PEDIATRICS recent issues

Management Principles for Acute Illness in Patients With Medium-Chain Acyl-Coenzyme A Dehydrogenase Deficiency

Medium-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency (MCADD) is a fatty acid oxidation disorder in which the patient is unable to break down fats to produce energy. This disorder places children at risk for metabolic decompensation during periods of stress, such as routine childhood illnesses. The intent of this clinical report is to provide pediatricians with additional information regarding the acute clinical care of patients with MCADD. Although each patient with MCADD will still be expected to have a primary metabolic physician, the involvement of the primary care provider is crucial as well. Appropriate treatment of children with MCADD can lead to avoidance of morbidity and mortality.

Increasing Physician Reporting of Diagnostic Learning Opportunities

BACKGROUND:

An estimated 10% of Americans experience a diagnostic error annually, yet little is known about pediatric diagnostic errors. Physician reporting is a promising method for identifying diagnostic errors. However, our pediatric hospital medicine (PHM) division had only 1 diagnostic-related safety report in the preceding 4 years. We aimed to improve attending physician reporting of suspected diagnostic errors from 0 to 2 per 100 PHM patient admissions within 6 months.

METHODS:

Our improvement team used the Model for Improvement, targeting the PHM service. To promote a safe reporting culture, we used the term diagnostic learning opportunity (DLO) rather than diagnostic error, defined as a "potential opportunity to make a better or more timely diagnosis." We developed an electronic reporting form and encouraged its use through reminders, scheduled reflection time, and monthly progress reports. The outcome measure, the number of DLO reports per 100 patient admissions, was tracked on an annotated control chart to assess the effect of our interventions over time. We evaluated DLOs using a formal 2-reviewer process.

RESULTS:

Over the course of 13 weeks, there was an increase in the number of reports filed from 0 to 1.6 per 100 patient admissions, which met special cause variation, and was subsequently sustained. Most events (66%) were true diagnostic errors and were found to be multifactorial after formal review.

CONCLUSIONS:

We used quality improvement methodology, focusing on psychological safety, to increase physician reporting of DLOs. This growing data set has generated nuanced learnings that will guide future improvement work.

A Quality Improvement Initiative To Improve Postdischarge Antimicrobial Adherence

OBJECTIVES:

Bedside delivery of discharge medications improves caregiver understanding and experience. Less is known about its impact on medication adherence. We aimed to improve antimicrobial adherence by increasing on-time first home doses for patients discharged from the pediatric hospital medicine service from 33% to 80% over 1 year via creation of a discharge medication delivery and counseling "Meds to Beds" (M2B) program.

METHODS:

Using sequential plan-do-study-act cycles, an interprofessional workgroup implemented M2B on select pediatric hospital medicine units at our quaternary children’s hospital from October 2017 through December 2018. Scripted telephone surveys were conducted with caregivers of patients prescribed antimicrobial agents at discharge. The primary outcome measure was on-time administration of the first home antimicrobial dose, defined as a dose given within the time of the inpatient dose equivalent plus 25%. Process measures primarily assessed caregiver report of barriers to adherence. Run charts, statistical process control charts, and inferential statistics were used for data analysis.

RESULTS:

Caregiver survey response rate was 35% (207 of 585). Median on-time first home antimicrobial doses increased from 33% to 67% (P < .001). Forty percent of M2B prescriptions were adjusted before discharge because of financial or insurance barriers. M2B participants reported significantly less difficulty in obtaining medications compared with nonparticipants (1% vs 17%, P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS:

The M2B program successfully increased parental report of timely administration of first home antimicrobial doses, a component of overall adherence. The program enabled providers to identify and resolve prescription problems before discharge. Importantly, caregivers reported reduced barriers to medication adherence.

Diarrheal Deaths After the Introduction of Rotavirus Vaccination in 4 Countries

BACKGROUND:

We aim in our analysis to estimate the reduction of diarrhea-related mortality rates after introduction of a rotavirus vaccine in subregions of 4 Latin American countries.

METHODS:

We selected diarrhea-related deaths from individual-level data from death certificates in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico. Counts were aggregated by region, year and month, and age group for each country. We ran an interrupted time-series analysis using Poisson regression to obtain seasonal and trend-adjusted estimates of impact. Results are reported as percentages (1 – mortality rate ratio).

RESULTS:

We found a reduction in diarrhea-related mortality in children <5 years old of 18% (95% confidence interval [CI], 15 to 20) for Mexico, 39% (95% CI, 35 to 44) for Colombia, 19 (95% CI, 17 to 22) for Brazil, and –26% (95% CI, –40 to –14) for Ecuador. Using wavelet analyses, we found a reduction of 6- and 12-month seasonality in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. We also found that the increased reduction of diarrhea-related deaths was larger with greater prevaccine burden of diarrhea in infants.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings and available evidence support the recommendation from the World Health Organization for the monovalent and/or pentavalent rotavirus vaccine in countries worldwide. We found an increased benefit in those settings with a higher burden of infant diarrhea-related deaths.

