PEDIATRICS recent issues

A 16-Year-Old Boy With Cough and Fever in the Era of COVID-19

A 16-year-old white boy with a history of chronic lung disease of prematurity, cough-variant asthma, and incidental lung nodules presented to the emergency center in spring 2020 with acute onset dry cough, shortness of breath, and fever. An initial history, gathered from his mother because of the patient’s respiratory distress, revealed no recent travel. However, his mother is a health care worker at a hospital, and sick contacts included ongoing contact with a friend with cold-like symptoms. He had a variety of animals at home, including a dog, cats, fish, rodents, and reptiles. He had a history of vaping tobacco products >6 months ago. Fever and respiratory symptoms were associated with fatigue, chest tightness, abdominal pain, and myalgias. On examination, he was ill appearing and had tachycardia, tachypnea, borderline hypoxia with an oxygen saturation of 91% on room air, diminished breath sounds at the lung bases, and unremarkable abdominal examination results. A chest radiograph was consistent with the lung examination, revealing bilateral lower lobe hazy infiltrates. He showed initial improvement for 48 hours with antibiotics, intravenous fluid resuscitation, oxygen via nasal cannula, albuterol, and prednisone. Subsequently, he worsened with persistent high fever, increasing respiratory distress with pulmonary findings, and severe persistent epigastric pain, which added a layer of diagnostic complexity. As this patient’s clinical course evolved and further history became available, pulmonary medicine and infectious diseases services were consulted to guide diagnostic evaluation and treatment of this patient early in the era of coronavirus disease 2019.

Site-Level Variation in the Characteristics and Care of Infants With Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Variation in pediatric medical care is common and contributes to differences in patient outcomes. Site-to-site variation in the characteristics and care of infants with neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) has yet to be quantified. Our objective was to describe site-to-site variation in maternal-infant characteristics, infant management, and outcomes for infants with NOWS.

METHODS:

Cross-sectional study of 1377 infants born between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017, who were ≥36 weeks’ gestation, with NOWS (evidence of opioid exposure and NOWS scoring within the first 120 hours of life) born at or transferred to 1 of 30 participating hospitals nationwide. Site-to-site variation for each parameter within the 3 domains was measured as the range of individual site-level means, medians, or proportions.

RESULTS:

Sites varied widely in the proportion of infants whose mothers received adequate prenatal care (31.3%–100%), medication-assisted treatment (5.9%–100%), and prenatal counseling (1.9%–75.5%). Sites varied in the proportion of infants with toxicology screening (50%–100%) and proportion of infants receiving pharmacologic therapy (6.7%–100%), secondary medications (1.1%–69.2%), and nonpharmacologic interventions including fortified feeds (2.9%–90%) and maternal breast milk (22.2%–83.3%). The mean length of stay varied across sites (2–28.8 days), as did the proportion of infants discharged with their parents (33.3%–91.1%).

CONCLUSIONS:

Considerable site-to-site variation exists in all 3 domains. The magnitude of the observed variation makes it unlikely that all infants are receiving efficient and effective care for NOWS. This variation should be considered in future clinical trial development, practice implementation, and policy development.

Three-Year Outcomes After Brief Treatment of Substance Use and Mood Symptoms

BACKGROUND:

Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) for adolescents exhibiting co-occurring substance use and mental health problems may improve outcomes and have long-lasting effects. This study examined the relationship between access to SBIRT and substance use, depression and medical diagnoses, and health services use at 1 and 3 years postscreening for such adolescents.

METHODS:

The study draws from a cluster-randomized trial comparing SBIRT to usual care (UC) for adolescents endorsing past-year substance use and recent mood symptoms during visits to a general pediatrics clinic between November 1, 2011, and October 31, 2013, in a large, integrated health system (N = 1851); this sample examined the subset of adolescents endorsing both problems (n = 289). Outcomes included depression, substance use and medical diagnoses, and emergency department and outpatient visits 1 and 3 years later.

RESULTS:

The SBIRT group had lower odds of depression diagnoses at 1 (odds ratio [OR] = 0.31; confidence interval [CI] = 0.11–0.87) and 3 years (OR = 0.51; CI = 0.28–0.94) compared with the UC group. At 3 years, the SBIRT group had lower odds of a substance use diagnosis (OR = 0.46; CI = 0.23–0.92), and fewer emergency department visits (rate ratio = 0.65; CI = 0.44–0.97) than UC group.

