Pulmonary hypertension is associated with bronchopulmonary dysplasia in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants and contributes to morbidity and mortality. The objective was to determine the prevalence of pulmonary hypertension among ELBW infants by screening echocardiography and evaluate subsequent outcomes.
All ELBW infants admitted to a regional perinatal center were evaluated for pulmonary hypertension with echocardiography at 4 weeks of age and subsequently if clinical signs suggestive of right-sided heart failure or severe lung disease were evident. Management was at discretion of the clinician, and infants were evaluated until discharge from the hospital or pre-discharge death occurred.
One hundred forty-five ELBW infants (birth weight: 755 ± 144 g; median gestational age: 26 weeks [interquartile range: 24–27]) were screened from December 2008 to February 2011. Overall, 26 (17.9%) were diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension at any time during hospitalization (birth weight: 665 ± 140 g; median gestational age: 26 weeks [interquartile range: 24–27]): 9 (6.2%) by initial screening (early pulmonary hypertension) and 17 (11.7%) who were identified later (late pulmonary hypertension). Infants with pulmonary hypertension were more likely to receive oxygen treatment on day 28 compared with those without pulmonary hypertension (96% vs 75%, P < .05). Of the 26 infants, 3 died (all in the late group because of cor pulmonale) before being discharged from the hospital.
Pulmonary hypertension is relatively common, affecting at least 1 in 6 ELBW infants, and persists to discharge in most survivors. Routine screening of ELBW infants with echocardiography at 4 weeks of age identifies only one-third of the infants diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. Further research is required to determine optimal detection and intervention strategies.
premature infant; bronchopulmonary dysplasia; pulmonary hypertension
Current guidelines, initially published in 1995, recommend antenatal corticosteroids for mothers with preterm labor from 24–34 weeks gestational age, but not before 24 weeks because of lack of data. However, many infants born before 24 weeks are provided intensive care now.
To determine if antenatal corticosteroids are associated with improvement in major outcomes in infants born at 22 and 23 weeks.
Design, Setting, Participants
Data for this cohort study were collected prospectively on 401–1000 gram inborn infants (N=10,541) of 22–25 weeks gestation born between 1993–2009 at 23 academic perinatal centers in the United States. Certified examiners unaware of exposure to antenatal corticosteroids performed follow-up examinations on 4,924 (86.5%) of the infants born in 1993–2008 who survived to 18–22 months. Logistic regression models generated adjusted odds ratios, controlling for maternal and neonatal variables.
Main Outcome Measures
Mortality and neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months corrected age
Death or neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months was lower for infants whose mothers received antenatal corticosteroids born at 23 weeks (antenatal corticosteroids, 83.4% vs no antenatal corticosteroids, 90.5%; adjusted odds ratio 0.58; 95% CI, 0.42–0.80), at 24 weeks (antenatal corticosteroids, 68.4% vs no antenatal corticosteroids, 80.3%; adjusted odds ratio 0.62; 95% CI, 0.49–0.78), and at 25 weeks (antenatal corticosteroids, 52.7% vs no antenatal corticosteroids, 67.9%; adjusted odds ratio 0.61; 95% CI, 0.50–0.74) but not at 22 weeks (antenatal corticosteroids, 90.2% vs no antenatal corticosteroids, 93.1%; adjusted odds ratio 0.80; 95% CI, 0.29–12.21). Death by 18–22 months, hospital death, death/intraventricular hemorrhage/periventricular leukomalacia, and death/necrotizing enterocolitis were significantly lower for infants born at 23, 24, and 25 weeks gestational age if the mothers had received antenatal corticosteroids but the only outcome significantly lower at 22 weeks was death/necrotizing enterocolitis (antenatal corticosteroids, 73.5% vs no antenatal corticosteroids, 84.5%; adjusted odds ratio 0.54; 95% CI, 0.30–0.97).
Among infants born at 23–25 weeks gestation, use of antenatal corticosteroids compared to non-use was associated with a lower rate of death or neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months.
prematurity; infant mortality; neonatal intensive care; neurodevelopmental impairment; lung maturation; limits of viability
Ninety-eight percent of the 3.7 million neonatal deaths and 3.3 million stillbirths per year occur in developing countries, and evaluation of community-based interventions is needed.
