PEDIATRICS recent issues

Helping Babies Survive Programs as an Impetus for Quality Improvement

Achieving the ambitious reduction in global neonatal mortality targeted in the Sustainable Development Goals and Every Newborn Action Plan will require reducing geographic disparities in newborn deaths through targeted implementation of evidence-based practices. Helping Babies Survive, a suite of educational programs targeting the 3 leading causes of neonatal mortality, has been commonly used to educate providers in evidence-based practices in low-resource settings. Quality improvement (QI) can play a pivotal role in translating this education into improved care. Measurement of key process and outcome indicators, derived from the algorithms ("Action Plans") central to these training programs, can assist health care providers in understanding the baseline quality of their care, identifying gaps, and assessing improvement. Helping Babies Survive has been the focus of QI programs in Kenya, Nepal, Honduras, and Ethiopia, with critical lessons learned regarding the challenge of measurement, necessity of facility-based QI mentorship and multidisciplinary teams, and importance of systemic commitment to improvement in promoting a culture of QI. Complementing education with QI strategies to identify and close remaining gaps in newborn care will be essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Every Newborn Action Plan targets in the coming decade.

Achieving Country-Wide Scale for Helping Babies Breathe and Helping Babies Survive

Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) was piloted in 2009 as a program targeted to reduce neonatal mortality (NM). The program has morphed into a suite of programs termed Helping Babies Survive that includes Essential Care for Every Baby. Since 2010, the HBB and Helping Babies Survive training programs have been taught to >850 000 providers in 80 countries. Initial HBB training is associated with a significant improvement in knowledge and skills. However, at refresher training, there is a knowledge-skill gap evident, with a falloff in skills. Accumulating evidence supports the role for frequent refresher resuscitation training in facilitating skills retention. Beyond skill acquisition, HBB has been associated with a significant reduction in early NM (<24 hours) and fresh stillbirth rates. To evaluate the large-scale impact of the growth of skilled birth attendants, we analyzed NM rates in sub-Saharan Africa (n = 11) and Nepal (as areas of growing HBB implementation). All have revealed a consistent reduction in NM at 28 days between 2009 and 2018; a mean reduction of 5.34%. The number of skilled birth attendants, an indirect measure of HBB sustained rollout, reveals significant correlation with NM, fresh stillbirth, and perinatal mortality rates, highlighting HBB’s success and the need for continued efforts to train frontline providers. A novel live newborn resuscitation trainer as well as a novel app (HBB Prompt) have been developed, increasing knowledge and skills while providing simulation-based repeated practice. Ongoing challenges in sustaining resources (financial and other) for newborn programming emphasize the need for innovative implementation strategies and training tools.

Lessons Learned From Helping Babies Survive in Humanitarian Settings

Humanitarian crises, driven by disasters, conflict, and disease epidemics, have profound effects on society, including on people’s health and well-being. Occurrences of conflict by state and nonstate actors have increased in the last 2 decades: by the end of 2018, an estimated 41.3 million internally displaced persons and 20.4 million refugees were reported worldwide, representing a 70% increase from 2010. Although public health response for people affected by humanitarian crisis has improved in the last 2 decades, health actors have made insufficient progress in the use of evidence-based interventions to reduce neonatal mortality. Indeed, on average, conflict-affected countries report higher neonatal mortality rates and lower coverage of key maternal and newborn health interventions compared with non–conflict-affected countries. As of 2018, 55.6% of countries with the highest neonatal mortality rate (≥30 per 1000 live births) were affected by conflict and displacement. Systematic use of new evidence-based interventions requires the availability of a skilled health workforce and resources as well as commitment of health actors to implement interventions at scale. A review of the implementation of the Helping Babies Survive training program in 3 refugee responses and protracted conflict settings identify that this training is feasible, acceptable, and effective in improving health worker knowledge and competency and in changing newborn care practices at the primary care and hospital level. Ultimately, to improve neonatal survival, in addition to a trained health workforce, reliable supply and health information system, community engagement, financial support, and leadership with effective coordination, policy, and guidance are required.

Using Helping Mothers Survive to Improve Intrapartum Care

Data from the past decade have revealed that neonatal mortality represents a growing burden of the under-5 mortality rate. To further reduce these deaths, the focus must expand to include building capacity of the workforce to provide high-quality obstetric and intrapartum care. Obstetric complications, such as hypertensive disorders and obstructed labor, are significant contributors to neonatal morbidity and mortality. A well-prepared workforce with the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes, and motivation is required to rapidly detect and manage these complications to save both maternal and newborn lives. Traditional off-site, didactic, and lengthy training approaches have not always yielded the desired results. Helping Mothers Survive training was modeled after Helping Babies Breathe and incorporates further evidence-based methodology to deliver training on-site to the entire team of providers, who continue to practice after training with their peers. Research has revealed that significant gains in health outcomes can be reached by using this approach. In the coronavirus disease 2019 era, we must look to translate the best practices of these training programs into a flexible and sustainable model that can be delivered remotely to maintain quality services to women and their newborns.

