PEDIATRICS recent issues

Hepatitis C Testing Among Perinatally Exposed Infants

BACKGROUND:

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevalence doubled among pregnant women from 2009 to 2014, reaching 3.4 per 1000 births nationwide. Infants exposed to HCV may acquire HCV by vertical transmission. National guidelines recommend that infants exposed to HCV be tested; however, it is unclear if these recommendations are being followed. Our objectives were to determine if infants exposed to HCV were tested and to determine hospital- and patient-level factors associated with differences in testing.

METHODS:

In this retrospective cohort study of infants exposed to HCV who were enrolled in the Tennessee Medicaid program, we used vital statistics–linked administrative data for infants born between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2014. Infants were followed until 2 years old. Multilevel logistic regression was used to assess the association of HCV testing and hospital- and patient-level characteristics.

RESULTS:

Only 23% of 4072 infants exposed to HCV were tested. Infants whose mothers were white versus African American (96.6% vs 3.1%; P <.001), used tobacco (78% vs 70%; P <.001), and had HIV (1.3% vs 0.4%; P = .002) were more likely to be tested. Infants exposed to HCV who had a higher median of well-child visits (7 vs 6; P <.001) were more likely to be tested. After accounting for maternal and infant characteristics and health care use patterns, African American infants were less likely to undergo general testing (adjusted odds ratio 0.32; 95% confidence interval, 0.13–0.78).

CONCLUSIONS:

Testing occurred in <1 in 4 infants exposed to HCV and less frequently among African American infants. Public health systems need to be bolstered to ensure that infants exposed to HCV are tested for seroconversion.

Trends in Chest Radiographs for Pneumonia in Emergency Departments

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

National guidelines recommend against routine use of chest radiography (CXR) for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) diagnosis in the pediatric emergency department (ED). Given that CXR is often used to exclude the diagnosis of CAP, a reduction in CXR use may result in overdiagnosis of CAP. We sought to evaluate trends in CXR use and assess the association between CXR performance and CAP diagnosis among children discharged from pediatric EDs.

METHODS:

Children 3 months to 18 years of age discharged from 30 US EDs with (1) CAP or (2) fever or respiratory illness between 2008 and 2018 were included. Temporal trends in CXR use and rates of CAP diagnoses among patients with fever or respiratory illness were assessed. Correlation between hospital-level CXR use and CAP diagnosis rates were evaluated by using Spearman’s correlation weighted by hospital volume.

RESULTS:

CXR usage decreased from 86.6% to 80.4% (P < .001) for patients with CAP and from 30.4% to 18.6% (P < .001) for children with fever or respiratory illness over the 10-year study period. CAP diagnosis rates also declined from 7.8% to 5.9% (P < .001). Hospital-level CXR use was correlated with pneumonia diagnosis rates (correlation coefficient 0.58; P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Over the past decade, there has been a decline in CXR use in the ED among children with pneumonia and respiratory illnesses, with a decrease in pneumonia diagnoses over the same time period. Future studies are needed to assess the role of CXR in the evaluation of children with possible pneumonia in the ED setting.

Trends in Smoking Behaviors Among US Adolescent Cigarette Smokers

INTRODUCTION:

Identifying trends in smoking behaviors among youth cigarette smokers could inform youth policy and interventions.

METHODS:

Using 2011–2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey data, logistic/linear regressions were used to analyze trends in smoking frequency, intensity, age of first cigarette use, and electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use frequency among current smokers. Stratified analyses were conducted among male, female, middle school, and high school students and race and ethnicity subgroups separately.

RESULTS:

From 2011 to 2018, there was a decrease in smoking ≥10 days (50.0% to 38.3%), ≥20 days (37.2% to 26.3%), and 30 days (26.6% to 18.2%) among current smokers. Smoking prevalence decreased among male, female, high school, non-Hispanic white, and non-Hispanic other students. Overall, light smoking (≤5 cigarettes per day [CPDs]) increased (76.6% to 82.7%), and moderate smoking (6–10 CPDs) decreased (10.7% to 8.3%). Trends in light, moderate, and heavy smoking varied by demographic groups. Age at first cigarette use increased among female (12.28 to 13.29), high school (12.91 to 13.18), and non-Hispanic other students (11.64 to 12.83) and decreased among male students (12.90 to 12.57). From 2014 to 2018, there was an increase in e-cigarette use frequency for ≥10 days (20.8% to 40.9%), ≥20 days (13.5% to 31.7%), and all 30 days (9.3% to 22%).

CONCLUSIONS:

From 2011 to 2018, current youth cigarette smokers smoked fewer days and fewer CPDs, and age of first cigarette use increased. However, over time, male youth smoked more heavily and started smoking earlier. E-cigarette use increased from 2014 to 2018. Differences by demographic characteristics can inform future research and interventions.

Physical Activity Assessment and Counseling in Pediatric Clinical Settings

Physical activity plays an important role in children’s cardiovascular health, musculoskeletal health, mental and behavioral health, and physical, social, and cognitive development. Despite the importance in children’s lives, pediatricians are unfamiliar with assessment and guidance regarding physical activity in children. With the release of the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines by the US Department of Health and Human Services, pediatricians play a critical role in encouraging physical activity in children through assessing physical activity and physical literacy; providing guidance toward meeting recommendations by children and their families; advocating for opportunities for physical activity for all children in schools, communities, and hospitals; setting an example and remaining physically active personally; advocating for the use of assessment tools and insurance coverage of physical activity and physical literacy screening; and incorporating physical activity assessment and prescription in medical school curricula.

Fertility Preservation for Pediatric and Adolescent Patients With Cancer: Medical and Ethical Considerations

Many cancers presenting in children and adolescents are curable with surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiotherapy. Potential adverse consequences of treatment include sterility, infertility, or subfertility as a result of gonad removal, damage to germ cells as a result of adjuvant therapy, or damage to the pituitary and hypothalamus or uterus as a result of irradiation. In recent years, treatment of solid tumors and hematologic malignancies has been modified in an attempt to reduce damage to the gonadal axis. Simultaneously, advances in assisted reproductive technology have led to new possibilities for the prevention and treatment of infertility. This clinical report reviews the medical aspects and ethical considerations that arise when considering fertility preservation in pediatric and adolescent patients with cancer.

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