PEDIATRICS recent issues

The Public Health Impact of Parent-Reported Childhood Food Allergies in the United States

BACKGROUND:

Childhood food allergy (FA) is a life-threatening chronic condition that substantially impairs quality of life. This large, population-based survey estimates childhood FA prevalence and severity of all major allergenic foods. Detailed allergen-specific information was also collected regarding FA management and health care use.

METHODS:

A survey was administered to US households between 2015 and 2016, obtaining parent-proxy responses for 38 408 children. Prevalence estimates were based on responses from NORC at the University of Chicago’s nationally representative, probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel (51% completion rate), which were augmented by nonprobability-based responses via calibration weighting to increase precision. Prevalence was estimated via weighted proportions. Multiple logistic regression models were used to evaluate FA predictors.

RESULTS:

Overall, estimated current FA prevalence was 7.6% (95% confidence interval: 7.1%–8.1%) after excluding 4% of children whose parent-reported FA reaction history was inconsistent with immunoglobulin E–mediated FA. The most prevalent allergens were peanut (2.2%), milk (1.9%), shellfish (1.3%), and tree nut (1.2%). Among food-allergic children, 42.3% reported ≥1 severe FA and 39.9% reported multiple FA. Furthermore, 19.0% reported ≥1 FA-related emergency department visit in the previous year and 42.0% reported ≥1 lifetime FA-related emergency department visit, whereas 40.7% had a current epinephrine autoinjector prescription. Prevalence rates were higher among African American children and children with atopic comorbidities.

CONCLUSIONS:

FA is a major public health concern, affecting ~8% of US children. However, >11% of children were perceived as food-allergic, suggesting that the perceived disease burden may be greater than previously acknowledged.

Repeated Percutaneous Treatment of Massive Hepatic Cystic Echinococcosis in a Child

Because of mostly asymptomatic cyst growth and often-neglected nonspecific low-grade symptoms, many cases of cystic echinococcosis (CE) caused by Echinococcus granulosus in the pediatric population are diagnosed at school age, in an advanced and even complicated stage. In 2003, after 5 months of intermittent dull upper-right abdominal pain and nausea, a 13-year-old boy was diagnosed with massive liver CE, with ~20 round-shaped double-walled medium-sized infective cysts, which permeated the whole liver. Because of their wide distribution across the liver tissue and the risky superficial position of some cysts, liver transplantation emerged as the optimal therapeutic option. Despite being described as only an exceptionally used method for CE, we subjected our patient on 4 occasions to a radiofrequency energy thermoablation (RFT) procedure similar to the one used for malignant neoplasms. In total, 9 superficially situated cysts were initially treated with RFT by using a 14-gauge outer needle and a temperature of 70°C for 8 minutes per cyst, and the remaining cysts were treated with the puncture-aspiration-instillation-reaspiration procedure, along with albendazole (15 mg/kg per day) therapy, for a period of 20 months. After 2 years of follow-up, 4 residual small-sized semisolidified cysts were seen in the liver, and the patient showed no signs of relapse. Although not routinely used, RFT, along with puncture-aspiration-instillation-reaspiration and prolonged albendazole therapy, has shown good tolerability and long-term efficacy in the treatment of multiple infective CE, which could suggest the usefulness of the RFT method beyond salvage situations in pediatric patients.

Intellectual Disability in Children Conceived Using Assisted Reproductive Technology

OBJECTIVES:

To examine whether children conceived using assisted reproductive technology (ART) have a higher risk of intellectual disability (ID) compared with non–ART-conceived children and describe known causes of ID in these groups.

METHODS:

We linked ID and ART data from population-based registers in Western Australia. Our cohort included live births from 1994 to 2002 (n = 210 627) with at least 8 years of follow-up. The prevalence of ID was compared between ART- and non–ART-conceived children, and risk of ID was estimated using Poisson regression with robust SEs. We also stratified by plurality and gestation at delivery.