CONCLUSIONS:

The findings suggest that SBIRT may prevent health complications and avert costly services use among adolescents with both mental health and substance use problems. As SBIRT is implemented widely in pediatric primary care, training pediatricians to discuss substance use and mental health problems can translate to positive outcomes for these vulnerable adolescents.

Life Course Health Development in Pediatric Practice

The development of health is a cumulative, dynamic, and lifelong process responding to a variety of biological and behavioral influences, of which those in childhood are especially influential and, indeed, formative. Reflecting the balance of positive and adverse experiences during childhood, initial trajectories for future health and development emerge. Preventive pediatric care can anticipate and respond to those experiences and the personal and social circumstances in which they occur. These actions can promote better health and prevent chronic illness during adulthood. Building on the life course health development framework, ways to positively affect patterns of individual and population health practice are identified. Maximizing the opportunity to influence children’s health over their lifetime will require purposeful partnerships with other entities with which children and their families interact as well as improvements in pediatric care processes. The latter includes expanding the databases that drive service (such as registries, care plans, and referrals) and adopting proactive, strengths-based, patient and family-centered, comprehensive, multidisciplinary models of care.

Enteral Vitamin A for Reducing Severity of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia: A Randomized Trial

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Evidence suggests that intramuscular vitamin A reduces the risk of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in preterm infants. Our objective was to compare enteral water-soluble vitamin A with placebo supplementation to reduce the severity of BPD in extremely preterm infants.

METHODS:

We conducted a double-blind randomized controlled trial in infants <28 weeks’ gestation who were to receive either enteral water-soluble vitamin A (5000 IU per day) or a placebo. Supplementation was started within 24 hours of introduction of feeds and continued until 34 weeks’ postmenstrual age (PMA). The primary outcome was the severity of BPD, assessed by using the right shift of the pulse oximeter saturation versus the inspired oxygen pressure curve.

RESULTS:

A total of 188 infants were randomly assigned. The mean ± SD birth weight (852 ± 201 vs 852 ± 211 g) and gestation (25.8 ± 1.49 vs 26.0 ± 1.39 weeks) were comparable between the vitamin A and placebo groups. There was no difference in the right shift (median [25th–75th percentiles]) of the pulse oximeter saturation versus inspired oxygen pressure curve (in kilopascals) between the vitamin A (11.1 [9.5–13.7]) and placebo groups (10.7 [9.5–13.1]) (P = .73). Enteral vitamin A did not affect diagnosis of BPD or other clinical outcomes. Plasma retinol levels were significantly higher in the vitamin A group versus the placebo group on day 28 and at 34 weeks’ PMA.

CONCLUSIONS:

Enteral water-soluble vitamin A supplementation improves plasma retinol levels in extremely preterm infants but does not reduce the severity of BPD.

Disagreement About Surgical Intervention in Trisomy 18

In this case, we explore physician conflict with performing surgery (tracheostomy) for long-term ventilation in a term infant with trisomy 18 and respiratory failure. Experts in neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric bioethics, and pediatric palliative care have provided comments on this case. An additional commentary was written by the parent of another infant with trisomy 18, who is also a medical provider (physical therapist).

Machine Learning for Child and Adolescent Health: A Systematic Review

CONTEXT:

In the last few decades, data acquisition and processing has seen tremendous amount of growth, thus sparking interest in machine learning (ML) within the health care system.

OBJECTIVE:

Our aim for this review is to provide an evidence map of the current available evidence on ML in pediatrics and adolescent medicine and provide insight for future research.

DATA SOURCES:

A literature search was conducted by using Medline, the Cochrane Library, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature Plus, Web of Science Library, and EBSCO Dentistry & Oral Science Source.

STUDY SELECTION:

Articles in which an ML model was assessed for the diagnosis, prediction, or management of any condition in children and adolescents (0–18 years) were included.

DATA EXTRACTION:

Data were extracted for year of publication, geographical location, age range, number of participants, disease or condition under investigation, study methodology, reference standard, type, category, and performance of ML algorithms.

RESULTS:

The review included 363 studies, with subspecialties such as psychiatry, neonatology, and neurology having the most literature. A majority of the studies were from high-income (82%; n = 296) and upper middle-income countries (15%; n = 56), whereas only 3% (n = 11) were from low middle-income countries. Neural networks and ensemble methods were most commonly tested in the 1990s, whereas deep learning and clustering emerged rapidly in the current decade.

