Kitney L, Kozan D, Lewis M. Online learning in pediatrics: a student-led web-based learning modality. Clin Teacher. 2010;7:53-57.

  4. Hoffman K, Hosokawa M, Blake R Jr, Headrick L, Johnson G. Problem-based learning outcomes: ten years of experience at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. Acad Med. 2006;81(7):617-625.

  5. Kitney L, Gill P, MacPherson P, North R, Gerdung C, Lewis M. PedsCases for medical students studying paediatrics: a prospective study. University Alberta Health Sci J. 2014;10(1):48-52.

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ISSN 2374-8265