RESULTS:

Children conceived using ART had a small increased risk of ID (risk ratio 1.58; 95% confidence interval 1.19–2.11) even when analyses were restricted to singleton births (risk ratio 1.56; 95% confidence interval 1.10–2.21). The risk of ID was more than doubled for those born very preterm, for severe ID, and after intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatments. Children conceived using ICSI had a greater risk of ID than those conceived using in vitro fertilization and were more likely to have a known genetic cause for ID (27.6% vs 12.9% in vitro fertilization and 11.9% non-ART).

CONCLUSIONS:

The risk of ID was increased in children born after ART in Western Australia from 1994 to 2002. More recent cohorts should be examined to assess the impact of important changes in ART clinical practice. Our results are particularly pertinent because multiple embryo transfers are routinely performed in many countries, increasing the risk of preterm birth, and ICSI use rates are high.

Maternal Intellectual or Developmental Disability and Newborn Discharge to Protective Services

BACKGROUND:

Approximately half of women with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) lose custody of their children at some point in their child’s development, but their rates of and risk factors for newborn discharge to child protective services from the birth hospitalization are relatively unknown.

METHODS:

We conducted a population-based study of newborns of 3845 women with IDDs and 379 834 women without IDDs in Ontario, Canada (2002–2012). We used modified Poisson regression to estimate adjusted relative risks (aRRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for discharge to child protective services directly from the birth hospitalization (1) comparing newborns of women with and without IDDs and (2) among newborns of women with IDDs according to sociodemographic, health, service, and perinatal characteristics.

RESULTS:

Approximately 5.7% of newborns of women with IDDs, compared with 0.2% of newborns of women without IDDs, were discharged to child protective services (aRR 8.10; 95% CI 6.51–10.09). Among newborns of women with IDDs, risk factors were maternal psychotic disorder (aRR 2.58; 95% CI 1.90–3.50), social assistance receipt (aRR 2.55; 95% CI 1.87–3.47), failure to receive an ultrasound by 20 weeks’ gestation (aRR 1.76; 95% CI 1.32–2.34), and receipt of <4 prenatal visits by 36 weeks’ gestation (aRR 1.71; 95% CI 1.05–2.78).

CONCLUSIONS:

Although women with IDDs are at risk for custody loss immediately postdelivery, certain subgroups are at higher risk than others. Women with vulnerabilities related to comorbid psychotic disorders, poverty, and inadequate prenatal care may benefit from tailored, behavior-based parenting interventions before and during pregnancy to prevent maternal-newborn separations.

MOCA-Peds: Development of a New Assessment of Medical Knowledge for Continuing Certification

The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) certifies that general and subspecialty pediatricians meet standards of excellence established by their peers. Certification helps demonstrate that a general pediatrician or pediatric subspecialist has successfully completed accredited training and fulfills continuous certification requirements (Maintenance of Certification [MOC]). One current component of the MOC program is a closed-book examination administered at a secure testing center (ie, the MOC Part 3 examination). In this article, we describe the development of an alternative to this examination termed the "Maintenance of Certification Assessment for Pediatrics" (MOCA-Peds) during 2015–2016. MOCA-Peds was conceptualized as an online, summative (ie, pass/fail), continuous assessment of a pediatrician’s knowledge that would also promote learning. The system would consist of a set number of multiple-choice questions delivered each quarter, with immediate feedback on questions, rationales clarifying correct and incorrect answers, references for further learning, and peer benchmarking. Questions would be delivered quarterly and taken at any time within the quarter in a setting with Internet connectivity and on any device. As part of the development process in 2015–2016, the ABP actively recruited pediatricians to serve as members of a yearlong user panel or single-session focus groups. Refinements to MOCA-Peds were made on the basis of their feedback. MOCA-Peds is being actively piloted with pediatricians in 2017–2018. The ABP anticipates an expected launch in January 2019 of MOCA-Peds for General Pediatrics, Pediatric Gastroenterology, Child Abuse, and Pediatric Infectious Diseases with launch dates for the remaining pediatric subspecialties between 2020 and 2022.

