PEDIATRICS recent issues

Principles of Care for Young Adults With Co-Occurring Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders

Over 50% of young adults (defined as individuals aged 18–25 years) with substance use disorders (SUDs) have at least 1 co-occurring psychiatric disorder, and the presence of co-occurring disorders worsens SUD outcomes. Treatment of both co-occurring psychiatric disorders and SUDs in young adults is imperative for optimal treatment, yet many barriers exist to achieving this goal. We present a series of evidence-informed principles of care for young adults with co-occurring psychiatric disorders derived by a workgroup of experts convened by Boston Medical Center’s Grayken Center for Addiction. The 3 principles are as follows: (1) young adults should receive integrated mental health and addiction care across treatment settings; (2) care should be responsive to the needs of young adults exposed to trauma and other adverse childhood experiences; and (3) treatment programs should regularly assess and respond to the evolving mental health needs, motivations, and treatment goals of young adults with co-occurring disorders. Our guidance for each principle is followed by a review of the evidence supporting that principle, as well as practice considerations for implementation. More research among young adults is critical to identify effective treatments and service systems for those with co-occurring disorders.

Behavior Problems During Early Childhood in Children With Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

The effects of in utero methamphetamine exposure on behavioral problems in school-aged children are unclear. Our objective for this study was to evaluate behavior problems in children at aged 3, 5, and 7.5 years who were prenatally exposed to methamphetamine.

METHODS:

Subjects were enrolled in the Infant Development, Environment, and Lifestyle study, a longitudinal prospective study of prenatal methamphetamine exposure and child outcomes. Exposed and comparison groups were matched on birth weight, race, education, and health insurance.  At ages 3, 5, and 7.5 years, 339 children (171 exposed) were assessed for behavior problems by using the Child Behavior Checklist. Generalized estimating equations were used to determine the effects of prenatal methamphetamine exposure, age, and the interaction of exposure and age on behavior problems. Caregiver psychological symptoms were assessed by using the Brief Symptom Inventory.

RESULTS:

Analyses adjusted for covariates revealed that relative to age 3, children at 5 years had less externalizing and aggressive behavior and more internalizing behavior, somatic complaints, and withdrawn behavior.  By age 7.5, aggressive behavior continued to decrease, attention problems increased and withdrawn behavior decreased. There were no main effects for methamphetamine exposure and no interactions of exposure and age.  Caregiver psychological symptoms predicted all behavior problems and the quality of the home predicted externalizing problems and externalizing syndrome scores.

CONCLUSIONS:

Behavioral effects longitudinally from ages 3 to 7.5 years were not associated with prenatal methamphetamine exposure, whereas caregiver psychological symptoms and the quality of the home were predictors of behavior problems.

Sexual Experiences of Young Transgender Persons During and After Gender-Affirmative Treatment

OBJECTIVES:

Early gender-affirmative treatment (GAT) of adolescents may consist of puberty suppression, use of affirming hormones, and gender-affirmative surgeries. This treatment can potentially influence sexual development. In the current study, we describe sexual and romantic development during and after treatment.

METHODS:

The participants were 113 transgender adolescents treated with puberty suppression, affirmative hormones, and affirmative surgery who were assessed as young adults (38 transwomen and 75 transmen; mean age 20.79 years, SD 1.36) during and after their GAT. A questionnaire on sexual experiences, romantic experiences, and subjective sexual experiences was administered and compared to the experiences of a same-aged sample from a Dutch general population study (N = 4020).

RESULTS:

One year post surgery, young transgender adults reported a significant increase in experiences with all types of sexual activities: masturbation increased from 56.4% to 81.7%, petting while undressed increased from 57.1% to 78.7%, and sexual intercourse increased from 16.2% to 37.6% post surgery compared to presurgery. Young transmen and transwomen were almost equally experienced. In comparison with the general population, young transgender adults were less experienced with all types of sexual activities.

CONCLUSIONS:

Early GAT (including puberty suppression, affirmative hormones, and surgeries) may provide young transgender adults with the opportunity to increase their romantic and sexual experiences.

