Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (730966)

Clipboard (0)

Related Articles

1.  Toward a New Paradigm in Graduate Medical Education in the United States: Elimination of the 24-Hour Call 
Sleep deprivation negatively affects resident performance, education, and safety. Concerns over these effects have prompted efforts to reduce resident hours. This article describes the design and implementation of a scheduling system with no continuous 24-hour calls. Aims included meeting Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education work hour requirements without increasing resident complement, maximizing continuity of learning and patient care, maintaining patient care quality, and acceptance by residents, faculty, and administration.
Various coverage options were formulated and discussed. The final schedule was the product of consensus. After re-engineering the master rotation schedule, service-specific conversion of on-call schedules was initiated in July 2003 and completed in July 2004. Annual in-training and certifying examination performance, length of stay, patient mortalities, resident motor vehicle accidents/near misses, and resident satisfaction with the new scheduling system were tracked.
Continuous 24-hour call has been eliminated from the program since July 2004, with the longest assigned shift being 14 hours. Residents have at least 1 free weekend per month, a 10-hour break between consecutive assigned duty hours, and a mandatory 4-hour “nap” break if assigned a night shift immediately following a day shift. Program-wide, duty hours average 66 hours per week for first-year residents, 63 hours per week for second-year residents, and 60 hours per week for third-year residents. Self-reported motor vehicle accidents and/or near misses of accidents significantly decreased (P < .001) and resident satisfaction increased (P  =  .42). The change was accomplished at no additional cost to the institution and with no adverse patient care or educational outcomes.
Pediatric residency training with restriction to 14 consecutive duty hours is effective and well accepted by stakeholders. Five years later, the re-engineered schedule has become the new “normal” for our program.
PMCID: PMC2931239  PMID: 21975977
2.  Numbers of deaths related to intrapartum asphyxia and timing of birth in all Wales perinatal survey, 1993-5 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1998;316(7132):657-660.
Objectives: To investigate the relation between the timing of birth and the occurrence of death related to an intrapartum event.
Design: Analysis of 107 206 births to Welsh residents in 1993-5, including 608 cases of stillbirth and 407 of neonatal death identified in the all Wales perinatal survey, the cause of death classified with the clinicopathological system.
Subjects: 79 normally formed babies stillborn or who died in the neonatal period, birth weight >1499 g, for whom cause of death was related to an intrapartum event.
Main outcome measures: Relative risk of death due to an intrapartum event according to the hour, day, and month of birth.
Results: Mortality was higher in babies born between 9 00 pm and 8 59 am than in those born between 9 00 am and 8 59 pm; relative risk (95% confidence interval) 2.18 (1.37 to 3.47). July and August births also had a higher death rate than births in other months; relative risk 1.99 (1.23 to 3.23). Weekend births had a higher death rate but it was not significant.
Conclusions: The excess of deaths at night and during months when annual leave is popular may indicate an overreliance on inexperienced staff at these times. Errors of judgment may also be related to physical and mental fatigue, demanding a more disciplined systematic approach at night. Mistakes may be ameliorated by increasing shiftwork, but shifts should be carefully designed to avoid undue disruption of circadian rhythms. In addition, greater supervision by senior staff may be required at night and during summer months.
Key messages In low risk pregnancies the incidence of death due to intrapartum asphyxia is regarded as a sensitive measure of the quality of perinatal care Babies born at night and during summer months are at increased risk of death due to intrapartum asphyxia, raising concerns about variability in care around the time of delivery Errors of judgment may be related to mental fatigue. Staff need to be aware of how their performance may vary, and a more disciplined systematic approach at night may be needed Greater supervision by senior staff may be required at night and during summer months
PMCID: PMC28468  PMID: 9522787
3.  Timing of birth and infant and early neonatal mortality in Sweden 1973-95: longitudinal birth register study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2001;323(7325):1327.
To assess the impact of time of birth on infant mortality and early neonatal mortality in full term and preterm births.
Analysis of data from the Swedish birth register, 1973-95.
2 102 324 spontaneous live births of infants without congenital malformation.
Outcome measurements
Absolute and relative risk of infant mortality, early neonatal mortality, and early neonatal mortality related to asphyxia.
Infant mortality, early neonatal mortality, and early neonatal mortality related to asphyxia were higher in infants who were born during the night (9 pm to 9 am) compared with those born during the day for 1973-9, 1980-9, and 1990-5. The difference was more dramatic for preterm infants. The largest difference was observed during 1990-5, when there was a 30% increase in early neonatal mortality (relative risk 1.31, 95% confidence interval 1.10 to 1.57) and a 70% increase in early neonatal mortality related to asphyxia (1.70, 1.22 to 2.38) in preterm infants born during the night compared with rates for preterm infants born during the day. A detailed analysis over 24 hours revealed two “high risk” periods: between 5 pm and 1 am and around 9 am.
Infants born during the night have a greater risk of infant and early neonatal mortality and early neonatal mortality related to asphyxia than those born during the day. There has been no improvement over the past two decades. The problem is more serious for preterm births and was even worse in the 1990s. Shift changes and the hours immediately after such changes are high risk periods for neonatal care.
What is already known on this topicInfants born at night have a greater risk of early neonatal mortality and early neonatal mortality related to asphyxia than those born during the dayThe causes are unclear but may be related to insufficient or less experienced staff or excess workload during the nightWhat this study addsIn Sweden the relative risks of infant and early neonatal mortality and mortality related to asphyxia for infants born during the night compared with during the day did not diminish during 1973-95, are greater for preterm infants, and were greater in the 1990sThere are two “high risk” periods for early neonatal mortality: 5 pm to 1 am and around 9 amThe exact reasons are unclear but better vigilance and an improvement in shift changes may be required to improve neonatal health care further
PMCID: PMC60669  PMID: 11739216
4.  Methicillin-Resistant and Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia and Meningitis in Preterm Infants 
Pediatrics  2012;129(4):e914-e922.
Data are limited on the impact of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on morbidity and mortality among very low birth weight (VLBW) infants with S aureus (SA) bacteremia and/or meningitis (B/M).
Neonatal data for VLBW infants (birth weight 401–1500 g) born January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2008, who received care at centers of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network were collected prospectively. Early-onset (≤72 hours after birth) and late-onset (>72 hours) infections were defined by blood or cerebrospinal fluid cultures and antibiotic treatment of ≥5 days (or death <5 days with intent to treat). Outcomes were compared for infants with MRSA versus methicillin-susceptible S aureus (MSSA) B/M.
Of 8444 infants who survived >3 days, 316 (3.7%) had SA B/M. Eighty-eight had MRSA (1% of all infants, 28% of infants with SA); 228 had MSSA (2.7% of all infants, 72% of infants with SA). No infant had both MRSA and MSSA B/M. Ninety-nine percent of MRSA infections were late-onset. The percent of infants with MRSA varied by center (P < .001) with 9 of 20 centers reporting no cases. Need for mechanical ventilation, diagnosis of respiratory distress syndrome, necrotizing enterocolitis, and other morbidities did not differ between infants with MRSA and MSSA. Mortality was high with both MRSA (23 of 88, 26%) and MSSA (55 of 228, 24%).
Few VLBW infants had SA B/M. The 1% with MRSA had morbidity and mortality rates similar to infants with MSSA. Practices should provide equal focus on prevention and management of both MRSA and MSSA infections among VLBW infants.
PMCID: PMC3313632  PMID: 22412036
Staphylococcus aureus; methicillin resistant; infant; newborn
5.  Effects of hospital delivery during off-hours on perinatal outcome in several subgroups: a retrospective cohort study 
Studies have demonstrated a higher risk of adverse outcomes among infants born or admitted during off-hours, as compared to office hours, leading to questions about quality of care provide during off-hours (weekend, evening or night). We aim to determine the relationship between off-hours delivery and adverse perinatal outcomes for subgroups of hospital births.
This retrospective cohort study was based on data from the Netherlands Perinatal Registry, a countrywide registry that covers 99% of all hospital births in the Netherlands. Data of 449,714 infants, born at 28 completed weeks or later, in the period 2003 through 2007 were used. Infants with a high a priori risk of morbidity or mortality were excluded. Outcome measures were intrapartum and early neonatal mortality, a low Apgar score (5 minute score of 0–6), and a composite adverse perinatal outcome measure (mortality, low Apgar score, severe birth trauma, admission to a neonatal intensive care unit).