Delivery Room Management of Meconium-Stained Newborns and Respiratory Support

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Recently, the Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) recommended against routine endotracheal suctioning of meconium-stained nonvigorous newborns but suggested resuscitation with positive pressure ventilation. Our purpose is to study the effects of this change in management.

METHODS:

In this multicenter cohort study, we compare 130 nonvigorous newborns born during the retrospective 1-year period before the implementation of new NRP guidelines (October 1, 2015, to September 30, 2016) to 101 infants born during the 1-year prospective period after implementation (October 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017).

RESULTS:

Endotracheal suctioning was performed predominantly in the retrospective group compared with the prospective group (70% vs 2%), indicating the change in practice. A significantly higher proportion of newborns were admitted to the NICU for respiratory issues in the prospective group compared with the retrospective group (40% vs 22%) with an odds ratio (OR) of 2.2 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.2–3.9). Similarly, a significantly higher proportion of infants needed oxygen therapy (37% vs 19%) with an OR of 2.5 (95% CI: 1.2–4.5), mechanical ventilation (19% vs 9%) with an OR of 2.6 (95% CI: 1.1–5.8), and surfactant therapy (10% vs 2%) with an OR of 5.8 (95% CI: 1.5–21.8). There were no differences in the incidence of other outcomes, including meconium aspiration syndrome.

CONCLUSIONS:

The recent NRP guideline change was not associated with an increased incidence of meconium aspiration syndrome but was associated with an increased incidence of NICU admissions for respiratory issues. Also, the need for mechanical ventilation, oxygen, and surfactant therapy increased.

Tobacco Product Harm Perceptions and New Use

BACKGROUND:

Researchers in several studies have examined correlations between tobacco harm perceptions and tobacco use in youth, but none have prospectively addressed the association between harm perceptions and subsequent new use across multiple noncigarette products.

METHODS:

Product-specific absolute and relative harm perceptions for cigarettes, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), cigars, pipes, hookah, and smokeless tobacco were collected at wave 1 (W1) (2013–2014) among youth in the nationally representative US Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study (12–17 years of age; n = 10 081). At wave 2 (W2) (2014–2015), product-specific new use was calculated. Adjusted relative risks were used to estimate if harm perceptions at W1 predicted W2 new tobacco use.

RESULTS:

The proportion of youth who endorsed "a lot of harm" was highest for cigarettes (84.8%) and lowest for e-cigarettes (26.6%); the proportion of youth who thought products were "more harmful" than cigarettes was highest for cigars (30.6%) and lowest for e-cigarettes (5.1%). Among youth who had not used those products at W1, product-specific new use at W2 ranged from 9.1% (e-cigarettes) to 0.6% (pipes). Youth who believed that noncombustible tobacco products posed "no or little harm" at W1 were more likely to have tried those products at W2 (P < .05). Youth who viewed e-cigarettes, hookah, and smokeless tobacco as "less harmful" than cigarettes at W1 were more likely to try those tobacco products at W2 (P < .05).

CONCLUSIONS:

Low harm perceptions of noncigarette tobacco products predict new use of these products by youth within the next year. Targeting product-specific harm perceptions may prevent new tobacco use among youth.

Ethical Issues in Gender-Affirming Care for Youth

Transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) youth who suffer from gender dysphoria are at a substantially elevated risk of numerous adverse physical and psychosocial outcomes compared with their cisgender peers. Innovative treatment options used to support and affirm an individual’s preferred gender identity can help resolve gender dysphoria and avoid many negative sequelae of nontreatment. Yet, despite advances in these relatively novel treatment options, which appear to be highly effective in addressing gender dysphoria and mitigating associated adverse outcomes, ethical challenges abound in ensuring that young patients receive appropriate, safe, affordable treatment and that access to this treatment is fair and equitable. Ethical considerations in gender-affirming care for TGNC youth span concerns about meeting the obligations to maximize treatment benefit to patients (beneficence), minimizing harm (nonmaleficence), supporting autonomy for pediatric patients during a time of rapid development, and addressing justice, including equitable access to care for TGNC youth. Moreover, although available data describing the use of gender-affirming treatment options are encouraging, and the risks of not treating TGNC youth with gender dysphoria are evident, little is known about the long-term effects of both hormonal and surgical interventions in this population. To support ethical decision-making about treatment options, we encourage the development of a comprehensive registry in the United States to track long-term patient outcomes. In the meantime, providers who work with TGNC youth and their families should endeavor to offer ethically sound, patient-centered, gender-affirming care based on the best currently available evidence.