Improving Toddlers Healthy Eating Habits and Self-regulation: A Randomized Controlled Trial

OBJECTIVES:

In this study, we tested whether Recipe 4 Success, a preventive intervention featuring structured food preparation lessons, was successful in improving the following 4 protective factors related to overweight and obesity among families living in poverty: toddlers’ healthy eating habits, toddlers’ self-regulation, parents’ responsive feeding practices, and parents’ sensitive scaffolding.

METHODS:

This randomized controlled trial was open to families enrolled in Early Head Start home visits and included 73 parents and their toddlers aged 18 to 36 months. Multimethod assessments were conducted at baseline and posttreatment.

RESULTS:

Compared with toddlers in usual practice Early Head Start, toddlers in Recipe 4 Success consumed healthier meals and snacks (d = 0.57; P < .03; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.08–1.06) and displayed better self-regulation (d = 0.95; P < .001; 95% CI: 0.43–1.45). Compared with parents in usual practice Early Head Start, parents in Recipe 4 Success engaged in more responsive feeding practices (d = 0.87; P < .002; 95% CI: 0.34–1.40) and were better able to sensitively scaffold their toddlers’ learning and development (d = 0.58; P < .04; 95% CI: 0.07–1.09).

CONCLUSIONS:

This randomized controlled trial revealed medium to large intervention effects on 4 important protective factors that are related to overweight and obesity but are often compromised by living in poverty.

Validation of the Developmental Check-In Tool for Low-Literacy Autism Screening

BACKGROUND:

Persistent disparities exist in early identification of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) among children from low-income families who are racial and/or ethnic minorities and where English is not the primary language. Parental literacy and level of maternal education may contribute to disparities. The Developmental Check-In (DCI) is a visually based ASD screening tool created to reduce literacy demands and to be easily administered and scored across settings. In a previous study, the DCI showed acceptable discriminative ability between ASD versus non-ASD in a young, underserved sample at high-risk for ASD. In this study, we tested the DCI among an unselected, general sample of young underserved children.

METHODS:

Six hundred twenty-four children ages 24 to 60 months were recruited through Head Start and Early Head Start. Parents completed the DCI, Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised with Follow-Up, and Social Communication Questionnaire. Children scoring positive on any measure received evaluation for ASD. Those screening negative on both Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised with Follow-Up and Social Communication Questionnaire were considered non-ASD.

RESULTS:

Parents were primarily Hispanic, reported high school education or less, and had public or no insurance. The DCI demonstrated good discriminative power (area under the curve = 0.80), performing well across all age groups, genders, levels of maternal education, primary language, and included ethnic and racial groups. Item-level analyses indicated that 24 of 26 DCI items discriminated ASD from non-ASD.

CONCLUSIONS:

The DCI is a promising ASD screening tool for young, underserved children and may be of particular value in screening for ASD for those with low literacy levels or with limited English proficiency.

A Gut Feeling: Abdominal Symptoms as an Initial Presentation of EVALI

Electronic cigarette or vaping product use–associated lung injury (EVALI) is a disease process that has become prevalent in the United States.1 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there have been almost 2700 cases of this condition in the United States as of January 14, 2020, with >50% of these patients aged ≤24.2 We present a 13-year-old boy with a history of functional abdominal pain who presented with recurrent episodes of nausea, emesis, periodic fevers, and severe episodic abdominal pain after a 12-month history of significant electronic cigarette use. On admission, he had severe abdominal pain and appeared anxious. A computed tomography scan of the abdomen was unremarkable, but a computed tomography scan of the chest demonstrated both multifocal ground-glass and crazy-paving pulmonary opacities bilaterally, with scattered septal thickening and dependent bibasilar opacities associated with volume loss. Inflammatory markers were significantly elevated, and cell counts were remarkable for leukocytosis and neutrophilia. The patient was ultimately diagnosed with EVALI and treated with intravenous methylprednisolone, resulting in improvement. This is an example of a case of EVALI in an adolescent, in which the presenting symptoms are largely gastrointestinal. It is important to keep EVALI in the differential diagnosis of patients who exhibit gastrointestinal symptoms, have markers of increased systemic inflammation, and endorse a history of vaping or are in the age range of electronic cigarette users. Although obtaining an accurate history of vaping can be challenging in the pediatric population, it is especially critical to do so.

