PEDIATRICS recent issues

Early Determination of Prognosis in Neonatal Moderate or Severe Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy


Early determination of prognosis is important in neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Our objective was to test scoring systems developed earlier (original scoring system) and develop new prognostic models.


Secondary analysis of data from the multicenter randomized controlled trial of longer, deeper, or usual care cooling in neonatal HIE (NCT01192776) that enrolled 364 neonates diagnosed with moderate or severe HIE. The primary outcome was death or moderate or severe disability at 18 to 22 months, and secondary outcome was death during initial hospitalization. Testing of early neurologic clinical examination (<6 hours of age) and the original scoring system for prognostic ability was done, followed by development of new scoring systems and classification and regression tree (CART) models by using early clinical variables (<6 hours of age).


For death or disability, the original scoring system correctly classified 75% (95% confidence interval: 69%–81%), whereas the new scoring system correctly classified 78% (73%–82%), and the CART model correctly classified 76% (72%–81%). Early neurologic clinical examination also had a correct classification rate of 76% (71%–80%). Depth and duration of cooling did not affect prediction. Only a few components of the early neurologic examination were associated with poor outcome. For death, the original scoring system correctly classified 72% (66%–77%), the new scoring system 68% (63%–72%), the new CART model 87% (83%–90%), and early neurologic evaluation 81% (77%–85%).


The 3 models (scoring system, CART, and early neurologic evaluation) were comparable in predicting death or disability. For in-hospital death, CART models were superior to scoring systems and early neurologic examination.

Junctional Tachycardia as a Diagnostic Criterion in Acute Rheumatic Fever

Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) is an acute inflammatory process resulting in rheumatic carditis, one of the most common acquired heart diseases in youth. Among the clinical manifestations of carditis, pathologic valve regurgitation and atrioventricular block are included in the criteria for the diagnosis of ARF. Besides atrioventricular block, ARF may often present with other arrhythmias, such as junctional tachycardia (JT). However, JT is currently not recognized as a criterion for the diagnosis of ARF. Three adolescents presented in our hospital with JT, polyarthralgia, and laboratory signs of inflammation with evidence of preceding group A Streptococcus infection. None of the patients fulfilled the diagnostic criteria of ARF. On the basis of the presumed diagnosis of ARF, all 3 patients were treated with intravenous steroids. Steroid therapy was given, and JT converted to sinus rhythm within an average of 62 hours. Subsequent electrocardiograms revealed variable degree of atrioventricular block in all 3 patients, providing clinical evidence and fulfilling the diagnostic criteria of ARF. Patients were monitored for a total 2 to 8 days before discharge on standard antiinflammatory treatment. Follow-up electrocardiograms and Holter monitoring revealed resolution of the atrioventricular block and lack of JT recurrence in all patients. On the basis of these sentinel cases, we propose that JT should be included as a diagnostic criterion for the diagnosis of ARF.

Post-COVID-19 Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis in a 17-Month-Old

Neurologic manifestations of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in pediatric patients have been reported in the acute and postinfectious stages of coronavirus disease 2019. Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) typically presents in children after a viral illness at a mean age of 3 to 7 years. A total of 60% to 90% of literature-reported pediatric patients with ADEM have minimal to no neurologic deficits at long-term follow-up. We present a 17-month-old developmentally typical girl with parental complaints of irritability, upper extremity weakness, and gait disturbance. She presented to the hospital afebrile and irritable with right-sided nasolabial fold flattening, neck stiffness, left upper extremity rigidity, right upper extremity paresis, bilateral lower extremity hyperreflexia, and truncal ataxia. During her hospital course, she became somnolent with autonomic instability and was transferred to intensive care. Contrasted brain MRI revealed diffuse patchy T2 hyperintensities without contrast enhancement. Nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction and serum antibody testing results were positive. Cerebral spinal fluid analysis was unremarkable. Respiratory viral panel and autoimmune encephalitis and demyelinating disorders panel results were negative. She was started on high-dose methylprednisolone and intravenous immunoglobulin, with improvement in mental status, focal deficits, and ambulation. After hospital discharge, she received inpatient rehabilitation for 2 weeks and at 2 month follow-up had a full neurologic recovery. We report the youngest case of postinfectious ADEM due to SARS-CoV-2 in a toddler. Early recognition of autoimmune and inflammatory complications of SARS-CoV-2 is vital for early aggressive immunomodulatory treatment and, consequently, improved morbidity in these patients.

Early Childhood Caries in Indigenous Communities

The oral health of Indigenous children of Canada (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) and the United States (American Indian and Alaska native) is a major child health disparity when compared with the general population of both countries. Early childhood caries (ECC) occurs in Indigenous children at an earlier age, with a higher prevalence, and at much greater severity than in the general population. ECC results in adverse oral health, affecting childhood health and well-being, and may result in high rates of costly surgical treatment under general anesthesia. ECC is an infectious disease that is influenced by multiple factors, but the social determinants of health are particularly important. This policy statement includes recommendations for preventive and clinical oral health care for infants, toddlers, preschool-aged children, and pregnant women by primary health care providers. It also addresses community-based health-promotion initiatives and access to dental care for Indigenous children. This policy statement encourages oral health interventions at early ages in Indigenous children, including referral to dental care for the use of sealants, interim therapeutic restorations, and silver diamine fluoride. Further community-based research on the microbiology, epidemiology, prevention, and management of ECC in Indigenous communities is also needed to reduce the dismally high rate of caries in this population.