Evening and night-time deliveries that involved induction or augmentation of labour, or an emergency caesarean section, were associated with an increased risk of an adverse perinatal outcome when compared to similar daytime deliveries. Weekend deliveries were not associated with an increased risk when compared to weekday deliveries. It was estimated that each year, between 126 and 141 cases with an adverse perinatal outcomes could be attributed to this evening and night effect. Of these, 21 (15-16%) are intrapartum or early neonatal death. Among the 3100 infants in the study population who experience an adverse outcome each year, death accounted for only 5% (165) of these outcomes.
This study shows that for infants whose mothers require obstetric interventions during labour and delivery, birth in the evening or at night, are at an increased risk of an adverse perinatal outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3496693  PMID: 22958736
Time of birth; Night; Weekend; Delivery; Perinatal mortality; Perinatal morbidity; Hospital care; Quality of health care
6.  Post-neonatal Mortality, Morbidity, and Developmental Outcome after Ultrasound-Dated Preterm Birth in Rural Malawi: A Community-Based Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(11):e1001121.
Using data collected as a follow-up to a randomized trial, Melissa Gladstone and colleagues show that during the first two years of life, infants born preterm in southern Malawi are disadvantaged in terms of mortality, growth, and development.
Preterm birth is considered to be associated with an estimated 27% of neonatal deaths, the majority in resource-poor countries where rates of prematurity are high. There is no information on medium term outcomes after accurately determined preterm birth in such settings.
Methods and Findings
This community-based stratified cohort study conducted between May–December 2006 in Southern Malawi followed up 840 post-neonatal infants born to mothers who had received antenatal antibiotic prophylaxis/placebo in an attempt to reduce rates of preterm birth (APPLe trial ISRCTN84023116). Gestational age at delivery was based on ultrasound measurement of fetal bi-parietal diameter in early-mid pregnancy. 247 infants born before 37 wk gestation and 593 term infants were assessed at 12, 18, or 24 months. We assessed survival (death), morbidity (reported by carer, admissions, out-patient attendance), growth (weight and height), and development (Ten Question Questionnaire [TQQ] and Malawi Developmental Assessment Tool [MDAT]). Preterm infants were at significantly greater risk of death (hazard ratio 1.79, 95% CI 1.09–2.95). Surviving preterm infants were more likely to be underweight (weight-for-age z score; p<0.001) or wasted (weight-for-length z score; p<0.01) with no effect of gestational age at delivery. Preterm infants more often screened positively for disability on the Ten Question Questionnaire (p = 0.002). They also had higher rates of developmental delay on the MDAT at 18 months (p = 0.009), with gestational age at delivery (p = 0.01) increasing this likelihood. Morbidity—visits to a health centre (93%) and admissions to hospital (22%)—was similar for both groups.
During the first 2 years of life, infants who are born preterm in resource poor countries, continue to be at a disadvantage in terms of mortality, growth, and development. In addition to interventions in the immediate neonatal period, a refocus on early childhood is needed to improve outcomes for infants born preterm in low-income settings.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Being born at term in Africa is not necessarily straightforward. In Malawi, 33 of every 1,000 infants born die in the first 28 days after birth; the lifetime risk for a mother dying during or shortly after pregnancy is one in 36. The comparable figures for the United Kingdom are three infants dying per 1,000 births and a lifetime risk of maternal death of one in 4,700. But for a baby, being born preterm is even more risky and the gap between low- and high-income countries widens still further. According to a World Health Organization report in 2010, a baby born at 32 weeks of gestation (weighing around 2,000 g) in Africa has little chance of survival, while the chances of survival for a baby born at 32 weeks in North America or Europe are similar to one born at term. There are very few data on the longer term outcomes of babies born preterm in Africa and there are multiple challenges involved in gathering such information. As prenatal ultrasound is not routinely available, gestational age is often uncertain. There may be little routine follow-up of preterm babies as is commonplace in high-income countries. Data are needed from recent years that take into account both improvements in perinatal care and adverse factors such as a rising number of infants becoming HIV positive around the time of birth.
Why Was This Study Done?
We could improve outcomes for babies born preterm in sub-Saharan Africa if we understood more about what happens to them after birth. We cannot assume that the progress of these babies will be the same as those born preterm in a high-income country, as the latter group will have received different care, both before and after birth. If we can document the problems that these preterm babies face in a low-income setting, we can consider why they happen and what treatments can be realistically tested in this setting. It is also helpful to establish baseline data so that changes over time can be recorded.
The aim of this study was to document four specific outcomes up to the age of two years, on which there were few data previously from rural sub-Saharan Africa: how many babies survived, visits to a health center and admissions to the hospital, growth, and developmental delay.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers examined a group of babies that had been born to mothers who had taken part in a randomized controlled trial of an antibiotic to prevent preterm birth. The trial had previously shown that the antibiotic (azithromycin) had no effect on how many babies were born preterm or on other measures of the infants' wellbeing, and so the researchers followed up babies from both arms of the trial to look at longer term outcomes. From the original group of 2,297 women who took part in the trial, they compared 247 infants born preterm against 593 term infants randomly chosen as controls, assessed at 12, 18, or 24 months. The majority of the preterm babies who survived past a month of age (all but ten) were born after 32 weeks of gestation. Compared to the babies born at term, the infants born preterm were nearly twice as likely to die subsequently in the next two years, were more likely to be underweight (a third were moderately underweight), and to have higher rates of developmental delay. The commonest causes of death were gastroenteritis, respiratory problems, and malaria. Visits to a health center and admissions to hospital were similar in both groups.
What Do these Findings Mean?
This study documents longer term outcomes of babies born preterm in sub-Saharan Africa in detail for the first time. The strengths of the study include prenatal ultrasound dating and correct adjustment of follow-up age (which takes into account being born before term). Because the researchers defined morbidity using routine health center attendances and self-report of illnesses by parents, this outcome does not seem to have been as useful as the others in differentiating between the preterm and term babies. Better means of measuring morbidity are needed in this setting.
In the developed world, there is considerable investment being made to improve care during pregnancy and in the neonatal period. This investment in care may help by predicting which mothers are more likely to give birth early and preventing preterm birth through drug or other treatments. It is to be hoped that some of the benefit will be transferable to low-income countries. A baby born at 26 weeks' gestation and admitted to a neonatal unit in the United Kingdom has a 67% chance of survival; preterm babies born in sub-Saharan Africa face a starkly contrasting future.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
UNICEF presents useful statistics on mother and child outcomes
The World Health Organization has attempted to analyse preterm birth rates worldwide, including mapping the regional distribution and has also produced practical guides on strategies such as Kangaroo Mother Care, which can be used for the care of preterm infants in low resource settings
Healthy Newborn Network has good information on initiatives taking place to improve neonatal outcomes in low income settings
The March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health, provides information on research being conducted into preterm birth
Tommy's is a nonprofit organization that funds research and provides information on the risks and causes of premature birth
PMCID: PMC3210771  PMID: 22087079
7.  DoMINO: Donor milk for improved neurodevelopmental outcomes 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14:123.
Provision of mother’s own milk is the optimal way to feed infants, including very low birth weight infants (VLBW, <1500 g). Importantly for VLBW infants, who are at elevated risk of neurologic sequelae, mother’s own milk has been shown to enhance neurocognitive development. Unfortunately, the majority of mothers of VLBW infants are unable to provide an adequate supply of milk and thus supplementation with formula or donor milk is necessary. Given the association between mother’s own milk and neurodevelopment, it is important to ascertain whether provision of human donor milk as a supplement may yield superior neurodevelopmental outcomes compared to formula.
Our primary hypothesis is that VLBW infants fed pasteurized donor milk compared to preterm formula as a supplement to mother’s own milk for 90 days or until hospital discharge, whichever comes first, will have an improved cognitive outcome as measured at 18 months corrected age on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, 3rd ed. Secondary hypotheses are that the use of pasteurized donor milk will: (1) reduce a composite of death and serious morbidity; (2) support growth; and (3) improve language and motor development. Exploratory research questions include: Will use of pasteurized donor milk: (1) influence feeding tolerance and nutrient intake (2) have an acceptable cost effectiveness from a comprehensive societal perspective?
DoMINO is a multi-centre, intent-to-treat, double blinded, randomized control trial. VLBW infants (n = 363) were randomized within four days of birth to either (1) pasteurized donor milk or (2) preterm formula whenever mother’s own milk was unavailable. Study recruitment began in October 2010 and was completed in December 2012. The 90 day feeding intervention is complete and long-term follow-up is underway.