LIMITATIONS:

Only studies conducted in the English language could be used in this review.

CONCLUSIONS:

The interest in ML has been growing across various subspecialties and countries, suggesting a potential role in health service delivery for children and adolescents in the years to come.

A Curious Case of Croup: Laryngotracheitis Caused by COVID-19

We describe a case of croup in a 14-month-old boy caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019. The patient presented with classic signs and symptoms consistent with croup. Workup was remarkable for a positive point-of-care test for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. This case represents recognition of a new clinical entity caused by coronavirus disease 2019.

Scholarly Activity During Pediatric Fellowship

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

The educational requirements for pediatric fellows include at least 12 months of scholarly activity and generation of a work product. Yet there lacks detailed guidance on how programs can best integrate scholarly activity training into fellowships. Our objectives were to understand the resources and barriers to training and identify factors associated with productivity.

METHODS:

We surveyed pediatric fellowship program directors (FPDs) nationally in 2019. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, 2 and Fisher’s exact tests, and multivariable modeling to identify factors associated with high productivity (>75% of fellows in the past 5 years had an article from their fellowship accepted).

RESULTS:

A total of 499 of 770 FPDs responded (65%). A total of 174 programs (35%) were highly productive. The most frequent major barriers were a lack of funding for fellows to conduct scholarship (21%, n = 105) and lack of sufficient divisional faculty mentorship (16%, n = 79). The median number of months for scholarship with reduced clinical obligations scholarship was 17. A total of 40% (n = 202) of FPDs believed training should be shortened to 2 years for clinically oriented fellows. Programs with a T32 and a FPD with >5 publications in the past 3 years were twice as likely to be productive. Not endorsing lack of adequate Scholarship Oversight Committee expertise and a research curriculum as barriers was associated with increased productivity (odds ratio = 1.83–1.65).

CONCLUSIONS:

Despite significant protected fellow research time, most fellows do not publish. Ensuring a program culture of research may provide the support needed to take projects to publication. The fellowship community may consider reevaluating the fellowship duration, particularly for those pursing nonresearch focused careers.

Predicting Urinary Tract Infections With Interval Likelihood Ratios

BACKGROUND:

Protocols for diagnosing urinary tract infection (UTI) often use arbitrary cutoff values of urinalysis components to guide management. Interval likelihood ratios (ILRs) of urinalysis results may improve the test’s precision in predicting UTIs. We calculated the ILR of urinalysis components to estimate the posttest probabilities of UTIs in young children.

METHODS:

Review of 2144 visits to the pediatric emergency department of an urban academic hospital from December 2011 to December 2019. Inclusion criteria were age <2 years and having a urinalysis and urine culture sent. ILR boundaries for hemoglobin, protein, and leukocyte esterase were "negative," "trace," "1+," "2+" and "3+." Nitrite was positive or negative. Red blood cells and white blood cells (WBCs) were 0 to 5, 5 to 10, 10 to 20, 20 to 50, 50 to 100, and 100 to 250. Bacteria counts ranged from negative to "loaded." ILRs for each component were calculated and posttest probabilities for UTI were estimated.

RESULTS:

The UTI prevalence was 9.2%, with the most common pathogen being Escherichia coli (75.2%). The ILR for leukocyte esterase ranged from 0.20 (negative) to 37.68 (3+) and WBCs ranged from 0.24 (0–5 WBCs) to 47.50 (100–250 WBCs). The ILRs for nitrites were 0.76 (negative) and 25.35 (positive). The ILR for negative bacteria on urinalysis was 0.26 and 14.04 for many bacteria.

CONCLUSIONS:

The probability of UTI in young children significantly increases with 3+ leukocyte esterase, positive nitrite results, 20 to 50 or higher WBCs, and/or many or greater bacteria on urinalysis. The probability of UTI only marginally increases with trace or 1+ leukocyte esterase or 5 to 20 WBCs. Our findings can be used to more accurately predict the probability of true UTI in children.