Quality Improvement Incorporating a Feedback Loop for Accurate Medication Reconciliation

OBJECTIVES:

Medication reconciliation errors on hospital admission can lead to significant patient harm. A pediatric intermediate care unit initiated a quality improvement project and aimed to reduce errors in admission medication reconciliation by 50% in 12 months.

METHODS:

From August 2017 to December 2018, a multidisciplinary team conducted a quality improvement project with plan-do-study-act methodology. Continuous data collection was achieved by reviewing medications with home caregivers within 18 hours of admission to identify errors. Cycle 1 consisted of nursing training in accurate and thorough medication history documentation. Cycle 2 was aimed at improving data collection. Cycle 3 was aimed at improving pediatric housestaff processes for medication reconciliation. In cycle 4 intervention, the reconciliation process was redesigned to incorporate the bedside nurse reviewing final medication orders with the patient’s home caregivers once the medication reconciliation process was complete. Intermittent maintenance data collection continued for 12 months thereafter.

RESULTS:

Cycle 1 and 2 interventions resulted in improvement in the medication reconciliation error rate from 9.8% to 4.7%. In cycle 2, the data collection rate improved from 61% to 80% of admissions sustained. Cycle 3 resulted in a further reduction in the medication error rate to 2.9%, which was sustained in cycle 4 and over the 12-month maintenance period. A patient’s number of home medications did not correlate with the error rate.

CONCLUSIONS:

Reductions in admission medication reconciliation errors can be achieved with staff education on medication history and process for medication reconciliation and with process redesign that incorporates active medication order review as a closed-loop communication with home caregivers.

Knee Joint Swelling at Presentation: A Case of Pediatric Crohn Disease With a TNFAIP3 Mutation

Crohn disease (CD) is a chronic inflammatory disease, and its incidence in children is rising. Despite extensive reports and investigations, the pathogenesis of CD has not been clearly elucidated, particularly in regard to triggering factors. A genetic predisposition is considered important when investigating the mechanism leading to CD, and the discovery of new CD-associated genes has increased our understanding of its immunopathogenesis and improved the efficacy of its treatment of CD. Early detection and treatment (eg, as children) with gene-based precision therapy can effectively prevent complications related to CD. In this case, a Chinese Han boy with CD associated with a mutation of tumor necrosis factor α-induced protein 3 was treated with recombinant human tumor necrosis factor-a receptor II:IgG Fc fusion protein. We suspected the boy had CD because of chronic abdominal pain, aphthous stomatitis, moderate anemia, a high erythrocyte sedimentation rate (36–79 mm/h), multiple intestinal ulcers, knee joint swelling, and a tumor necrosis factor α-induced protein 3 mutation. After total enteral nutrition and hormone therapy for 5 months, his abdominal pain and joint symptoms did not improve, so we started gene-based precision therapy with recombinant human tumor necrosis factor-a receptor II: IgG Fc fusion protein, which may play an important role in restricting TNF-α-induced NF-B signaling. After 3 weeks, inflammation indicators were within the normal range, and multiple ulcers and joint symptoms were relieved. The present case demonstrates a safe therapeutic schedule that leads to rapid improvements in the clinical and biochemical status of patients with CD.

Simulation Education for Preterm Infant Delivery Room Management at Community Hospitals

BACKGROUND:

Preterm infants are at risk for hypothermia in the delivery room (DR). Hypothermia and community hospital delivery are factors associated with increased morbidities and mortality in preterm infants. Community hospital providers have less experience with preterm deliveries and thermoregulation methods in the DR.

METHODS:

Community hospital DR providers in Indiana completed a cognitive test evaluating preterm infant DR management. A simulation-based team assessment was evaluated by using a scoring tool. After debriefing, the simulation performance was repeated and rescored. Afterward, providers completed a cognitive knowledge posttest. Eleven to eighteen months later, sites were revisited with cognitive knowledge and team simulated scenarios reassessed.

RESULTS:

Twenty-five community hospitals with >400 multidisciplinary providers participated in the initial study visit. Average pre- and posttest scores were 48.8% and 94.1% respectively (P value <.001). Participants performed an average of 22.8 of 36 scoring items during a simulated preterm delivery including 4.4 of 8 thermoregulation related actions. Performance immediately improved in a statistically significant manner during the repeat scenario. When sites were revisited, participants performed an average of 26.7 of 36 scoring items including 6.1 of 8 thermoregulation actions during a simulated preterm delivery a statistically significant (P <.001) improvement from the initial visit.