X-Linked Myotubular Myopathy and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in a Preterm Infant: A Rare Combination

Disorders of central and peripheral nervous system should be considered in floppy infants with ventilator dependence. Workup for neuromuscular disorders should be undertaken in infants with hypotonia, weakness, contractures, feeding difficulties, or failed attempts at extubation. We present the case of a preterm infant with hypotonia and ventilator dependence where despite a positive result, further investigations were undertaken because of lack of clinical correlation. The infant had a rare combination of 2 neuromuscular conditions: X-linked myotubular myopathy and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. One was the reason for immediate clinical manifestation and the other influenced the prognosis and decision-making in determining reorientation of care. This case demonstrates the value of interpretation of a positive result that did not explain the clinical picture and warranted consideration of further diagnosis. This case also emphasizes the importance of discussions with family about the prognosis of 2 conditions that influenced decision making.

Improving Hospitalized Children's Sleep by Reducing Excessive Overnight Blood Pressure Monitoring

BACKGROUND:

Although required for healing, sleep is often disrupted during hospitalization. Blood pressure (BP) monitoring can be especially disruptive for pediatric inpatients and has few clinical indications. Our aim in this pilot study was to reduce unnecessary overnight BP monitoring and improve sleep for pediatric inpatients.

METHODS:

The intervention in June 2018 involved clinician education sessions and updated electronic health record (EHR) orders that enabled the forgoing of overnight BP checks. The postintervention period from July 2018 to May 2019 examined patient-caregiver surveys as outcome measures. These surveys measured inpatient sleep and overnight disruptions and were adopted from validated surveys: the Patient Sleep Questionnaire, expanded Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire, and Potential Hospital Sleep Disruptions and Noises Questionnaire. Uptake of new sleep-friendly EHR orders was a process measure. Reported patient care escalations served as a balancing measure.

RESULTS:

Interrupted time series analysis of EHR orders (npre = 493; npost = 1472) showed an increase in intercept for the proportion of patients forgoing overnight BP postintervention (+50.7%; 95% confidence interval 41.2% to 60.3%; P < .001) and a subsequent decrease in slope each week (–0.16%; 95% confidence interval –0.32% to –0.01%; P = .037). Statistical process control of surveys (npre = 263; npost = 131) showed a significant increase in sleep duration for patients older than 2, and nighttime disruptions by clinicians decreased by 19% (P < .001). Annual estimated cost savings were $15 842.01. No major adverse events in patients forgoing BP were reported.

CONCLUSIONS:

A pilot study combining EHR changes and clinician education safely decreased overnight BP checks, increased pediatric inpatient sleep duration, and reduced nighttime disruptions by clinicians.

Increasing Early Childhood Screening in Primary Care Through a Quality Improvement Collaborative

OBJECTIVES:

Multiple early childhood screenings are recommended, but gaps persist in implementation. Our aim for this project was to improve screening, discussion, referral, and follow-up of development, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), maternal depression, and social determinants of health (SDoH) to 90% by July 2018.

METHODS:

This 1-year national quality improvement collaborative involved 19 pediatric primary care practices. Supported by virtual and in-person learning opportunities, practice teams implemented changes to early childhood screening. Monthly chart reviews were used to assess screening, discussion, referral, and follow-up for development, ASD, maternal depression, and SDoH. Parent surveys were used to assess parent-reported screening and referral and/or resource provision. Practice self-ratings and team surveys were used to assess practice-level changes.

RESULTS:

Participating practices included independent, academic, hospital-affiliated, and multispecialty group practices and community health centers in 12 states. The collaborative met development and ASD screening goals of >90%. Largest increases in screening occurred for maternal depression (27% to 87%; +222%; P < .001) and SDoH (26% to 76%; +231%; P < .001). Statistically significant increases in discussion of results occurred for all screening areas. For referral, significant increases were seen for development (53% to 86%; P < .001) and maternal depression (23% to 100%; P = .008). Parents also reported increased screening and referral and/or resource provision. Practice-level changes included improved systems to support screening.

CONCLUSIONS:

Practices successfully implemented multiple screenings and demonstrated improvement in subsequent discussion, referral, and follow-up steps. Continued advocacy for adequate resources to support referral and follow-up is needed to translate increased screening into improved health outcomes.

Primary Substance Use Prevention Programs for Children and Youth: A Systematic Review

CONTEXT:

An updated synthesis of research on substance abuse prevention programs can promote enhanced uptake of programs with proven effectiveness, particularly when paired with information relevant to practitioners and policy makers.