Principles of Care for Young Adults With Substance Use Disorders

Despite the disproportionate impact of substance use on young adults, as well as their unique developmental circumstances, there has historically been little attention given to the substance use care needs of this population. As a result, there are currently few evidence-based recommendations to guide clinicians in caring for young adults with substance use disorders. The Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine at Boston Medical Center convened an interdisciplinary meeting of experts to establish principles of care to guide the management of young adults with substance use disorders, to help health care organizations establish effective care systems for these patients, and to help guide policy. In this article, we review the care principles and introduce a series of linked articles that go into further details of principles in the domains of evidence-based substance use treatment, family engagement in care, recovery support services, comorbid psychiatric illness, harm reduction, and criminal justice system reform.

Evidence-Based Treatment of Young Adults With Substance Use Disorders

In summarizing the proceedings of a longitudinal meeting of experts in substance use disorders (SUDs) among adolescents and young adults, in this special article, we review principles of care related to SUD treatment of young adults. SUDs are most commonly diagnosed during young adulthood, but most of the evidence guiding the treatment of this population has been obtained from older adult study participants. Extrapolating evidence from older populations, the expert group asserted the following principles for SUD treatment: It is important that clinicians who work with young adults effectively identify and address SUD to avert long-term addiction and its associated adverse health outcomes. Young adults receiving addiction treatment should have access to a broad range of evidence-based assessment, psychosocial and pharmacologic treatments, harm reduction interventions, and recovery services. These evidence-based approaches should be tailored to young adults’ needs and provided in the least restrictive environment possible. Young adults should enter care voluntarily; civil commitment to treatment should be a last resort. In many settings, compulsory treatment does not use evidence-based approaches; thus, when treatment is involuntary, it should reflect recognized standards of care. Continuous engagement with young adults, particularly during periods of relapse, should be considered a goal of treatment and can be supported by care that is patient-centered and focused on the young adult’s goals. Lastly, substance use treatments for young adults should be held to the same evidence and quality standards as those for other chronic health conditions.

Engaging the Family in the Care of Young Adults With Substance Use Disorders

Efforts to engage young adults with substance use disorders in treatment often focus on the individual and do not consider the role that the family can play in the recovery process. In summarizing the proceedings of a longitudinal meeting on substance use among young adults, this special article outlines three key principles concerning the engagement of broader family units in substance use treatment: (1) care should involve family members (biological, extended, or chosen); (2) these family members should receive counseling on evidence-based approaches that can enhance their loved one’s engagement in care; and (3) family members should receive counseling on evidence-based strategies that can improve their own health. For each principle, we provide an explanation of our guidance to practitioners, supportive evidence, and additional practice considerations.

Support Services for Young Adults With Substance Use Disorders

In summarizing the proceedings of a longitudinal meeting of experts in substance use disorders (SUDs) among young adults, this special article reviews principles of care concerning recovery support services for this population. Young adults in recovery from SUDs can benefit from a variety of support services throughout the process of recovery. These services take place in both traditional clinical settings and settings outside the health system, and they can be delivered by a wide variety of nonprofessional and paraprofessional individuals. In this article, we communicate fundamental points related to guidance, evidence, and clinical considerations about 3 basic principles for recovery support services: (1) given their developmental needs, young adults affected by SUDs should have access to a wide variety of recovery support services regardless of the levels of care they need, which could range from early intervention services to medically managed intensive inpatient services; (2) the workforce for addiction services for young adults benefits from the inclusion of individuals with lived experience in addiction; and (3) recovery support services should be integrated to promote recovery most effectively and provide the strongest possible social support.

Principles of Harm Reduction for Young People Who Use Drugs

In summarizing the proceedings of a longitudinal meeting of experts on substance use disorders among adolescents and young adults, we review 2 principles of care related to harm reduction for young adults with substance use disorders. The first is that harm reduction services are critical to keeping young adults alive and healthy and can offer opportunities for future engagement in treatment. Such services therefore should be offered at every opportunity, regardless of an individual’s interest or ability to minimize use of substances. The second is that all evidence-based harm reduction strategies available to older adults should be available to young adults and that whenever possible, harm reduction programs should be tailored to young adults and be developmentally appropriate.

The Justice System and Young Adults With Substance Use Disorders

Young adults’ heightened vulnerability to substance use disorders (SUD) corresponds with their disproportionate representation in the criminal justice system. It is paramount that the justice system systemically recognize young adults as a group with distinct developmental needs and align reform efforts with advancements made in medical and public health fields to better address the needs of justice-involved young adults with SUD. This article warns against reliance on the justice system for engaging young adults with SUD in treatment and presents 4 principles that were developed by a workgroup participating in a longitudinal meeting of experts sponsored by Boston Medical Center’s Grayken Center for Addiction. The goal of the principles is to support and guide policy and practice initiatives for developmentally appropriate justice responses to young adults with SUD. The article also reviews the evidence that underlies these principles and offers policy and practice considerations for their implementation.

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