Racism as a Root Cause Approach: A New Framework

The field of public health has identified racial health disparities as a chief concern for decades. Although there has been a myriad of published articles in which researchers describe the severity and complexity of these disparities, they persist into present day relatively unchanged. We believe this lack of progress can be explained, in part, by a failure to acknowledge that racism is at the root of these racial disparities. Many children’s health advocates believe more should be done to address our country’s systemic racial inequities, but few of us feel able to create meaningful change, and even fewer feel that it is our responsibility. As a result, many opt to pursue programmatic fixes and Band-Aid solutions over addressing the underlying systemic, interpersonal, and historical racism. We hope to empower children’s health advocates by introducing a solutions-centered framework for addressing racism as a root cause. This approach can help guide and structure the important work of dismantling racism so Black, Indigenous, and other racially marginalized families can finally have an equal opportunity for good health.

Identification of Prenatal Opioid Exposure Within Health Administrative Databases

BACKGROUND:

Health administrative data offer a vital source of data on maternal prenatal opioid exposure (POE). The impact of different methods to estimate POE, especially combining maternal and newborn records, is not known.

METHODS:

This population-based cross-sectional study included 454 746 hospital births with linked administrative data in Ontario, Canada, in 2014–2017. POE ascertainment included 3 sources: (1) prenatal opioid prescriptions, (2) maternal opioid-related hospital records, and (3) newborn hospital records with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Positive percent agreement was calculated comparing cases identified by source, and a comprehensive method was developed combining all 3 sources. We replicated common definitions of POE and NAS from existing literature and compared both number of cases ascertained and maternal socio-demographics and medical history using the comprehensive method.

RESULTS:

Using all 3 data sources, there were 9624 cases with POE (21.2 per 1000 births). Among these, positive percent agreement (95% confidence interval) was 79.0% (78.2–79.8) for prenatal opioid prescriptions, 19.0% (18.2–19.8) for maternal opioid-related hospital records, and 44.7% (43.7–45.7) for newborn NAS. Compared with other definitions, our comprehensive method identified up to 523% additional cases. Contrasting ascertainment with maternal opioid-related hospital records, newborn NAS, and prenatal opioid prescriptions respective rates of maternal low income were 57%, 48%, and 39%; mental health hospitalization history was 33%, 28%, and 17%; and infant discharge to social services was 8%, 13%, and 5%.

CONCLUSIONS:

Combining prenatal opioid prescriptions and maternal and newborn opioid-related hospital codes improves identification of a broader population of mothers and infants with POE.

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Justice System Contact: A Systematic Review

CONTEXT:

Given the wide-ranging health impacts of justice system involvement, we examined evidence for the association between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and justice system contact in the United States.

OBJECTIVE:

To synthesize epidemiological evidence for the association between ACEs and justice system contact.

DATA SOURCES:

We searched 5 databases for studies conducted through January 2020. The search term used for each database was as follows: ("aces" OR "childhood adversities") AND ("delinquency" OR "crime" OR "juvenile" OR criminal* OR offend*).

STUDY SELECTION:

We included all observational studies assessing the association between ACEs and justice system contact conducted in the United States.

DATA EXTRACTION:

Data extracted from each eligible study included information about the study design, study population, sample size, exposure and outcome measures, and key findings. Study quality was assessed by using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale for nonrandomized trials.

RESULTS:

In total, 10 of 11 studies reviewed were conducted in juvenile population groups. Elevated ACE scores were associated with increased risk of juvenile justice system contact. Estimates of the adjusted odds ratio of justice system contact per 1-point increase in ACE score ranged from 0.91 to 1.68. Results were consistent across multiple types of justice system contact and across geographic regions.

LIMITATIONS:

Most studies reviewed were conducted in juvenile justice-involved populations with follow-up limited to adolescence or early adulthood.

CONCLUSIONS:

ACEs are positively associated with juvenile justice system contact in a dose-response fashion. ACE prevention programs may help reduce juvenile justice system contacts and improve child and adolescent health.

Sustained Lung Inflations During Neonatal Resuscitation at Birth: A Meta-analysis

CONTEXT:

The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation prioritized review of sustained inflation (SI) of the lung at birth.

OBJECTIVE:

To complete a systematic review and meta-analysis comparing strategies using 1 or more SI ≥1 second with intermittent inflations <1 second for newborns at birth.

DATA SOURCES:

Medline, Embase, and Evidence-Based Medicine Reviews were searched from January 1, 1946, to July 20, 2020.

STUDY SELECTION:

Studies were selected by pairs of independent reviewers in 2 stages.

DATA EXTRACTION:

Reviewers extracted data, appraised risk of bias, and assessed certainty of evidence for each outcome.

