PEDIATRICS recent issues

Cost-effectiveness of Palivizumab for Respiratory Syncytial Virus: A Systematic Review


Palivizumab prophylaxis is used as passive immunization for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). However, because of its high cost, the value of this intervention is unclear.


To systematically review the cost-effectiveness of palivizumab prophylaxis compared with no prophylaxis in infants <24 months of age.


Medline, Embase, and Cochrane Library up to August 2018.


Two reviewers independently screened results to include economic evaluations conducted between 2000 and 2018 from Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.


Two reviewers independently extracted outcomes. Quality appraisal was completed by using the Joanna Briggs Institute checklist. Costs were adjusted to 2017 US dollars.


We identified 28 economic evaluations (20 cost-utility analyses and 8 cost-effectiveness analyses); most were from the United States (n = 6) and Canada (n = 5). Study quality was high; 23 studies met >80% of the Joanna Briggs Institute criteria. Palivizumab prophylaxis ranged from a dominant strategy to having an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $2 526 203 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) depending on study perspective and targeted population. From the payer perspective, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for preterm infants (29–35 weeks’ gestational age) was between $5188 and $791 265 per QALY, with 90% of estimates <$50 000 per QALY. Influential parameters were RSV hospitalization reduction rates, palivizumab cost, and discount rate.


Model design heterogeneity, model parameters, and study settings were barriers to definitive conclusions on palivizumab’s economic value.


Palivizumab as RSV prophylaxis was considered cost-effective in prematurely born infants, infants with lung complications, and infants from remote communities.

Comprehensive Health Evaluation of the Newly Adopted Child

Children who join families through the process of adoption, whether through a domestic or international route, often have multiple health care needs. Pediatricians and other health care personnel are in a unique position to guide families in achieving optimal health for the adopted children as families establish a medical home. Shortly after placement in an adoptive home, it is recommended that children have a timely comprehensive health evaluation to provide care for known medical needs and identify health issues that are unknown. It is important to begin this evaluation with a review of all available medical records and pertinent verbal history. A complete physical examination then follows. The evaluation should also include diagnostic testing based on findings from the history and physical examination as well as the risks presented by the child’s previous living conditions. Age-appropriate screenings may include, but are not limited to, newborn screening panels and hearing, vision, dental, and formal behavioral and/or developmental screenings. The comprehensive assessment may occur at the time of the initial visit to the physician after adoptive placement or can take place over several visits. Adopted children can be referred to other medical specialists as deemed appropriate. The Council on Adoption, Foster Care, and Kinship Care is a resource within the American Academy of Pediatrics for physicians providing care for children who are being adopted.

Institutional Ethics Committees

In hospitals throughout the United States, institutional ethics committees (IECs) have become a standard vehicle for the education of health professionals about biomedical ethics, for the drafting and review of hospital policy, and for clinical ethics case consultation. In addition, there is increasing interest in a role for the IEC in organizational ethics. Recommendations are made about the membership and structure of an IEC, and guidance is provided for those serving on an IEC.

Health Supervision for Children With Neurofibromatosis Type 1

Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a multisystem disorder that primarily involves the skin and peripheral nervous system. Its population prevalence is approximately 1 in 3000. The condition is usually recognized in early childhood, when pigmentary manifestations emerge. Although NF1 is associated with marked clinical variability, most children affected follow patterns of growth and development within the normal range. Some features of NF1 can be present at birth, but most manifestations emerge with age, necessitating periodic monitoring to address ongoing health and developmental needs and minimize the risk of serious medical complications. In this report, we provide a review of the clinical criteria needed to establish a diagnosis, the inheritance pattern of NF1, its major clinical and developmental manifestations, and guidelines for monitoring and providing intervention to maximize the health and quality of life of a child affected.

Transporting Children With Special Health Care Needs

Children with special health care needs should have access to proper resources for safe transportation as do typical children. This policy statement reviews important considerations for transporting children with special health care needs and provides current guidance for the protection of children with specific health care needs, including those with airway obstruction, orthopedic conditions or procedures, developmental delays, muscle tone abnormalities, challenging behaviors, and gastrointestinal disorders.

Prevention of Drowning

Drowning is a leading cause of injury-related death in children. In 2017, drowning claimed the lives of almost 1000 US children younger than 20 years. A number of strategies are available to prevent these tragedies. As educators and advocates, pediatricians can play an important role in the prevention of drowning.

A Healthy Toddler With Fever and Lethargy

A 21-month-old previously healthy girl presented to the emergency department initially with fever, rhinorrhea, and poor oral intake. She was subsequently discharged from the hospital on amoxicillin for treatment of acute otitis media but presented hours later on the same day with continued poor oral intake, decreased urine output, and lethargy. The patient was afebrile on examination without a focal source of infection or evidence of meningismus, but she was lethargic and minimally responsive to pain and had reduced strength in the upper and lower extremities. Initial laboratory analysis revealed leukocytosis with a neutrophil predominance and bandemia, hyponatremia, mild hyperkalemia, hyperglycemia, elevated transaminases, a mild metabolic acidosis, glucosuria, ketonuria, and hematuria. Follow-up tests, based on the history and results of the initial tests, were sent and led to a surprising diagnosis.

Reduction in Unintended Extubations in a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit


Unintended extubations (UEs) lead to significant morbidity in neonates. A quality improvement project was initiated in response to high rates in our level IV NICU. We targeted creating and sustaining UE rates below the published standard of 1 per 100 ventilator days.


This project spanned 4 time periods: baseline, epoch 1 (December 2010–May 2012), sustain, and epoch 2 (May 2015–December 2017) by using standard quality improvement methodology. Epoch 1 interventions included real-time analysis of UE events, standardization of taping, patient positioning and movement, accurate event reporting, and change in nomenclature. Epoch 2 interventions included reduction in daily chest radiographs (CXRs) and development of a high-risk tool. Patient and event characteristics were statistically compared across time points.


Of the 612 UE events recorded over 10 years, 249 UEs occurred from May 2011 to 2017 involving 184 unique patients. UE rates decreased by 43% (from 1.75 to 0.99 per 100 ventilator days; epoch 1) and were sustained until a notable spike. Epoch 2 interventions led to a further 31% rate reduction. Single CXR use decreased by half. Median corrected gestational age at the time of an event was 35 weeks (interquartile range: 29–41). Seventy percent of infants experiencing an UE required reintubation, 29% had a previous event, and 9% had a code event.


A decrease in UE below benchmarks can be achieved and sustained by standardization and mitigation interventions. This decline was also accompanied by a reduction in use of CXRs without increasing UE events.