Using a train-the-trainer model, local instructors trained birth attendants from rural communities in six countries (Argentina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, India, Pakistan, and Zambia) in the World Health Organization Essential Newborn Care course (routine neonatal care, resuscitation, thermoregulation, breastfeeding, kangaroo care, care of the small baby, and common illnesses), and in a modified version of the American Academy of Pediatrics Neonatal Resuscitation Program (in depth basic resuscitation), except in Argentina.
The Essential Newborn Care intervention was assessed with a before and after design (N=57, 643). The Neonatal Resuscitation Program intervention was assessed as a cluster randomized controlled trial (N=62,366). The primary outcome was 7-day neonatal mortality.
The 7-day follow-up rate was 99.2%. Following Essential Newborn Care training, there was no significant reduction from baseline in all-cause 7-day neonatal (RR 0.99; CI 0.81, 1.22) or perinatal mortality; there was a significant reduction in the stillbirth rate (RR 0.69; CI 0.54, 0.88; p<0.01). Seven-day neonatal mortality, stillbirth, and perinatal mortality were not reduced in clusters randomized to Neonatal Resuscitation Program training as compared with control clusters.
Seven-day neonatal mortality did not decrease following the introduction of Essential Newborn Care training of community-based birth attendants, although the rate of stillbirths was reduced following this intervention. Subsequent training in the Neonatal Resuscitation Program did not significantly reduce the mortality rates. (clinicaltrials.gov number, NCT00136708).
neonatal mortality; perinatal mortality; developing countries; health systems; effectiveness
To determine if selected pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines/mediators of inflammation reported to be related to development of cerebral palsy predict neurodevelopmental outcome in extremely low birth weight infants.
Infants with birth weights ≤ 1000 g (n=1067) had blood samples collected at birth and on days 3±1, 7±1, 14±3, and 21±3 to examine the association between cytokines and neurodevelopmental outcomes. The analyses were focused on five cytokines (IL-1β, IL-8, TNF-α, RANTES, and IL-2) reported to be most predictive of CP in term and late preterm infants.
IL-8 was higher on days 0–4 and subsequently in infants who developed CP compared with infants who did not develop CP in both unadjusted and adjusted analyses. Other cytokines (IL-12, IL-17, TNF-β, SIL-rα, MIP-1β) were found to be altered on days 0–4 in infants who developed CP.
CP in former preterm infants may, in part, have a late perinatal and/or early neonatal inflammatory origin.
To test the hypothesis that heart rate characteristics (HRC) monitoring improves neonatal outcomes.
Two-group, parallel, individually randomized controlled clinical trial of 3003 very low birth weight infants in 9 NICUs. In one group, HRC monitoring was displayed; in the other, it was masked. The primary outcome was number of days alive and ventilator-free in the 120 days after randomization. Secondary outcomes were mortality, number of ventilator days, NICU stay and antibiotic use.
Mortality was reduced in infants whose HRC monitoring was displayed, from 10.2% to 8.1% (HR = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.61 to 0.99, P = 0.04, number needed to monitor 48), and there was a trend toward increased days alive and ventilator-free (95.9 of 120 days compared to 93.6 in controls, P = 0.08). Mortality benefit was concentrated in infants with birth weight <1000g (HR=0.74, 95% CI 0.57 to 0.95, P=0.02, number needed to monitor 23). There were no significant differences in the other outcomes.
Heart rate characteristics monitoring can reduce mortality in very low birth weight infants.
Neonatal sepsis; sample entropy; predictive monitoring; heart rate variability
Extremely low birth weight infants often require rehospitalization during infancy. Our objective was to identify at the time of discharge which extremely low birth weight infants are at higher risk for rehospitalization.
Data from extremely low birth weight infants in Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network centers from 2002–2005 were analyzed. The primary outcome was rehospitalization by the 18- to 22-month follow-up, and secondary outcome was rehospitalization for respiratory causes in the first year. Using variables and odds ratios identified by stepwise logistic regression, scoring systems were developed with scores proportional to odds ratios. Classification and regression-tree analysis was performed by recursive partitioning and automatic selection of optimal cutoff points of variables.