CONCLUSIONS:

Simulation education regarding preterm infant DR management improved community providers immediate knowledge and skills and also follow-up performance at ~1 year. In simulation, providers performed thermoregulation maneuvers more often and efficiently, critical to resuscitation because delays in thermoregulation can significantly adversely affect outcomes.

A Quality Improvement Intervention to Reduce Postoperative Opiate Use in Neonates

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Opiate use in neonates can affect clinical outcomes after surgery and may alter future neurodevelopment. We implemented a multimodal opioid reduction strategy in our NICU for infants undergoing nonemergent gastrointestinal surgery.

METHODS:

After multiple stakeholder’s meetings, our opioid reduction intervention included giving neonates postoperative standing intravenous acetaminophen every 6 hours for 48 hours, a standardized postsurgical sign-out with the NICU team in which pain control was directly addressed, and a series of postsurgical pain education seminars with NICU providers. To assess the impact of our quality improvement project, we used process control charts to investigate trends in postoperative opioid use in our preintervention (January 2012 to April 2016) and postintervention (May 2016 to September 2019) cohorts.

RESULTS:

A total of 77 infants were included in the study (40 in the preintervention cohort and 37 in the postintervention cohort). Patient characteristics were equivalent. The intervention significantly reduced the trend in postoperative morphine equivalents (median: 7.96 mg/kg in preintervention cohort versus 0.095 mg/kg in postintervention cohort; P < .0001). The Neonatal Pain, Agitation, and Sedation Scale pain scores and safety profiles were equivalent in both groups. The intervention was also associated with a 24-hour reduction in postoperative ventilation time (P < .048) and a 7-day reduction in the use of total parenteral nutrition (P < .017).

CONCLUSIONS:

Standing intravenous acetaminophen coupled with provider education can successfully reduce opioid use in postsurgical neonates. Given the concern for opioid exposure in neonatal neurodevelopment as well as clinical benefits of reduced opioids, similar strategies for opioid reduction may prove useful at other institutions.

Pediatrician Electronic Health Record Time Use for Outpatient Encounters

BACKGROUND:

The time providers spend using their electronic health records (EHRs) delivering care and its potential impact on patient care are of concern for the health care system. In studies to date, researchers have focused on providers who primarily care for adults. Scant information exists for pediatricians. Given this gap, it is important to quantify EHR activity for this group.

METHODS:

We studied pediatricians practicing in US-based ambulatory practices using the Cerner Millennium EHR by extracting data from software log files in the Lights On Network for the calendar year 2018 and summarizing the time spent on each of 13 clinically-focused EHR functions according to clinical specialty.

RESULTS:

Our data included >20 million encounters by almost 30 thousand physicians from 417 health systems. Pediatric physicians spent an average of 16 minutes per encounter using their EHR. Chart review (31%), documentation (31%), and ordering (13%) functions accounted for most of the time. The distribution of time spent by providers using their EHR is highly variable within subspecialty but is similar across specialties. Because of data limitations, we were unable to examine geographic or health system–specific variation.

CONCLUSIONS:

Pediatricians, like physicians who care for adults, spend a large portion of their day using their EHR. Additionally, although chart review and documentation accounted for 62% of the activity, as in previously published studies, in our study, we found that chart review accounted for half of that time. Wide variation suggests opportunities to optimize both the processes of entering information and searching for patient data within the EHR.

The Effectiveness of Working Memory Training for Children With Low Working Memory

OBJECTIVES:

Subgroups of children may benefit more from working memory training than others. In this study, we aimed to examine whether response to the Cogmed Working Memory Training program differed for children with low IQ and elevated attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, emotional and behavioral symptoms, special health care needs, or by sex.

METHODS:

We used data from the Memory Maestros trial, a population-based randomized controlled trial of the Cogmed program delivered at school (n = 226) compared to usual teaching (n = 226) in grade 1 children (mean age 6.9 years; SD 0.4) with low working memory. Cogmed comprises 20 to 25 sessions of 45-minute duration over 5 to 7 weeks. Children completed subtests from the Automated Working Memory Assessment to measure change in working memory from baseline to 6 months postrandomization.