Preterm birth and its complications are a leading cause long-term morbidity among Canadian children. Strategies to mitigate this risk are urgently required. As mother’s own milk has been shown to improve neurodevelopment, it is essential to ascertain whether pasteurized donor milk will confer the same advantage over formula without undue risks and at acceptable costs. Knowledge translation from this trial will be pivotal in setting donor milk policy in Canada and beyond.
Trial registration
ISRCTN35317141; Registered 10 August 2010.
PMCID: PMC4032387  PMID: 24884424
Human milk; Donor milk; Neurodevelopment; Very low birth weight infants
8.  A Systematic Review of the Effects of Resident Duty Hour Restrictions in Surgery 
Annals of Surgery  2014;259(6):1041-1053.
A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed to evaluate the impact of resident duty hours (RDH) on clinical and educational outcomes in surgery. A total of 135 articles met inclusion criteria. In surgery, recent RDH changes are not consistently associated with improved resident well-being and may have negative impacts on patient outcomes and education.
In 2003, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) mandated 80-hour resident duty limits. In 2011 the ACGME mandated 16-hour duty maximums for PGY1 (post graduate year) residents. The stated goals were to improve patient safety, resident well-being, and education. A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed to evaluate the impact of resident duty hours (RDH) on clinical and educational outcomes in surgery.
A systematic review (1980–2013) was executed on CINAHL, Cochrane Database, Embase, Medline, and Scopus. Quality of articles was assessed using the GRADE guidelines. Sixteen-hour shifts and night float systems were analyzed separately. Articles that examined mortality data were combined in a random-effects meta-analysis to evaluate the impact of RDH on patient mortality.
A total of 135 articles met the inclusion criteria. Among these, 42% (N = 57) were considered moderate-high quality. There was no overall improvement in patient outcomes as a result of RDH; however, some studies suggest increased complication rates in high-acuity patients. There was no improvement in education related to RDH restrictions, and performance on certification examinations has declined in some specialties. Survey studies revealed a perception of worsened education and patient safety. There were improvements in resident wellness after the 80-hour workweek, but there was little improvement or negative effects on wellness after 16-hour duty maximums were implemented.
Recent RDH changes are not consistently associated with improvements in resident well-being, and have negative impacts on patient outcomes and performance on certification examinations. Greater flexibility to accommodate resident training needs is required. Further erosion of training time should be considered with great caution.
PMCID: PMC4047317  PMID: 24662409
burnout; patient outcomes; patient safety; postgraduate surgical training; residents; resident duty hours; resident wellness; surgical education
9.  Associations between Stroke Mortality and Weekend Working by Stroke Specialist Physicians and Registered Nurses: Prospective Multicentre Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(8):e1001705.
In a multicenter observational study, Benjamin Bray and colleagues evaluate whether weekend rounds by stroke specialist physicians, or the ratio of registered nurses to beds on weekends, is associated with patient mortality after stroke.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Observational studies have reported higher mortality for patients admitted on weekends. It is not known whether this “weekend effect” is modified by clinical staffing levels on weekends. We aimed to test the hypotheses that rounds by stroke specialist physicians 7 d per week and the ratio of registered nurses to beds on weekends are associated with mortality after stroke.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a prospective cohort study of 103 stroke units (SUs) in England. Data of 56,666 patients with stroke admitted between 1 June 2011 and 1 December 2012 were extracted from a national register of stroke care in England. SU characteristics and staffing levels were derived from cross-sectional survey. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) of 30-d post-admission mortality, adjusting for case mix, organisational, staffing, and care quality variables. After adjusting for confounders, there was no significant difference in mortality risk for patients admitted to a stroke service with stroke specialist physician rounds fewer than 7 d per week (adjusted HR [aHR] 1.04, 95% CI 0.91–1.18) compared to patients admitted to a service with rounds 7 d per week. There was a dose–response relationship between weekend nurse/bed ratios and mortality risk, with the highest risk of death observed in stroke services with the lowest nurse/bed ratios. In multivariable analysis, patients admitted on a weekend to a SU with 1.5 nurses/ten beds had an estimated adjusted 30-d mortality risk of 15.2% (aHR 1.18, 95% CI 1.07–1.29) compared to 11.2% for patients admitted to a unit with 3.0 nurses/ten beds (aHR 0.85, 95% CI 0.77–0.93), equivalent to one excess death per 25 admissions. The main limitation is the risk of confounding from unmeasured characteristics of stroke services.
Mortality outcomes after stroke are associated with the intensity of weekend staffing by registered nurses but not 7-d/wk ward rounds by stroke specialist physicians. The findings have implications for quality improvement and resource allocation in stroke care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
In a perfect world, a patient admitted to hospital on a weekend or during the night should have as good an outcome as a patient admitted during regular working hours. But several observational studies (investigations that record patient outcomes without intervening in any way; clinical trials, by contrast, test potential healthcare interventions by comparing the outcomes of patients who are deliberately given different treatments) have reported that admission on weekends is associated with a higher mortality (death) rate than admission on weekdays. This “weekend effect” has led to calls for increased medical and nursing staff to be available in hospitals during the weekend and overnight to ensure that the healthcare provided at these times is of equal quality to that provided during regular working hours. In the UK, for example, “seven-day working” has been identified as a policy and service improvement priority for the National Health Service.
Why Was This Study Done?
Few studies have actually tested the relationship between patient outcomes and weekend physician or nurse staffing levels. It could be that patients who are admitted to hospital on the weekend have poor outcomes because they are generally more ill than those admitted on weekdays. Before any health system introduces potentially expensive increases in weekend staffing levels, better evidence that this intervention will improve patient outcomes is needed. In this prospective cohort study (a study that compares the outcomes of groups of people with different baseline characteristics), the researchers ask whether mortality after stroke is associated with weekend working by stroke specialist physicians and registered nurses. Stroke occurs when the brain's blood supply is interrupted by a blood vessel in the brain bursting (hemorrhagic stroke) or being blocked by a blood clot (ischemic stroke). Swift treatment can limit the damage to the brain caused by stroke, but of the 15 million people who have a stroke every year, about 6 million die within a few hours and another 5 million are left disabled.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers extracted clinical data on 56,666 patients who were admitted to stroke units in England over an 18-month period from a national stroke register. They obtained information on the characteristics and staffing levels of the stroke units from a biennial survey of hospitals admitting patients with stroke, and information on deaths among patients with stroke from the national register of deaths. A quarter of the patients were admitted on a weekend, almost half the stroke units provided stroke specialist physician rounds seven days per week, and the remainder provided rounds five days per week. After adjustment for factors that might have affected outcomes (“confounders”) such as stroke severity and the level of acute stroke care available in each stroke unit, there was no significant difference in mortality risk between patients admitted to a stroke unit with rounds seven days/week and patients admitted to a unit with rounds fewer than seven days/week. However, patients admitted on a weekend to a stroke unit with 1.5 nurses/ten beds had a 30-day mortality risk of 15.2%, whereas patients admitted to a unit with 3.0 nurses/ten beds had a mortality risk of 11.2%, a mortality risk difference equivalent to one excess death per 25 admissions.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the provision of stroke specialist physician rounds seven days/week in stroke units in England did not influence the (weak) association between weekend admission for stroke and death recorded in this study, but mortality outcomes after stroke were associated with the intensity of weekend staffing by registered nurses. The accuracy of these findings may be affected by the measure used to judge the level of acute care available in each stroke unit and by residual confounding. For example, patients admitted to units with lower nursing levels may have shared other unknown characteristics that increased their risk of dying after stroke. Moreover, this study considered the impact of staffing levels on mortality only and did not consider other relevant outcomes such as long-term disability. Despite these limitations, these findings support the provision of higher weekend ratios of registered nurses to beds in stroke units, but given the high costs of increasing weekend staffing levels, it is important that controlled trials of different models of physician and nursing staffing are undertaken as soon as possible.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Meeta Kerlin
Information about plans to introduce seven-day working into the National Health Service in England is available; the 2013 publication “NHS Services—Open Seven Days a Week: Every Day Counts” provides examples of how hospitals across England are working together to provide routine healthcare services seven days a week; a “Behind the Headlines” article on the UK National Health Service Choices website describes a recent observational study that investigated the association between admission to hospital on the weekend and death, and newspaper coverage of the study's results; the Choices website also provides information about stroke for patients and their families, including personal stories
A US nurses' site includes information on the association of nurse staffing with patient safety
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides information about all aspects of stroke (in English and Spanish); its Know Stroke site provides educational materials about stroke prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation, including personal stories (in English and Spanish); the US National Institute of Health SeniorHealth website has additional information about stroke
The Internet Stroke Center provides detailed information about stroke for patients, families, and health professionals (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC4138029  PMID: 25137386
10.  Very Low Birth Weight Preterm Infants With Surgical Short Bowel Syndrome: Incidence, Morbidity and Mortality, and Growth Outcomes at 18 to 22 Months 
Pediatrics  2008;122(3):e573-e582.