Access to the Medical Home Among Children With and Without Special Health Care Needs

OBJECTIVES:

The medical home is central to providing quality health care for children. Access to the medical home has historically been tracked by using the National Survey of Children With Special Health Care Needs and the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH). Between 2012 and 2015, the NSCH was redesigned, combining the 2 surveys into a single, annual assessment. In this study, we provide the latest estimates of medical home access among children in the United States.

METHODS:

We used data from the 2016 NSCH (N = 50 212). Medical home access was defined as a composite measure composed of 5 subcomponents (usual source of care, personal doctor or nurse, referral access, receipt of care coordination, and receipt of family-centered care) for 50 177 US children aged 0 to 17 years. We conducted bivariate analyses and logistic regression to examine the sociodemographic and health characteristics associated with reported attainment of the medical home composite measure and each subcomponent. Analyses were survey weighted.

RESULTS:

In 2016, 43.2% of children with special health care needs (CSHCN) and 50.0% of non-CSHCN were reported to have access to a medical home. Attainment of the medical home composite measure varied significantly by sociodemographic characteristics among both CSHCN and non-CSHCN, as did attainment rates for each of the 5 subcomponents. The medical complexity of CSHCN was also associated with attainment rates of all outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS:

The medical home incorporates elements of care considered necessary for providing comprehensive, quality care. Our results indicate that there is still room to improve access to the medical home among all children.

Improving Emergency Department Care for Pediatric Victims of Sexual Abuse

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:

Evidence-based medical care of sexual abuse victims who present to the pediatric emergency department (PED) is necessary to facilitate forensic evidence collection and prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Adherence to testing and treatment guidelines remains low in PEDs, despite recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We aimed to increase the proportion of patient encounters at a PED for reported sexual abuse that receive algorithm-adherent care from 57% to 90% within 12 months.

METHODS:

Our team of PED and child abuse pediatricians outlined our theory for improvement, and multiple plan-do-study-act cycles were conducted to test interventions that were aimed at key drivers. Interventions included the construction of a best practice algorithm derived from published guidelines, targeted clinician education, and integration of an electronic order set. Our primary outcome was the proportion of patient encounters in which care adhered to algorithm recommendations. Data were abstracted from the records of all patient encounters evaluated in the PED for reported sexual abuse.

RESULTS:

We analyzed 657 visits between July 2015 and January 2018. The proportion of patient encounters with algorithm-adherent care improved from 57% to 87% during the study period. This improvement has been sustained for 13 months. Failure to test for hepatitis and syphilis constituted the majority of nonadherent care.

CONCLUSIONS:

Using improvement methodology, we successfully increased algorithm-adherent evaluation and management of patients presenting for sexual abuse. Targeted education and an electronic order set were associated with improved adherence to a novel care algorithm.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Due to Maternal Kratom Use

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is increasing in incidence and most commonly associated with maternal opioid use during pregnancy. Nonopioid alternatives to treat opioid dependence are highly sought after in the country’s current opioid epidemic. Whether Kratom, a legal, widely available herbal supplement, should be classified as an opioid is contentious. Although the US Food and Drug Administration has recently addressed this controversy, Kratom continues to be marketed as a nonopioid remedy for opioid withdrawal. Its use is increasing in the United States. We describe an infant with NAS born to a mother with daily Kratom tea ingestion to self-treat opioid dependence. Pediatricians and parents should be aware of the risk of NAS due to Kratom use during pregnancy.