RESULTS:

After training, improved working memory standard scores (>1 SD) from baseline to 6 months were observed for approximately one-third of the children, with more than half maintaining stable scores (within 1 SD). However, similar outcomes were observed for children receiving usual teaching. Differential effect of Cogmed versus usual teaching was evident for children with elevated hyperactivity and/or inattention, who were less likely to show improved visuospatial working memory, but not for other subgroups studied.

CONCLUSIONS:

Children with elevated hyperactivity and/or inattention were less likely to show clinically meaningful improvement after Cogmed; however, differential effects were not evident for children with low IQ and elevated emotional and behavioral symptoms, special health care needs, or by sex. More research is needed to determine if training can improve working memory and, if so, for whom.

Motor Impairment in Children With Congenital Heart Defects: A Systematic Review

CONTEXT:

With improvements in survival rates in newborns with congenital heart defects (CHDs), focus has now shifted toward enhancing neurodevelopmental outcomes across their life span.

OBJECTIVE:

To systematically review the prevalence and extent of motor difficulties in infants, children, and adolescents with CHD requiring open-heart surgery.

DATA SOURCES:

Data sources included Embase, Medline and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature.

STUDY SELECTION:

Original studies published between 1997 and 2019 examining gross and/or fine motor skills in children born with a CHD requiring open-heart surgery were selected.

DATA EXTRACTION:

The prevalence of motor impairments and mean scores on standardized motor assessments were extracted. Findings were grouped in 5 categories on the basis of the age of the children.

RESULTS:

Forty-six original studies were included in this systematic review. The prevalence of mild to severe motor impairments (scores <–1 SD below normative data or controls) across childhood ranged from 12.3% to 68.6%, and prevalence ranged from 0% to 60.0% for severe motor impairments (<–2 SDs). Although our results suggest that the overall prevalence of motor impairments <–1 SD remains rather constant across childhood and adolescence, severe motor impairments (<–2 SDs) appear to be more prevalent in younger children.

LIMITATIONS:

Variability in sampling and methodology between the reviewed studies is the most important limitation of this review.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results of this review highlight that infants with CHD have an increased risk of motor impairments across infancy, childhood, and adolescence. These findings stress the importance of systematic screening or evaluation of motor skills across childhood and adolescence in children with CHD.

Severe Lymphatic Disorder Resolved With MEK Inhibition in a Patient With Noonan Syndrome and SOS1 Mutation

Noonan syndrome is a multiorgan system disorder mediated by genetic defects along the RASknown as RASopathies. It is the second most common syndromic cause of congenital heart disease and, in ~20% of the cases, is associated with severe lymphatic disorders, including chylothorax and protein-losing enteropathy. Recently, we reported on the use of mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibition in a patient with an ARAF mutation and severe lymphatic disorder leading to an abrupt improvement in symptoms and complete remodeling of the central lymphatic system. Here, we present a patient with Noonan syndrome and severe lymphatic abnormality, leading to transfusion-dependent upper gastrointestinal bleeding and protein-losing enteropathy. The patient stopped responding to medical therapy and underwent several lymphatic interventional procedures, which led only to a temporary improvement in symptoms. Because of a lack of other treatment options, an expanded access approval was obtained, and the patient initiated treatment by mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibition using trametinib. This led to resolution of her symptoms, with complete normalization of her electrolyte levels, hemoglobin, and albumin within 3 months of starting the drug. Similar to the previously reported case, she also had complete and generalized remodeling of her lymphatic system. In patients with RAS pathway defects complicated by a severe lymphatic disorder, inhibition of the RAS-MAPK pathway should be considered as a possible treatment option in patients who failed conventional treatment and might be a first-line treatment in the future.

Statewide Asthma Learning Collaborative Participation and Asthma-Related Emergency Department Use

BACKGROUND:

Quality improvement (QI) efforts can improve guideline-recommended asthma care processes in the pediatric office setting. We sought to assess whether practice participation in an asthma QI collaborative was associated with decreased asthma-related emergency department (ED) visits.