The objective of this study was to determine the (1) incidence of short bowel syndrome in very low birth weight (<1500 g) infants, (2) associated morbidity and mortality during initial hospitalization, and (3) impact on short-term growth and nutrition in extremely low birth weight (<1000 g) infants.
Infants who were born from January 1, 2002, through June 30, 2005, and enrolled in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network were studied. Risk factors for developing short bowel syndrome as a result of partial bowel resection (surgical short bowel syndrome) and outcomes were evaluated for all neonates until hospital discharge, death, or 120 days. Extremely low birth weight survivors were further evaluated at 18 to 22 months’ corrected age for feeding methods and growth.
The incidence of surgical short bowel syndrome in this cohort of 12 316 very low birth weight infants was 0.7%. Necrotizing enterocolitis was the most common diagnosis associated with surgical short bowel syndrome. More very low birth weight infants with short bowel syndrome (20%) died during initial hospitalization than those without necrotizing enterocolitis or short bowel syndrome (12%) but fewer than the infants with surgical necrotizing enterocolitis without short bowel syndrome (53%). Among 5657 extremely low birth weight infants, the incidence of surgical short bowel syndrome was 1.1%. At 18 to 22 months, extremely low birth weight infants with short bowel syndrome were more likely to still require tube feeding (33%) and to have been rehospitalized (79%). Moreover, these infants had growth delay with shorter lengths and smaller head circumferences than infants without necrotizing enterocolitis or short bowel syndrome.
Short bowel syndrome is rare in neonates but has a high mortality rate. At 18 to 22 months’ corrected age, extremely low birth weight infants with short bowel syndrome were more likely to have growth failure than infants without short bowel syndrome.
PMCID: PMC2848527  PMID: 18762491
short bowel syndrome; preterm; necrotizing enterocolitis; nutrition
11.  Survival and Morbidity Outcomes of Very Low Birth Weight Infants with Down Syndrome 
Pediatrics  2010;126(6):1132-1140.
Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) are at increased risk of several morbidities with lifelong health consequences. Little is known about mortality or morbidity risks in early infancy among very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants with DS. Our objective was to compare survival and neonatal morbidities between VLBW infants with DS and VLBW infants with other non-DS chromosomal anomalies, other non-chromosomal birth defects, and VLBW infants without major birth defects.
Data were collected prospectively for infants weighing 401-1500 grams born and/or cared for at one of the study centers participating in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network from 1994 through 2008. Risk of death and morbidities including patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), late onset sepsis (LOS), retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), were compared between VLBW infants with DS and infants in the other groups.
Infants with DS were at increased risk of death (adjusted relative risk [RR] 2.47, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.00-3.07), PDA, NEC, LOS, and BPD relative to infants with no birth defects. Decreased risk of death (RR 0.40, 95% CI 0.31-0.52) and increased risks of NEC and LOS were observed when comparing infants with DS to infants with other non-DS chromosomal anomalies. Relative to infants with non-chromosomal birth defects, infants with DS were at increased risk of PDA and NEC.
The increased risk of morbidities among VLBW infants with DS provides useful information for counseling parents and for caretakers in anticipating the need for enhanced surveillance for prevention of these morbidities.
PMCID: PMC3059605  PMID: 21098157
neonatal mortality; neonatal morbidity; preterm infants; Down syndrome; trisomy 21
12.  Teaching Hospital Five-Year Mortality Trends in the Wake of Duty Hour Reforms 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2013;28(8):1048-1055.
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) implemented duty hour regulations for residents in 2003 and again in 2011. While previous studies showed no systematic impacts in the first 2 years post-reform, the impact on mortality in subsequent years has not been examined.
To determine whether duty hour regulations were associated with changes in mortality among Medicare patients in hospitals of different teaching intensity after the first 2 years post-reform.
Observational study using interrupted time series analysis with data from July 1, 2000 to June 30, 2008. Logistic regression was used to examine the change in mortality for patients in more versus less teaching-intensive hospitals before (2000–2003) and after (2003–2008) duty hour reform, adjusting for patient comorbidities, time trends, and hospital site.
Medicare patients (n = 13,678,956) admitted to short-term acute care non-federal hospitals with principal diagnoses of acute myocardial infarction (AMI), gastrointestinal bleeding, or congestive heart failure (CHF); or a diagnosis-related group (DRG) classification of general, orthopedic, or vascular surgery.
All-location mortality within 30 days of hospital admission.
In medical and surgical patients, there were no consistent changes in the odds of mortality at more vs. less teaching intensive hospitals in post-reform years 1–3. However, there were significant relative improvements in mortality for medical patients in the fourth and fifth years post-reform: Post4 (OR 0.88, 95 % CI [0.93–0.94]); Post5 (OR 0.87, [0.82–0.92]) and for surgical patients in the fifth year post-reform: Post5 (OR 0.91, [0.85–0.96]).
Duty hour reform was associated with no significant change in mortality in the early years after implementation, and with a trend toward improved mortality among medical patients in the fourth and fifth years. It is unclear whether improvements in outcomes long after implementation can be attributed to the reform, but concerns about worsening outcomes seem unfounded.
PMCID: PMC3710388  PMID: 23592241
patient outcomes; mortality; duty hour reform; ACGME; administrative data
13.  Increased Birth Weight Associated with Regular Pre-Pregnancy Deworming and Weekly Iron-Folic Acid Supplementation for Vietnamese Women 
Hookworm infections are significant public health issues in South-East Asia. In women of reproductive age, chronic hookworm infections cause iron deficiency anaemia, which, upon pregnancy, can lead to intrauterine growth restriction and low birth weight. Low birth weight is an important risk factor for neonatal and infant mortality and morbidity.
We investigated the association between neonatal birth weight and a 4-monthly deworming and weekly iron-folic acid supplementation program given to women of reproductive age in north-west Vietnam. The program was made available to all women of reproductive age (estimated 51,623) in two districts in Yen Bai Province for 20 months prior to commencement of birth weight data collection. Data were obtained for births at the district hospitals of the two intervention districts as well as from two control districts where women did not have access to the intervention, but had similar maternal and child health indicators and socio-economic backgrounds. The primary outcome was low birth weight.
Principal Findings
The birth weights of 463 infants born in district hospitals in the intervention (168) and control districts (295) were recorded. Twenty-six months after the program was started, the prevalence of low birth weight was 3% in intervention districts compared to 7.4% in control districts (adjusted odds ratio 0.29, 95% confidence interval 0.10 to 0.81, p = 0.017). The mean birth weight was 124 g (CI 68 - 255 g, p<0.001) greater in the intervention districts compared to control districts.
The findings of this study suggest that providing women with regular deworming and weekly iron-folic acid supplements before pregnancy is associated with a reduced prevalence of low birth weight in rural Vietnam. The impact of this health system-integrated intervention on birth outcomes should be further evaluated through a more extensive randomised-controlled trial.
Author Summary
Low birth weight is an important risk factor for neonatal and infant morbidity and mortality and may impact on growth and development. Maternal iron deficiency anaemia contributes to intrauterine growth restriction and low birth weight. Hookworm infections and an iron-depleted diet may lead to iron deficiency anaemia, and both are common in many developing countries. A pilot program of deworming and weekly iron-folic acid supplementation for non-pregnant women aiming to prevent iron deficiency was implemented in northern Vietnam. We compared the birth weight of babies born to women who had had access to the intervention to babies born in districts where the intervention had not been implemented. The mean birth weight of the intervention districts' babies was 124 g more than the control districts' babies; the prevalence of low birth weight was also reduced. These results suggest that providing women with deworming and weekly iron-folic acid supplements before pregnancy is associated with increased birth weight in rural Vietnam. This intervention was provided as a health system integrated program which could be replicated in other at-risk rural areas. If so it could increase the impact of prenatal and antenatal programs, improving the health of both women and newborns.
PMCID: PMC3317901  PMID: 22509421
14.  Neonatal Mortality Risk Associated with Preterm Birth in East Africa, Adjusted by Weight for Gestational Age: Individual Participant Level Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(8):e1001292.