Risk Stratification of Febrile Infants <=60 Days Old Without Routine Lumbar Puncture

OBJECTIVES:

To evaluate the Rochester and modified Philadelphia criteria for the risk stratification of febrile infants with invasive bacterial infection (IBI) who do not appear ill without routine cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) testing.

METHODS:

We performed a case-control study of febrile infants ≤60 days old presenting to 1 of 9 emergency departments from 2011 to 2016. For each infant with IBI (defined as a blood [bacteremia] and/or CSF [bacterial meningitis] culture with growth of a pathogen), controls without IBI were matched by site and date of visit. Infants were excluded if they appeared ill or had a complex chronic condition or if data for any component of the Rochester or modified Philadelphia criteria were missing.

RESULTS:

Overall, 135 infants with IBI (118 [87.4%] with bacteremia without meningitis and 17 [12.6%] with bacterial meningitis) and 249 controls were included. The sensitivity of the modified Philadelphia criteria was higher than that of the Rochester criteria (91.9% vs 81.5%; P = .01), but the specificity was lower (34.5% vs 59.8%; P < .001). Among 67 infants >28 days old with IBI, the sensitivity of both criteria was 83.6%; none of the 11 low-risk infants had bacterial meningitis. Of 68 infants ≤28 days old with IBI, 14 (20.6%) were low risk per the Rochester criteria, and 2 had meningitis.

CONCLUSIONS:

The modified Philadelphia criteria had high sensitivity for IBI without routine CSF testing, and all infants >28 days old with bacterial meningitis were classified as high risk. Because some infants with bacteremia were classified as low risk, infants discharged from the emergency department without CSF testing require close follow-up.

Neonatal Outcomes of Very Preterm or Very Low Birth Weight Triplets

OBJECTIVES:

To compare the neonatal outcomes of very preterm triplets with those of matched singletons using a large international cohort.

METHODS:

A retrospective matched-cohort study of preterm triplets and singletons born between 2007 and 2013 in the International Network for Evaluation of Outcomes in neonates database countries and matched by gestational age, sex, and country of birth was conducted. The primary outcome was a composite of mortality or severe neonatal morbidity (severe neurologic injury, treated retinopathy of prematurity, and bronchopulmonary dysplasia). Unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for model 1 (maternal hypertension and birth weight z score) and model 2 (variables in model 1, antenatal steroids, and mode of birth). Models were fitted with generalizing estimating equations and random effects modeling to account for clustering.

RESULTS:

A total of 6079 triplets of 24 to 32 weeks’ gestation or 500 to 1499 g birth weight and 18 232 matched singletons were included. There was no difference in the primary outcome between triplets and singletons (23.4% vs 24.0%, adjusted odds ratio: 0.91, 95% CI: 0.83–1.01 for model 1 and 1.00, 95% CI: 0.90–1.11 for model 2). Rates of severe neonatal morbidities did not differ significantly between triplets and singletons. The results were also similar for a subsample of the cohort (1648 triplets and 4944 matched singletons) born at 24 to 28 weeks’ gestation.

CONCLUSIONS:

No significant differences were identified in mortality or major neonatal morbidities between triplets who were very low birth weight or very preterm and matched singletons.

Screening for Iron Deficiency in Early Childhood Using Serum Ferritin in the Primary Care Setting

OBJECTIVES:

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends universal screening for anemia using hemoglobin at 12 months. However, hemoglobin lacks diagnostic accuracy for iron deficiency, and the optimal age for screening has not been determined. Our objective was to assess a screening strategy for iron deficiency using serum ferritin.

METHODS:

We conducted a cross-sectional study of children 1 to 3 years old attending a health supervision visit. We examined the relationship between child age and serum ferritin, age and hemoglobin, hemoglobin and serum ferritin, and the prevalence of elevated C-reactive protein (CRP).