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the strength of the scientific evidence for psychoactive substance abuse prevention programs for school-aged children and youth.

DATA SOURCES:

A systematic review was conducted of studies published up until March 31, 2020.

STUDY SELECTION:

Articles on substance abuse prevention programs for school-aged children and youth were independently screened and included if they met eligibility criteria: (1) the program was designed for a general population of children and youth (ie, not designed for particular target groups), (2) the program was delivered to a general population, (3) the program only targeted children and youth, and (4) the study included a control group.

DATA EXTRACTION:

Two reviewers independently evaluated study quality and extracted outcome data.

RESULTS:

Ninety studies met eligibility criteria, representing 16 programs. Programs evaluated with the largest combined sample sizes were Drug Abuse Resistance Education, Project Adolescent Learning Experiences Resistance Training, Life Skills Training (LST), the Adolescent Alcohol Prevention Trial, and Project Choice.

LIMITATIONS:

Given the heterogeneity of outcomes measured in the included studies, it was not possible to conduct a statistical meta-analysis of program effectiveness.

CONCLUSIONS:

The most research has been conducted on the LST program. However, as with other programs included in this review, studies of LST effectiveness varied in quality. With this review, we provide an updated summary of evidence for primary prevention program effectiveness.

Microcephaly, Hypotonia, and Intracranial Calcifications in an 11-Week-Old Boy

An 11-week-old unvaccinated, term Amish boy initially presented with poor feeding, microcephaly, failure to thrive, and developmental delays. His physical examination was significant for both weight and head circumference being less than the third percentile, and he was noted to have micrognathia, truncal hypotonia, and head lag. He was admitted to the pediatric hospital medicine service for further diagnostic evaluation. Laboratory studies assessing for endocrinological and metabolic etiologies yielded negative results, and imaging studies (including a chest radiograph, echocardiogram, and abdominal ultrasound) were normal. However, intracranial calcifications were noted on a head ultrasound. The etiology of his constellation of symptoms was initially thought to be infectious, but the ultimate diagnosis was not made until after discharge from the pediatric hospital medicine service.

Community-Based Epidemiology of Hospitalized Acute Kidney Injury

BACKGROUND:

Acute kidney injury (AKI) may lead to short- and long-term consequences in children, but its epidemiology has not been well described at a population level and outside of ICU settings.

METHODS:

In a large, diverse pediatric population receiving care within an integrated health care delivery system between 2008 and 2016, we calculated age- and sex-adjusted incidences of hospitalized AKI using consensus serum creatinine (SCr)–based diagnostic criteria. We also investigated the proportion of AKI detected in non-ICU settings and the rates of follow-up outpatient SCr testing after AKI hospitalization.

RESULTS:

Among 1 500 546 children, the mean age was 9.8 years, 49.0% were female, and 33.1% were minorities. Age- and sex-adjusted incidence of hospitalized AKI among the entire pediatric population did not change significantly across the study period, averaging 0.70 (95% confidence interval: 0.68–0.73) cases per 1000 person-years. Among the subset of hospitalized children, the adjusted incidence of AKI increased from 6.0% of hospitalizations in 2008 to 8.8% in 2016. Approximately 66.7% of AKI episodes were not associated with an ICU stay, and 54.3% of confirmed, unresolved Stage 2 or 3 AKI episodes did not have outpatient follow-up SCr testing within 30 days postdischarge.

CONCLUSIONS:

Community-based pediatric AKI incidence was ~1 per 1000 per year, with two-thirds of cases not associated with an ICU stay and more than one-half not receiving early outpatient follow-up kidney function testing. Further efforts are needed to increase the systematic recognition of AKI in all inpatient settings with appropriate, targeted postdischarge kidney function monitoring and associated management.

Monitoring Arteriovenous Malformation Response to Genotype-Targeted Therapy

Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) have recently been reported to have a high incidence of somatic KRAS mutations suggesting potential for treatment with mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitors. In this case report, we describe genotype-targeted treatment of a KRAS mutant metameric AVM in a patient with Cobb syndrome using the mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitor trametinib. Therapeutic response was monitored with phase-contrast magnetic resonance angiography to quantify AVM arterial inflow as an imaging biomarker. Treatment with trametinib resulted in a substantial decrease in blood flow to the AVM, with a >75% reduction in arterial inflow after 6 months of trametinib therapy.

Parent Involvement in Adolescent Obesity Treatment: A Systematic Review

CONTEXT:

Family-based lifestyle interventions are recommended for adolescent obesity treatment, yet the optimal role of parents in treatment is unclear.

OBJECTIVE:

To examine systematically the evidence from prospective randomized controlled and/or clinical trials (RCTs) to identify how parents have been involved in adolescent obesity treatment and to identify the optimal type of parental involvement to improve adolescent weight outcomes.