In an analysis of four datasets from East Africa, Tanya Marchant and colleagues investigate the neonatal mortality risk associated with preterm birth and how this changes with weight for gestational age.
Low birth weight and prematurity are amongst the strongest predictors of neonatal death. However, the extent to which they act independently is poorly understood. Our objective was to estimate the neonatal mortality risk associated with preterm birth when stratified by weight for gestational age in the high mortality setting of East Africa.
Methods and Findings
Members and collaborators of the Malaria and the MARCH Centers, at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, were contacted and protocols reviewed for East African studies that measured (1) birth weight, (2) gestational age at birth using antenatal ultrasound or neonatal assessment, and (3) neonatal mortality. Ten datasets were identified and four met the inclusion criteria. The four datasets (from Uganda, Kenya, and two from Tanzania) contained 5,727 births recorded between 1999–2010. 4,843 births had complete outcome data and were included in an individual participant level meta-analysis. 99% of 445 low birth weight (<2,500 g) babies were either preterm (<37 weeks gestation) or small for gestational age (below tenth percentile of weight for gestational age). 52% of 87 neonatal deaths occurred in preterm or small for gestational age babies. Babies born <34 weeks gestation had the highest odds of death compared to term babies (odds ratio [OR] 58.7 [95% CI 28.4–121.4]), with little difference when stratified by weight for gestational age. Babies born 34–36 weeks gestation with appropriate weight for gestational age had just three times the likelihood of neonatal death compared to babies born term, (OR 3.2 [95% CI 1.0–10.7]), but the likelihood for babies born 34–36 weeks who were also small for gestational age was 20 times higher (OR 19.8 [95% CI 8.3–47.4]). Only 1% of babies were born moderately premature and small for gestational age, but this group suffered 8% of deaths. Individual level data on newborns are scarce in East Africa; potential biases arising due to the non-systematic selection of the individual studies, or due to the methods applied for estimating gestational age, are discussed.
Moderately preterm babies who are also small for gestational age experience a considerably increased likelihood of neonatal death in East Africa.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
Editors' Summary
Worldwide, every year around 3.3 million babies die within their first month of life and the proportion of under-five child deaths that are now in the neonatal period (the first 28 days of life) has increased in all regions of the world and is currently estimated at 41%. Of these deaths, over 90% occur in low- and middle-income countries, and a third of all neonatal deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Low birth weight (defined as <2,500 g) is one of the biggest risk factors associated with neonatal deaths but it is the causes of low birth weight, rather than the low weight itself that is thought to lead to neonatal deaths. The two main causes of low birth weight are preterm birth (delivery before 37 weeks gestation) and/or restricted growth in the womb (intra-uterine growth retardation), resulting in babies who are small for their dates (defined as being in the lowest 10% of weight expected for gestational age with reference to a US population).
Why Was This Study Done?
Despite growing international attention focused on neonatal mortality in recent years, the relative importance of low birth weight, small for gestational age, and preterm birth in causing newborn deaths remains unclear. So in this study, the researchers investigated these relationships by calculating the risk of neonatal mortality associated with preterm birth after adjusting for weight for gestational age by conducting a meta-analysis (synthesis of the data) using information from studies reporting neonatal mortality conducted in sub-Saharan Africa.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified potential African datasets and selected four out of a possible ten to include in their analysis as these studies included three essential birth outcomes: birth weight; gestational age measured using antenatal ultrasound, or neonatal assessment on the day of birth; and neonatal mortality. These four studies were conducted in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, all in East Africa. The researchers analysed each study separately but also conducted a pooled statistical analysis on all four studies. To give a more detailed analysis, the researchers categorized babies into six groups taking into account whether the babies were moderately preterm (born at 34–36 weeks) or very preterm (born before 34 weeks) and whether their weight was appropriate for their gestational age.
The researchers included a total of 4,843 live births in their analysis and found that overall, 9.2% of babies were low birth weight, 4.0% were preterm, and 20.4% were small for gestational age. Amongst low birth weight babies, 26.1% were preterm, 85.0% were small for gestational age, and 98.8% were either preterm or small for gestational age. In their detailed analysis, the researchers found that the odds (chance) of death in the first 28 days of life were seven times higher for babies born low birth weight compared to those with normal birth weight, with low birth weight infants experiencing a neonatal mortality rate of 80.9/1,000 live births. The odds of death were twice as high for babies born small for gestational age compared to those born appropriate for gestational age, giving a neonatal mortality rate of 29.3/1,000 live births. Furthermore, compared to those born at term, the odds of death were over six times higher for babies born moderately preterm and almost 60 times higher for babies born very preterm with almost half of all very preterm babies dying in the first 28 days of life, giving a neonatal mortality rate 473.6/1,000 live births. However, moderately preterm babies who were small for gestational age had a much greater odds of death than moderately preterm babies who were of the appropriate weight for their gestational age.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings from East Africa show that babies born either small for gestational age or preterm contributed 52% of neonatal deaths. The detailed analysis suggests that babies born preterm are at the greatest risk of death, but size for gestational age also plays an important role especially in moderately preterm babies. The results from this study emphasize the pressing need to find ways to prevent preterm delivery and intra-uterine growth retardation and also illustrate the importance of measuring and reporting outcomes of individual babies.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
A recent PLOS Medicine study by Oestergaard et al. has the latest global figures on neonatal mortality
UNICEF provides information on neonatal mortality
The World Health Organization (WHO) provides factsheets on the causes of neonatal mortality, including preterm birth
PMCID: PMC3419185  PMID: 22904691
15.  Developmental outcome of very low birth weight infants in a developing country 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:11.
Advances in neonatal care allow survival of extremely premature infants, who are at risk of handicap. Neurodevelopmental follow up of these infants is an essential part of ongoing evaluation of neonatal care. The neonatal care in resource limited developing countries is very different to that in first world settings. Follow up data from developing countries is essential; it is not appropriate to extrapolate data from units in developed countries. This study provides follow up data on a population of very low birth weight (VLBW) infants in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The study sample included all VLBW infants born between 01/06/2006 and 28/02/2007 and discharged from the neonatal unit at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH). Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development Version 111 (BSID) 111 were done to assess development. Regression analysis was done to determine factors associated with poor outcome.
178 infants were discharged, 26 were not available for follow up, 9 of the remaining 152 (5.9%) died before an assessment was done; 106 of the remaining 143 (74.1%) had a BSID 111 assessment. These 106 patients form the study sample; mean birth weight and mean gestational age was 1182 grams (SD: 197.78) and 30.81 weeks (SD: 2.67) respectively. The BSID (111) was done at a median age of 16.48 months. The mean cognitive subscale was 88.6 (95% CI: 85.69 - 91.59), 9 (8.5%) were < 70, mean language subscale was 87.71 (95% CI: 84.85 - 90.56), 10 (9.4%) < 70, and mean motor subscale was 90.05 (95% CI: 87.0 - 93.11), 8 (7.6%) < 70. Approximately one third of infants were identified as being at risk (score between 70 and 85) on each subscale. Cerebral palsy was diagnosed in 4 (3.7%) of babies. Factors associated with poor outcome included cystic periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), resuscitation at birth, maternal parity, prolonged hospitalisation and duration of supplemental oxygen. PVL was associated with poor outcome on all three subscales. Birth weight and gestational age were not predictive of neurodevelopmental outcome.
Although the neurodevelopmental outcome of this group of VLBW infants was within the normal range, with a low incidence of cerebral palsy, these results may reflect the low survival of babies with a birth weight below 900 grams. In addition, mean subscale scores were low and one third of the babies were identified as "at risk", indicating that this group of babies warrants long-term follow up into school going age.
PMCID: PMC3293066  PMID: 22296705
16.  Impact of Resident Duty Hour Limits on Safety in the ICU: A National Survey of Pediatric and Neonatal Intensivists 
Resident duty-hour regulations potentially shift workload from resident to attending physicians. We sought to understand how current or future regulatory changes might impact safety in academic pediatric and neonatal intensive care units (ICUs).
Web-based survey
US academic pediatric and neonatal ICUs
Attending pediatric and neonatal intensivists
We evaluated perceptions on four ICU safety-related risk measures potentially affected by current duty-hour regulations: 1) Attending physician and resident fatigue, 2) Attending physician work-load, 3) Errors (self-reported rates by attending physicians or perceived resident error rates), and 4) Safety culture. We also evaluated perceptions of how these risks would change with further duty hour restrictions.