RESULTS:

Restricted cubic spline analysis (n = 1735) revealed a nonlinear relationship between age and serum ferritin (P < .0001). A linear spline model revealed that from 12 to 15 months, for each 1-month increase in age, serum ferritin levels decreased by 9% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 5 to 13). From 15 to 24 months, the rate of change was nonsignificant. From 24 to 38 months, for each month increase in age, serum ferritin increased by 2% (95% CI: 1 to 2). For hemoglobin, from 12 to 24 months, the rate of change was nonsignificant. From 24 to 38 months, for each 1-month increase in age, hemoglobin increased by 20% (95% CI: 9 to 32). Compared with the serum ferritin cutoff of <12 μg/L, the hemoglobin cutoff of <110 g/L had a sensitivity of 25% (95% CI: 19 to 32) and a specificity of 89% (95% CI: 87 to 91). Elevated CRP ≥10 mg/L occurred in 3.3% (95% CI: 2.5 to 4.2).

CONCLUSIONS:

Screening for iron deficiency using serum ferritin at 15 or 18 months may be a promising strategy. For children at low risk for acute inflammation, concurrent measurement of CRP may not be necessary.

Being Overweight or Obese and the Development of Asthma

OBJECTIVES:

Adult obesity is linked to asthma cases and is estimated to lead to 250 000 new cases yearly. Similar incidence and attributable risk (AR) estimates have not been developed for children. We sought to describe the relationship between overweight and obesity and incident asthma in childhood and quantify AR statistics in the United States for overweight and obesity on pediatric asthma.

METHODS:

The PEDSnet clinical data research network was used to conduct a retrospective cohort study (January 2009–December 2015) to compare asthma incidence among overweight and/or obese versus healthy weight 2- to 17-year-old children. Asthma incidence was defined as ≥2 encounters with a diagnosis of asthma and ≥1 asthma controller prescription. Stricter diagnostic criteria involved confirmation by spirometry. We used multivariable Poisson regression analyses to estimate incident asthma rates and risk ratios and accepted formulas for ARs.

RESULTS:

Data from 507 496 children and 19 581 972 encounters were included. The mean participant observation period was 4 years. The adjusted risk for incident asthma was increased among children who were overweight (relative risk [RR]: 1.17; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.10–1.25) and obese (RR: 1.26; 95% CI: 1.18–1.34). The adjusted risk for spirometry-confirmed asthma was increased among children with obesity (RR: 1.29; 95% CI: 1.16–1.42). An estimated 23% to 27% of new asthma cases in children with obesity is directly attributable to obesity. In the absence of overweight and obesity, 10% of all cases of asthma would be avoided.

CONCLUSIONS:

Obesity is a major preventable risk factor for pediatric asthma.

Sex Differences in Mortality and Morbidity of Infants Born at Less Than 30 Weeks Gestation

OBJECTIVE:

To examine whether changes in mortality and morbidities have benefited male more than female infants.

METHODS:

Infants of gestational ages 22 to 29 weeks born between January 2006 and December 2016 at a Vermont Oxford Network center in the United States were studied. We examined mortality and morbidity rate differences and 95% confidence intervals by sex and birth year. We tested temporal differences in mortality and morbidity rates between boys and girls by means of a likelihood ratio test (LRT) on nested binomial regression models with log links.

RESULTS:

A total of 205 750 infants were studied; 97 048 (47.2%) infants were girls. The rate for mortality and chronic lung disease decreased over time faster for boys than for girls (LRT P < .001 for mortality; P = .006 for lung disease). Restricting to centers that remained throughout the entire study period did not change all the above but additionally revealed a significant year-sex interaction for respiratory distress syndrome, with a faster decline among boys (LRT P = .04). Morbidities, including patent ductus arteriosus, necrotizing enterocolitis, early-onset sepsis, late-onset sepsis, severe intraventricular hemorrhage, severe retinopathy of prematurity, and pneumothorax, revealed a constant rate difference between boys and girls over time.

CONCLUSIONS:

Compared with girls, male infants born at <30 weeks’ gestation experienced faster declines in mortality, respiratory distress syndrome, and chronic lung disease over an 11-year period. Future research should investigate which causes of death declined among boys and whether their improved survival has been accompanied by a change in their neurodevelopmental impairment rate.

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