RESULTS:

Ten trials enrolling 1502 preterm newborns were included. Five studies included newborns who did not receive assisted ventilation at the outset. There were no differences between SI and control groups for death before discharge or key morbidities. For death within the first 2 days, comparing SI with the controls, risk ratio was 2.42 (95% confidence interval = 1.15–5.09). In subgroup analysis of preterm infants ≤28 + 0 weeks’ gestation, for death before discharge, risk ratio was 1.38 (95% confidence interval = 1.00–1.91). Together, these findings suggest the potential for harm of SI.

LIMITATIONS:

The certainty of evidence was very low for death in the delivery room and low for all other outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS:

In this systematic review, we did not find benefit in using 1 or more SI >5 seconds for preterm infants at birth. SI(s) may increase death before discharge among the subgroup born ≤28 + 0 weeks’ gestation. There is insufficient evidence to determine the likely effect of SI(s) on other key morbidities.

Child Maltreatment and Mortality in Young Adults

BACKGROUND:

Child maltreatment (CM) is a global public health issue, with reported impacts on health and social outcomes. Evidence on mortality is lacking. In this study, we aimed to estimate the impact of CM on death rates in persons 16 to 33 years.

METHODS:

A retrospective cohort study of all persons born in South Australia 1986 to 2003 using linked administrative data. CM exposure was based on child protection service (CPS) contact: unexposed, no CPS contact before 16 years, and 7 exposed groups. Deaths were observed until May 31, 2019 and plotted from 16 years. Adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) by CPS category were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models, adjusting for child and maternal characteristics. Incident rate ratios (IRRs) were derived for major causes of death, with and without CPS contact.

RESULTS:

The cohort included 331 254 persons, 20% with CPS contact. Persons with a child protection matter notification and nonsubstantiated or substantiated investigation had more than twice the death rate compared with persons with no CPS contact: aHR = 2.09 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.62–2.70) to aHR = 2.61 (95% CI = 1.99–3.43). Relative to no CPS contact, persons ever placed in out-of-home care had the highest mortality if first placed in care aged ≥3 years (aHR = 4.67 [95% CI = 3.52–6.20]); aHR was 1.75(95% CI = 0.98–3.14) if first placed in care aged <3 years. The largest differential cause-specific mortality (any contact versus no CPS contact) was death from poisonings, alcohol, and/or other substances (IRR = 4.82 [95% CI = 3.31–7.01]) and from suicide (IRR = 2.82 [95% CI = 2.15–3.68]).

CONCLUSIONS:

CM is a major underlying cause of potentially avoidable deaths in early adulthood. Clinical and family-based support for children and families in which CM is occurring must be a priority to protect children from imminent risk of harm and early death as young adults.

Symptoms and Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Among Children -- Utah and Wisconsin, March-May 2020

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Limited data exist on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in children. We described infection rates and symptom profiles among pediatric household contacts of individuals with coronavirus disease 2019.

METHODS:

We enrolled individuals with coronavirus disease 2019 and their household contacts, assessed daily symptoms prospectively for 14 days, and obtained specimens for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and serology testing. Among pediatric contacts (<18 years), we described transmission, assessed the risk factors for infection, and calculated symptom positive and negative predictive values. We compared secondary infection rates and symptoms between pediatric and adult contacts using generalized estimating equations.

RESULTS:

Among 58 households, 188 contacts were enrolled (120 adults; 68 children). Secondary infection rates for adults (30%) and children (28%) were similar. Among households with potential for transmission from children, child-to-adult transmission may have occurred in 2 of 10 (20%), and child-to-child transmission may have occurred in 1 of 6 (17%). Pediatric case patients most commonly reported headache (79%), sore throat (68%), and rhinorrhea (68%); symptoms had low positive predictive values, except measured fever (100%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 44% to 100%). Compared with symptomatic adults, children were less likely to report cough (odds ratio [OR]: 0.15; 95% CI: 0.04 to 0.57), loss of taste (OR: 0.21; 95% CI: 0.06 to 0.74), and loss of smell (OR: 0.29; 95% CI: 0.09 to 0.96) and more likely to report sore throat (OR: 3.4; 95% CI: 1.04 to 11.18).

CONCLUSIONS:

Children and adults had similar secondary infection rates, but children generally had less frequent and severe symptoms. In two states early in the pandemic, we observed possible transmission from children in approximately one-fifth of households with potential to observe such transmission patterns.

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