METHODS:

A statewide network of practices participated in a pediatric asthma QI collaborative from 2015 to 2016. We evaluated asthma-related ED visit rates per 100 child-years for children ages 3 to 21 years with asthma, using the state’s all-payer claims database. We used a difference-in-differences approach, with mixed-effects negative binomial regression models to control for practice and patient covariates. Our main analysis measured the outcome before (2014) and after (2017) the QI collaborative at fully participating and control practices. Additional analyses assessed (1) associations during the intervention period (2016) and (2) associations including practices partially participating in QI collaborative activities.

RESULTS:

In the postintervention year (2017), participating practices’ (n = 20) asthma-related ED visit rate decreased by 5.8 per 100 child-years, compared to an increase of 1.8 per 100 child-years for control practices (n = 15; difference in differences = –7.3; P = .002). Within the intervention year (2016), we found no statistically significant differences in asthma-related ED visit rates compared to controls (difference in differences = –4.3; P = .17). The analysis including partially participating practices yielded similar results and inferences to our main analysis.

CONCLUSIONS:

Participation in an asthma-focused QI collaborative was associated with decreased asthma-related ED visit rates. For those considering implementing this type of QI collaborative, our findings indicate that it takes time to see measurable improvements in ED visit rates. Further study is warranted regarding QI elements contributing to success for partial participants.

Cost-effectiveness of Interventions to Increase HPV Vaccine Uptake

OBJECTIVES:

We sought to prioritize interventions for increasing human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination coverage based on cost-effectiveness from a US state perspective to inform decisions by policy makers.

METHODS:

We developed a dynamic simulation model of HPV transmission and progression scaled to a medium-sized US state (5 million individuals). We modeled outcomes over 50 years comparing no intervention to a one-year implementation of centralized reminder and recall for HPV vaccination, school-located HPV vaccination, or quality improvement (QI) visits to primary care clinics. We used probabilistic sensitivity analysis to assess a range of plausible outcomes associated with each intervention. Cost-effectiveness was evaluated relative to a conservative willingness-to-pay threshold; $50 000 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) .

RESULTS:

All interventions were cost-effective, relative to no intervention. QI visits had the lowest cost and cost per QALY gained ($1538 versus no intervention). Statewide implementation of centralized reminder and recall cost $28 289 per QALY gained versus QI visits. School-located vaccination had the highest cost but was cost-effective at $18 337 per QALY gained versus QI visits. Scaling to the US population, interventions could avert 3000 to 14 000 future HPV cancers. When varying intervention cost and impact over feasible ranges, interventions were typically preferred to no intervention, but cost-effectiveness varied between intervention strategies.

CONCLUSIONS:

Three interventions for increasing HPV vaccine coverage were cost-effective and offered substantial health benefits. Policy makers seeking to increase HPV vaccination should, at minimum, dedicate additional funding for QI visits, which are consistently effective at low cost and may additionally consider more resource-intensive interventions (reminder and recall or school-located vaccination).

New Treatment Option for Capillary Lymphangioma: Bleomycin-Based Electrochemotherapy of an Infant

The treatment of microcystic and combined lymphangiomas, especially in the head and neck region, is still a challenge because the lymphangiomas do not respond to conventional therapies and their recurrence rate is high, regardless of the treatment choice. Complete surgical resection is the main treatment of lymphangiomas, but because of localization perioperative complications, such as bleeding, neural damage and airway obstruction are common disadvantages of this method. Bleomycin-based sclerotherapy is another common therapeutic approach, in which the lymphocysts are aspirated, and 25% to 50% of their volumes are replaced with a sclerotisant drug. This is an effective treatment in cases in which the vessels are large enough for an intravascular or intracystic injection, but because of the small size of vessels and cysts, the microcystic and combined lymphangiomas are not suitable for sclerotherapy. Delivery of drugs for treating sclerosis to endothelial cells can be achieved by electroporation (electrochemotherapy), even for capillary malformations. A congenital, rapidly growing combined lymphangioma of the left cervicofacial region was treated with one session of bleomycin-based electrochemotherapy. Seven months after treatment, the growth-corrected target volume decrease was 63% and the dislocation of the trachea and blood vessels previously observed had ceased. We suggest that bleomycin-based electrochemotherapy is a feasible alternative treatment option for capillary malformations.