Measurements and Main Results
We administered our survey between February and April 2010 to 688 eligible physicians, of which 360 (52.3%) responded. Most believed that resident error rates were unchanged or worse (91.9%) and safety culture was unchanged or worse (84.4%) with current duty-hour regulations. Of respondents, 61.9% believed their own work-hours providing direct patient care increased and 55.8% believed they were more fatigued while providing direct patient care. Most (85.3%) perceived no increase in their own error rates currently, but in the scenario of further reduction in resident duty-hours, over half (53.3%) believed that safety culture would worsen and a significant proportion (40.3%) believed that their own error rates would increase.
Pediatric intensivists do not perceive improved patient safety from current resident duty hour restrictions. Policies to further restrict resident duty hours should consider unintended consequences of worsening certain aspects of ICU safety.
PMCID: PMC3427401  PMID: 22614570
Resident duty hours; graduate medical education; Patient Safety; Intensive Care; Pediatrics; Medical Errors
17.  Outcomes of Small for Gestational Age Infants < 27 Weeks’ Gestation 
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;163(1):55-60.e1-3.
To determine whether small for gestational age (SGA) infants <27 weeks gestation is associated with mortality, morbidity, growth and neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months’ corrected age (CA).
Study design
This was a retrospective cohort study from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network’s Generic Database and Follow-up Studies. Infants born at <27 weeks’ gestation from January 2006 to July 2008 were included. SGA was defined as birth weight <10th percentile for gestational age by the Olsen growth curves. Infants with birth weight ≥10th percentile for gestational age were classified as non-SGA. Maternal and infant characteristics, neonatal outcomes and neurodevelopmental data were compared between the groups. Neurodevelopmental impairment was defined as any of the following: cognitive score <70 on BSID III, moderate or severe cerebral palsy, bilateral hearing loss (+/− amplification) or blindness (vision <20/200). Logistic regression analysis evaluated the association between SGA status and death or neurodevelopmental impairment.
There were 385 SGA and 2586 non-SGA infants. Compared with the non-SGA group, mothers of SGA infants were more likely to have higher level of education, prenatal care, cesarean delivery, pregnancy-induced hypertension and antenatal corticosteroid exposure. SGA infants were more likely to have postnatal growth failure, a higher mortality and to have received prolonged mechanical ventilation and postnatal steroids. SGA status was associated with higher odds of death or neurodevelopmental impairment [OR 3.91 (95% CI: 2.91–5.25), P<0.001].
SGA status among infants <27 weeks’ gestation was associated with an increased risk for postnatal steroid use, mortality, growth failure and neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months’ CA.
PMCID: PMC3947828  PMID: 23415614
extremely preterm infants; neurodevelopmental follow-up
18.  Effects of the 2011 Duty Hour Reforms on Interns and Their Patients: A Prospective Longitudinal Cohort Study 
JAMA internal medicine  2013;173(8):657-663.
In 2003, the first phase of duty hour requirements for U.S. residency programs recommended by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) was implemented. Evidence suggests that this first phase of duty hour requirements resulted in a modest improvement in resident wellbeing and patient safety. To build on these initial changes, the ACGME recommended a new set of duty hour requirements that took effect in July 2011. We sought to determine the effects of the 2011 duty hour reforms on first year residents (interns) and their patients.
We conducted alongitudinal cohort study of 2323 interns entering one of 51 residency programs at 14 university and community-based GME institutions or graduating from one of four medical schools participating in the study. We compared self-reported duty hours, hours of sleep, depressive symptoms, well-being and medical errors at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months of the internship year between interns serving before (2009 and 2010) and interns serving after (2011) the implementation of the new duty-hour requirements.
58% of invited interns chose to participate in the study. Reported duty hours decreased from an average of 67.0 hours/week before the new rules to 64.3 hours/week after the new rules were instituted (p<0.001). Despite the decrease in duty hours, there were no significant changes in hours slept (7.0→6.8; p=0.17), depressive symptoms (5.8→5.7; p=NS) or well-being (48.5→48.4; p=0.86) reported by interns. With the new duty hour rules, the percentage of interns who reported committing a serious medical error increased from 19.9% to 23.3% (p=0.007).
Although interns report working fewer hours under the new duty hour restrictions, this decrease has not been accompanied by an increase in hours of sleep or an improvement in depressive symptoms or wellbeing but has been accompanied by an unanticipated increase in self-reported medical errors under the new duty hour restrictions.
PMCID: PMC4016974  PMID: 23529201
Graduate; Medical; Education; Residency; Work; Hours; Sleep
19.  Shifting perceptions: a pre-post study to assess the impact of a senior resident rotation bundle 
BMC Medical Education  2013;13:115.
Extended duty hours for residents are associated with negative consequences. Strategies to accommodate duty hour restrictions may also have unintended impacts. To eliminate extended duty hours and potentially lessen these impacts, we developed a senior resident rotation bundle that integrates a night float system, educational sessions on sleep hygiene, an electronic handover tool, and a simulation-based medical education curriculum. The aim of this study was to assess internal medicine residents’ perceptions of the impact of the bundle on three domains: the senior residents’ wellness, ability to deliver quality health care, and medical education experience.
This prospective study compared eligible residents’ experiences (N = 67) before and after a six-month trial of the bundle at a training program in western Canada. Data was collected using an on-line survey. Pre- and post-intervention scores for the final sample (N = 50) were presented as means and compared using the t-test for paired samples.
Participants felt that most aspects of the three domains were unaffected by the introduction of the bundle. Four improved and two worsened perception shifts emerged post-intervention: less exposure to personal harm, reduced potential for medical error, more successful teaching, fewer disruptions to other rotations, increased conflicting role demands and less staff physician supervision.
The rotation bundle integrates components that potentially ease some of the perceived negative consequences of night float rotations and duty hour restrictions. Future areas of study should include objective measures of the three domains to validate our study participants’ perceptions.
PMCID: PMC3766268  PMID: 23987729
20.  The Impact of ACGME Work-Hour Reforms on the Operative Experience of Fellows in Surgical Subspecialty Programs 
In July 2003, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) introduced a set of regulations that mandated a reduction in the number of hours that medical residents can work. These requirements have generated controversy among medical educators, with some expressing concern that reducing resident hours may limit clinical exposure and competency, particularly in surgical specialties.
This study examines the impact of duty hour restrictions on resident operative experience in residents in 2 surgical subspecialties since the implementation of the ACGME duty hour limits.
We examined operative log data for vascular surgery and pediatric surgery, using the academic year immediately preceding the duty hour restrictions, 2002 to 2003, as a baseline for comparison to subsequent academic years through 2006 to 2007 for vascular surgery and 2007 to 2008 for pediatric surgery.
Graduating fellows in pediatric surgery showed no change in their total operative volume following duty hour restrictions. The pediatric-defined category of neonate procedures showed an increase following duty hour restrictions. Graduating fellows in vascular surgery showed an increase in total major procedures as surgeon. The vascular-defined categories of endovascular-diagnostic, endovascular-therapeutic, and endovascular-graft procedures also increased.
The reduction of duty hours has not resulted in a decrease in operative volume as some have predicted. Operative volume in pediatric surgery remained mainly unchanged, whereas operative volume in vascular surgery increased. We explore possible explanations for the observed findings.
PMCID: PMC3186271  PMID: 22379533
21.  Ten-Year Review of Major Birth Defects in VLBW Infants 
Pediatrics  2013;132(1):49-61.
Birth defects (BDs) are an important cause of infant mortality and disproportionately occur among low birth weight infants. We determined the prevalence of BDs in a cohort of very low birth weight (VLBW) infants cared for at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network (NRN) centers over a 10-year period and examined the relationship between anomalies, neonatal outcomes, and surgical care.
Infant and maternal data were collected prospectively for infants weighing 401 to 1500 g at NRN sites between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2007. Poisson regression models were used to compare risk of outcomes for infants with versus without BDs while adjusting for gestational age and other characteristics.
A BD was present in 1776 (4.8%) of the 37 262 infants in our VLBW cohort. Yearly prevalence of BDs increased from 4.0% of infants born in 1998 to 5.6% in 2007, P < .001. Mean gestational age overall was 28 weeks, and mean birth weight was 1007 g. Infants with BDs were more mature but more likely to be small for gestational age compared with infants without BDs. Chromosomal and cardiovascular anomalies were most frequent with each occurring in 20% of affected infants. Mortality was higher among infants with BDs (49% vs 18%; adjusted relative risk: 3.66 [95% confidence interval: 3.41–3.92]; P < .001) and varied by diagnosis. Among those surviving >3 days, more infants with BDs underwent major surgery (48% vs 13%, P < .001).