DATA SOURCES:

Data sources included PubMed, PsychINFO, and Medline (inception to July 2019).

STUDY SELECTION:

RCTs evaluating adolescent (12–18 years of age) obesity treatment interventions that included parents were reviewed. Studies had to include a weight-related primary outcome (BMI and BMI z score).

DATA EXTRACTION:

Eligible studies were identified and reviewed, following the Preferred Reporting for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Study quality and risk of bias were evaluated by using the Cochrane Collaboration risk of bias tool.

RESULTS:

This search identified 32 studies, of which 23 were unique RCTs. Only 5 trials experimentally manipulated the role of parents. There was diversity in the treatment target (parent, adolescent, or both) and format (group sessions, separate sessions, or mixed) of the behavioral weight loss interventions. Many studies lacked detail and/or assessments of parent-related behavioral strategies. In ~40% of unique trials, no parent-related outcomes were reported, whereas parent weight was reported in 26% and associations between parent and adolescent weight change were examined in 17%.

LIMITATIONS:

Only RCTs published in English in peer-reviewed journals were eligible for inclusion.

CONCLUSIONS:

Further research, with detailed reporting, is needed to inform clinical guidelines related to optimizing the role of parents in adolescent obesity treatment.

Early Postnatal Discharge for Infants: A Meta-analysis

CONTEXT:

Postnatal length of hospital stay has reduced internationally but evidence-based policies to support earlier discharge are lacking.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the effects of early postnatal discharge on infant outcomes.

DATA SOURCES:

CENTRAL (Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials), Medline, Embase, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature , and SCI (Science Citation Index) were searched through to January 15, 2018.

STUDY SELECTION:

Studies reporting infant outcomes with early postnatal discharge versus standard discharge were included if they met Effective Practice and Organisation of Care study design criteria.

DATA EXTRACTION:

Two authors independently assessed eligibility and extracted data, resolving disagreements by consensus. Data from interrupted time series (ITS) studies were extracted and reanalyzed in meta-analyses. Meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) used random effects models.

RESULTS:

Of 9298 studies, 15 met the inclusion criteria. RCT meta-analyses revealed that infants discharged <48 hours after vaginal birth and <96 hours after cesarean birth were more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 28 days compared to standard discharge (risk ratio: 1.70; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.34 to 2.15). ITS meta-analyses revealed a reduction in the proportion of infants readmitted within 28 days after minimum postnatal stay policies and legislation were introduced (change in slope: –0.62; 95% CI –1.83 to 0.60), with increasing impact in the first and second years (effect estimate: –4.27 [95% CI –7.91 to –0.63] and –6.23 [95% CI –10.15 to –2.32]).

LIMITATIONS:

Withdrawals and crossover limited the value of RCTs in this context but not ITS evidence.

CONCLUSIONS:

Infants discharged early after birth were more likely to be admitted within 28 days. The introduction of postnatal minimum length of stay policies was associated with a long-term reduction in neonatal hospital readmission rates.

Trends in Mortality and Costs of Pediatric Extracorporeal Life Support

BACKGROUND:

Extracorporeal life support (ECLS) has been used for >30 years as a life-sustaining therapy in critically ill patients for a variety of indications. In the current study, we aimed to examine trends in use, mortality, length of stay (LOS), and costs for pediatric ECLS hospitalizations.

METHODS:

We performed a retrospective cohort study of pediatric patients (between the ages of 28 days and <21 years) on ECLS using the 2008–2015 National Inpatient Sample, the largest all-payer inpatient hospitalization database generated from hospital discharges. Nonparametric and Cochran-Armitage tests for trend were used to study in-hospital mortality, LOS, and hospitalization costs.

RESULTS:

Of the estimated 5847 patients identified and included for analysis, ECLS was required for respiratory failure (36.4%), postcardiotomy syndrome (25.9%), mixed cardiopulmonary failure (21.7%), cardiogenic shock (13.1%), and transplanted graft dysfunction (2.9%). The rate of ECLS hospitalizations increased 329%, from 11 to 46 cases per 100 000 pediatric hospitalizations, from 2008 to 2015 (P < .001). Overall mortality decreased from 50.3% to 34.6% (P < .001). Adjusted hospital costs increased significantly ($214 046 ± 11 822 to 324 841 ± 25 621; P = .002) during the study period despite a stable overall hospital LOS (46 ± 6 to 44 ± 4 days; P = .94).

CONCLUSIONS:

Use of ECLS in pediatric patients has increased with substantially improved ECLS survival rates. Hospital costs have increased significantly despite a stable LOS in this group. Dissemination of this costly yet life-saving technology warrants ongoing analysis of use trends to identify areas for quality improvement.

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