Care of Pediatric Solid Organ Transplant Recipients: An Overview for Primary Care Providers

As the number of living pediatric solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients continues to grow, there is an increased likelihood that primary care providers (PCPs) will encounter pediatric SOT recipients in their practices. In addition, as end-stage organ failure is replaced with chronic medical conditions in transplant recipients, there is a need for a comprehensive approach to their management. PCPs can significantly enhance the care of immunosuppressed hosts by advising parents of safety considerations and avoiding adverse drug interactions. Together with subspecialty providers, PCPs are responsible for ensuring that appropriate vaccinations are given and can play an important role in the diagnosis of infections. Through early recognition of rejection and posttransplant complications, PCPs can minimize morbidity. Growth and development can be optimized through frequent assessments and timely referrals. Adherence to immunosuppressive regimens can be greatly improved through reinforcement at every encounter, particularly among adolescents. PCPs can also improve long-term outcomes by easing the transition of pediatric SOT recipients to adult providers. Although guidelines exist for the primary care management of adult SOT recipients, comprehensive guidance is lacking for pediatric providers. In this evidence-based overview, we outline the main issues affecting pediatric SOT recipients and provide guidance for PCPs regarding their management from the first encounter after the transplant to the main challenges that arise in childhood and adolescence. Overall, PCPs can and should use their expertise and serve as an additional layer of support in conjunction with the transplant center for families that are caring for a pediatric SOT recipient.

Financial Interventions to Increase Vaccine Coverage

BACKGROUND:

Recent vaccine mandates in Australia, as in other high income settings, have sought to change the behavior of parents, including those who would otherwise access nonmedical exemptions. Since 2014, Australian state governments have introduced and progressively tightened policies restricting the access of unvaccinated children to early education and child care. In 2016, the Federal Government removed financial entitlements and subsidies from nonvaccinating families. We sought to ascertain the impact of these policies on vaccine coverage rates by state, and also to consider their impact on communities with high numbers of registered refusers.

METHODS:

Interrupted time series models were fitted by using the Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average framework to test for changes in trend in vaccination rates following implementation of government policies.

RESULTS:

Australian vaccine coverage rates were rising before the vaccine mandates and continued to do so subsequently, with no statistically significant changes to coverage rates associated with the interventions. The exception was New South Wales, where vaccine coverage rates were static before the policy intervention, but were increasing at an annual rate of 1.25% after (P < .001). The impact of the policies was indistinguishable between communities with high, medium and low numbers of registered vaccine refusers.

CONCLUSIONS:

In our study, we show that childhood vaccine coverage continued on its positive trajectory without any conclusive evidence of impact of mandatory policies. Overseas policymakers looking to increase coverage rates would be well-advised to examine the contribution of pre-existing and parallel nonmandatory interventions employed by Australian governments to the country’s enhanced coverage.

Incidence of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Children: 2009-2018

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

In 2007, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that children with obesity should be screened for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Population epidemiology reveals that NAFLD is common in children; however, little is known about rates of clinical diagnosis. In this study, we aim to determine screening practices, annual incidence, and clinical characteristics of NAFLD in children within an integrated community health system.

METHODS:

Using electronic health records, we identified patients newly diagnosed (aged 5–18) with NAFLD on the basis of diagnostic codes from the 9th and 10th revisions of the International Classification of Diseases. We calculated screening rates and annual incidence rates of NAFLD from January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2018.

RESULTS:

In this study, we evaluated 7 884 844 patient-years. Screening was performed in 54.0% of children with obesity and 24.0% of children with overweight. The results revealed 36 658 children aged 9 to 18 with overweight or obesity and alanine aminotransferase >30 U/L. Of these children, 12.3% received further workup for NAFLD. The incidence of an NAFLD diagnosis significantly increased over time, with 36.0 per 100 000 in 2009 and 58.2 per 100 000 in 2018 (P < .0001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our study of a large integrated health care system in southern California revealed that the incidence of NAFLD in children is increasing, although many children may remain undiagnosed.

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