Prevalence of BDs increased during the 10 years studied. BDs remain an important cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality among VLBW infants.
PMCID: PMC3691532  PMID: 23733791
birth defects; prematurity; Neonatal Research Network; low birth weight
22.  Mortality and major morbidities in very preterm infants born from assisted conception or naturally conceived: results of the area-based ACTION study 
The use of assisted conception (AC) has been associated with higher risk of adverse perinatal outcome. Few data are available on the outcome of AC-neonates when pregnancy ends before 32 weeks of gestational age.
The aim of this study was to compare the short-term outcome of AC- and naturally conceived preterm infants <32 weeks gestation.
The area-based cohort study ACTION collected data on births 22-31 weeks gestation occurred in 2003-05 in 6 Italian regions. Infants born to 2529 mothers with known mode of conception were studied. The main outcomes were hospital mortality and survival free from major morbidities (IVH grade 3-4, cPVL, ROP stage ≥3, BPD), and were assessed separately for single and multiple infants. Other outcomes were also investigated. Multivariable logistic analyses were used to adjust for maternal and infants’ characteristics. To account for the correlation of observations within intensive care units, robust variance and standard error estimates of regression parameters were computed.
AC was used in 6.4% of mothers. Infants were 2934; 314 (10.7%) were born after AC. Multiples were 86.0% among AC and 21.7% among non-AC babies. In multivariable analysis no statistically significant difference in hospital mortality and survival without major morbidities was found between AC and non-AC infants. The risk of BPD was lower in AC than in non-AC multiples (aOR 0.41, CI 0.20-0.87), and this finding did not change after controlling for mechanical ventilation (aOR 0.42, CI 0.20-0.85) or presence of a patent ductus arteriosus (aOR 0.39, CI 0.18-0.84).
When the analysis is restricted to very preterm infants and stratified by multiplicity, no significant associations between AC and increased risk of short-term mortality and survival without major morbidities emerge. This result is consistent with previous studies, and may confirm the hypothesis that the adverse effects of AC are mediated by preterm birth. However, larger appropriately powered studies are needed before definitely excluding the possibility of adverse events linked to AC in infants born before 32 weeks gestation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-307) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4177255  PMID: 25193062
Assisted conception; Preterm birth; Neonatal mortality; Neonatal morbidity; Singletons; Multiples
23.  The Effect of Changing Patterns of Obstetric Care in Scotland (1980–2004) on Rates of Preterm Birth and Its Neonatal Consequences: Perinatal Database Study 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(9):e1000153.
Jane Norman and colleagues analyzed linked perinatal surveillance data in Scotland and find that between 1980 and 2004 increases in spontaneous and medically induced preterm births contributed equally to the rising rate of preterm births.
Rates of preterm birth are rising worldwide. Studies from the United States and Latin America suggest that much of this rise relates to increased rates of medically indicated preterm birth. In contrast, European and Australian data suggest that increases in spontaneous preterm labour also play a role. We aimed, in a population-based database of 5 million people, to determine the temporal trends and obstetric antecedents of singleton preterm birth and its associated neonatal mortality and morbidity for the period 1980–2004.
Methods and Findings
There were 1.49 million births in Scotland over the study period, of which 5.8% were preterm. We found a percentage increase in crude rates of both spontaneous preterm birth per 1,000 singleton births (10.7%, p<0.01) and medically indicated preterm births (41.2%, p<0.01), which persisted when adjusted for maternal age at delivery. The greater proportion of spontaneous preterm births meant that the absolute increase in rates of preterm birth in each category were similar. Of specific maternal complications, essential and pregnancy-induced hypertension, pre-eclampsia, and placenta praevia played a decreasing role in preterm birth over the study period, with gestational and pre-existing diabetes playing an increasing role. There was a decline in stillbirth, neonatal, and extended perinatal mortality associated with preterm birth at all gestation over the study period but an increase in the rate of prolonged hospital stay for the neonate. Neonatal mortality improved in all subgroups, regardless of obstetric antecedent of preterm birth or gestational age. In the 28 wk and greater gestational groups we found a reduction in stillbirths and extended perinatal mortality for medically induced but not spontaneous preterm births (in the absence of maternal complications) although at the expense of a longer stay in neonatal intensive care. This improvement in stillbirth and neonatal mortality supports the decision making behind the 34% increase in elective/induced preterm birth in these women. Although improvements in neonatal outcomes overall are welcome, preterm birth still accounts for over 66% of singleton stillbirths, 65% of singleton neonatal deaths, and 67% of infants whose stay in the neonatal unit is “prolonged,” suggesting this condition remains a significant contributor to perinatal mortality and morbidity.
In our population, increases in spontaneous and medically induced preterm births have made equal contributions to the rising rate of preterm birth. Despite improvements in related perinatal mortality, preterm birth remains a major obstetric and neonatal problem, and its frequency is increasing.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Most pregnancies last about 40 weeks but increasing numbers of babies are being born preterm, before they reach 37 weeks of gestation (gestation is the period during which a baby develops in its mother). Nowadays in the US, for example, more than half a million babies arrive earlier than expected every year (1 in 8 babies). Although improvements in the care of newborn babies (neonatal care) mean that preterm babies are more likely to survive than in the past, preterm birth remains the single biggest cause of infant death in many developed countries, and many preterm babies who survive have long-term health problems and disabilities, particularly those born before 32 weeks of gestation. Preterm births can be spontaneous or medically induced. At present, it impossible to predict which mothers will spontaneously deliver early and there is no effective way to prevent these preterm births; medically induced early labor is undertaken when either the unborn baby or mother would be at risk if the pregnancy continued to full term.
Why Was This Study Done?
Preterm birth rates need to be reduced, but before this can be done it is important to know how the causes of preterm birth, the numbers of preterm stillbirths, and the numbers of preterm babies who die at birth (neonatal deaths) or soon after (perinatal deaths) are changing with time. If, for example, the rise in preterm births is mainly due to an increase in medically induced labor and if this change in practice has reduced neonatal deaths, it would be unwise to try to reduce the preterm birth rate by discouraging medically induced preterm births. So far, data from the US and Latin America suggest that the increase in preterm births in these countries is solely due to increased rates of medically induced preterm births. However, in Europe and Australia, the rate of spontaneous preterm births also seems to be increasing. In this study, the researchers examine the trends over time and causes of preterm birth and of neonatal death and illness in Scotland over a 25-year period.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
By searching a Scottish database of linked maternity records and infant health and death records, the researchers identified 1.49 million singleton births that occurred between 1980 and 2004 of which nearly 90,000 were preterm births. Over the study period, the rates of spontaneous and of medically induced preterm births per 1,000 births increased by 10.7% and 41.2%, respectively, but because there were more spontaneous preterm births than medically induced preterm births, the absolute increase in the rates of each type of birth was similar. Several maternal complications including preeclampsia (a condition that causes high blood pressure) and placenta previa (covering of the opening of the cervix by the placenta) played a decreasing role in preterm births over the study period, whereas gestational and preexisting diabetes played an increasing role. Finally, there was a decline in stillbirths and in neonatal and perinatal deaths among preterm babies, although more babies remained in the hospital longer than 7 days after birth. More specifically, after 28 weeks of gestation, stillbirths and perinatal deaths decreased among medically induced preterm births but not among spontaneous preterm births.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that in Scotland between 1980 and 2004, increases in spontaneous and medically induced preterm births contributed equally to the rising rate of preterm births. Importantly, they also show that the increase in induced preterm births helped to reduce stillbirths and neonatal and perinatal deaths, a finding that supports the criteria that clinicians currently use to decide whether to induce an early birth. Nevertheless, preterm births still account for two-thirds of all stillbirths, neonatal deaths, and extended neonatal stays in hospital and thus cause considerable suffering and greatly increase the workload in neonatal units. The rates of such births consequently need to be reduced and, for Scotland at least, ways will have to be found to reduce the rates of both spontaneous and induced preterm births to achieve this goal while continuing to identify those sick babies who need to be delivered early to give them the best chance of survival.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Tommys is a nonprofit organization that funds research and provides information on the causes and prevention of miscarriage, premature birth, and stillbirth
The March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health, provides information on preterm birth (in English and Spanish)
The Nemours Foundation, another nonprofit organization for child health, also provides information on premature babies (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on maternal and infant health (in English and Spanish)
The US National Women's Health Information Center has detailed information about pregnancy, including a section on pregnancy complications
MedlinePlus provides links to other information on premature babies and to information on pregnancy (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC2740823  PMID: 19771156
24.  The 88-Hour Family: Effects of the 80-Hour Work Week on Marriage and Childbirth in a Surgical Residency 
The Iowa Orthopaedic Journal  2007;27:128-133.
The restriction of the resident physician work week to 80 hours has had dramatic affects on resident education and life-style. While effects on mood, psychological distress, and burn-out have been studied, the resultant changes in tangible quality of life have received little attention. birth rate was considered a measurable, relevant outcome. The resident marital and parental status by duty month was collected from a single orthopaedic surgical residency program for the four academic years preceding and following the implementation of the 80-hour work week. the number of births to residents during these periods were also tallied. The relative prevalence of positive marital status changed very little between residents in the two time durations from 66 to 71 percent, but parental status increased from 27 to 43 percent. The number of births per married resident duty year also increased from 0.23 pre-restrictions to 0.32 post-restrictions. While the individual decisions involved in generating these observed changes are complex and difficult to entirely decipher, it is thought that an increased perception of life-control within the work-hour restrictions may have prompted the dramatic changes in birth rate among resident families.
PMCID: PMC2150648  PMID: 17907445
25.  HIV-1 Drug Resistance Emergence among Breastfeeding Infants Born to HIV-Infected Mothers during a Single-Arm Trial of Triple-Antiretroviral Prophylaxis for Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission: A Secondary Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(3):e1000430.
Analysis of a substudy of the Kisumu breastfeeding trial by Clement Zeh and colleagues reveals the emergence of HIV drug resistance in HIV-positive infants born to HIV-infected mothers treated with antiretroviral drugs.
Nevirapine and lamivudine given to mothers are transmitted to infants via breastfeeding in quantities sufficient to have biologic effects on the virus; this may lead to an increased risk of a breastfed infant's development of resistance to maternal antiretrovirals. The Kisumu Breastfeeding Study (KiBS), a single-arm open-label prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) trial, assessed the safety and efficacy of zidovudine, lamivudine, and either nevirapine or nelfinavir given to HIV-infected women from 34 wk gestation through 6 mo of breastfeeding. Here, we present findings from a KiBS trial secondary analysis that evaluated the emergence of maternal ARV-associated resistance among 32 HIV-infected breastfed infants.
Methods and Findings
All infants in the cohort were tested for HIV infection using DNA PCR at multiple study visits during the 24 mo of the study, and plasma RNA viral load for all HIV-PCR–positive infants was evaluated retrospectively. Specimens from mothers and infants with viral load >1,000 copies/ml were tested for HIV drug resistance mutations. Overall, 32 infants were HIV infected by 24 mo of age, and of this group, 24 (75%) infants were HIV infected by 6 mo of age. Of the 24 infants infected by 6 mo, nine were born to mothers on a nelfinavir-based regimen, whereas the remaining 15 were born to mothers on a nevirapine-based regimen. All infants were also given single-dose nevirapine within 48 hours of birth. We detected genotypic resistance mutations in none of eight infants who were HIV-PCR positive by 2 wk of age (specimens from six infants were not amplifiable), for 30% (6/20) at 6 wk, 63% (14/22) positive at 14 wk, and 67% (16/24) at 6 mo post partum. Among the 16 infants with resistance mutations by 6 mo post partum, the common mutations were M184V and K103N, conferring resistance to lamivudine and nevirapine, respectively. Genotypic resistance was detected among 9/9 (100%) and 7/15 (47%) infected infants whose mothers were on nelfinavir and nevirapine, respectively. No mutations were detected among the eight infants infected after the breastfeeding period (age 6 mo).
Emergence of HIV drug resistance mutations in HIV-infected infants occurred between 2 wk and 6 mo post partum, most likely because of exposure to maternal ARV drugs through breast milk. Our findings may impact the choice of regimen for ARV treatment of HIV-infected breastfeeding mothers and their infected infants.
Trial Registration NCT00146380
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Globally, more than 2 million children are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and half a million children are newly infected every year. These infections are mainly the result of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or through breastfeeding. MTCT can be greatly reduced by treating HIV-positive mothers and their babies with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). Without ARVs, up to half of babies born to HIV-positive mothers become infected with HIV. This rate of transmission falls to below 5% if a combination of three ARVs is given to the mother throughout pregnancy. Unfortunately, this triple-ARV therapy is too expensive for use in the resource-limited countries where most MTCT occurs. Instead, many such countries have introduced simpler, shorter ARV regimens such as a daily dose of zidovudine (a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or NRTI) given to HIV-positive women during late pregnancy coupled with single-dose nevirapine (a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or NNRTI) at the onset of labor, zidovudine and lamivudine (another NRTI) during labor and delivery, and single-dose nevirapine given to the baby at birth.
Why Was This Study Done?
More than 95% of HIV-exposed children are born in resource-limited settings where breastfeeding is the norm and is crucial for child survival even though it poses a risk of HIV transmission. Consequently, several recent studies have investigated whether MTCT can be further reduced by giving the mother ARVs while she is breastfeeding. In the Kisumu Breastfeeding Study (KiBS), for example, researchers assessed the effects of giving zidovudine, lamivudine, and either nevirapine or nelfinavir (a protease inhibitor) to HIV-infected women from 34 weeks of pregnancy through 6 months of breastfeeding. The results of KiBS indicate that this approach might be a safe, feasible way to reduce MTCT (see the accompanying paper by Thomas and colleagues). However, low amounts of nevirapine and lamivudine are transferred from mother to infant in breast milk and this exposure to ARVs could induce the development of resistance to ARVs among HIV-infected infants. In this KiBS substudy, the researchers investigate whether HIV drug resistance emerged in any of the HIV-positive infants in the parent study.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In KiBS, 32 infants were HIV-positive at 24 months old; 24 were HIV-positive at 6 months old when their mothers stopped taking ARVs and when breastfeeding was supposed to stop. The researchers analyzed blood samples taken from these infants at various ages and from their mothers for the presence of HIV drug resistance mutations (DNA changes that make HIV resistant to killing by ARVs). They detected no resistance mutations in samples taken from 2-week old HIV-positive infants or from the infants who became infected after the age of 6 months. However, they found resistance mutations in a third and two-thirds of samples taken from 6-week and 6-month old HIV-positive infants, respectively. The commonest mutations conferred resistance to lamivudine and nevirapine. Moreover, resistance mutations were present in samples taken from all the HIV-positive infants whose mothers who had received nelfinavir but in only half those taken from infants whose mothers who had received nevirapine. Finally, most of the mothers of HIV-positive infants had no HIV drug resistance mutations, and only one mother-infant pair had an overlapping pattern of HIV drug resistance mutations.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, in this KiBS substudy, the emergence of HIV drug resistance mutations in HIV-infected infants whose mothers were receiving ARVs occurred between 2 weeks and 6 months after birth. The pattern of mutations suggests that drug resistance most likely arose through exposure of the infants to low levels of ARVs in breast milk rather than through MTCT of drug-resistant virus. These findings need confirming but suggest that infants exposed to ARVs through breast milk—a situation that may become increasingly common given the reduction in MTCT seen in KiBS and other similar trials—should be carefully monitored for HIV infection. Providers should consider the mothers' regimen when choosing treatment for infants who are found to be HIV-infected despite maternal triple drug prophylaxis. Infants exposed to a maternal regimen with NNRTI drugs should receive first-line therapy with lopinavir/ritonavir, a protease inhibitor. The significance of the NRTI mutations such as M184V with regard to response to therapy needs further evaluation. The M184V mutation may result in hypersensitization to other NRTI drugs and delay or reverse zidovudine resistance. Given the limited availability of alternative drugs for infants in resource-limited settings, provision of the standard WHO-recommended first-line NRTI backbone, which includes 3TC, with enhanced monitoring of the infant to ensure virologic suppression, could be considered. Such an approach should reduce both illness and morbidity among infants who become HIV positive through breastfeeding.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000430.
The accompanying PLoS Medicine Research article by Thomas and colleagues describes the primary findings of the Kisumu Breastfeeding Study
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on children, HIV, and AIDS and on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in English and Spanish)
UNICEF also has information about children and HIV and AIDS (in several languages)
The World Health organization has information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in several languages), and guidance on the use of ARVs for preventing MTCT
PMCID: PMC3066134  PMID: 21468304

Results 1-25 (730966)