A total of 3787 infants were evaluated (mean ± SD birth weight: 787 ± 136 g; gestational age: 26 ± 2 weeks; 48% male, 42% black). Forty-five percent of the infants were rehospitalized by 18 to 22 months; 14.7% were rehospitalized for respiratory causes in the first year. Both regression models (area under the curve: 0.63) and classification and regression-tree models (mean misclassification rate: 40%–42%) were moderately accurate. Predictors for the primary outcome by regression were shunt surgery for hydrocephalus, hospital stay of >120 days for pulmonary reasons, necrotizing enterocolitis stage II or higher or spontaneous gastrointestinal perforation, higher fraction of inspired oxygen at 36 weeks, and male gender. By classification and regression-tree analysis, infants with hospital stays of >120 days for pulmonary reasons had a 66% rehospitalization rate compared with 42% without such a stay.
The scoring systems and classification and regression-tree analysis models identified infants at higher risk of rehospitalization and might assist planning for care after discharge.
logistic models; infant; premature; predictive value of tests
Preterm birth is a major cause of neonatal mortality, responsible for 28% of neonatal deaths overall. The administration of antenatal corticosteroids to women at high risk of preterm birth is a powerful perinatal intervention to reduce neonatal mortality in resource rich environments. The effect of antenatal steroids to reduce mortality and morbidity among preterm infants in hospital settings in developed countries with high utilization is well established, yet they are not routinely used in developing countries. The impact of increasing antenatal steroid use in hospital or community settings with low utilization rates and high infant mortality among premature infants due to lack of specialized services has not been well researched. There is currently no clear evidence about the safety of antenatal corticosteroid use for community-level births.
We hypothesize that a multi country, two-arm, parallel cluster randomized controlled trial to evaluate whether a multifaceted intervention to increase the use of antenatal corticosteroids, including components to improve the identification of pregnancies at high risk of preterm birth and providing and facilitating the appropriate use of steroids, will reduce neonatal mortality at 28 days of life in preterm newborns, compared with the standard delivery of care in selected populations of six countries. 102 clusters in Argentina, Guatemala, Kenya, India, Pakistan, and Zambia will be randomized, and around 60,000 women and newborns will be enrolled. Kits containing vials of dexamethasone, syringes, gloves, and instructions for administration will be distributed. Improving the identification of women at high risk of preterm birth will be done by (1) diffusing recommendations for antenatal corticosteroids use to health providers, (2) training health providers on identification of women at high risk of preterm birth, (3) providing reminders to health providers on the use of the kits, and (4) using a color-coded tape to measure uterine height to estimate gestational age in women with unknown gestational age. In both intervention and control clusters, health providers will be trained in essential newborn care for low birth weight babies. The primary outcome is neonatal mortality at 28 days of life in preterm infants.
ClinicalTrials.gov. Identifier: NCT01084096
Neonatal mortality; Antenatal corticosteroids; Implementation research; Preterm birth
Bone mineral deficiency continues to occur in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants despite formulas enriched in Ca and P.
This study tested whether extra enteral Ca supplementation increases bone mineral content (BMC) and prevents dolichocephalic head flattening and myopia in ELBW infants.
Infants 401–1000 birth weight receiving enteral feeds were randomized to receive feeds supplemented with Ca-gluconate powder, or pure standard feeds. Main outcome measures were the excretion of Ca and P by weekly spot urine measurements, the degree of dolichocephalic deformation (fronto-occipital to biparietal diameter ratio, FOD/BPD) at 36 weeks postmenstrual age and the BMC (by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) at discharge. Cycloplegic refraction was measured at 18–22 months corrected age.
Ninety-nine ELBW infants with a gestational age of 26 weeks (23–31) [Median (minimum-maximum)] were randomized at a postnatal age of 12 days (5–23) weighing 790g (440–1700). Urinary Ca excretion increased, P excretion decreased in the Ca supplemented group. Total body BMC was 89.9 ± 2.4 g (mean ± SE) in the supplemented group and 85.2 ± 2.6 g in the control group (p= 0.19). The FOD/BPD was 1.50 (1.13–1.69, mean ± SD) and 1.47 (1.18–1.64) in the supplemented and control groups, and the refraction 0.98 ± 1.23 and 1.40 ± 1.33 dpt. (p=0.68), respectively in 64 ELBW infants (79% of survivors) at 2-year-follow-up.
Extra enteral Ca supplementation did not change BMC, head shape or refraction. The decreased P excretion may reflect P deficiency in infants receiving extra Ca, preventing improved bone mineral accretion.
bone mineral content; bone mineral density; preterm infant; bioavailability; phosphorus
To determine population-based stillbirth rates and to determine whether the timing and maturity of the stillbirths suggest a high proportion of potentially preventable deaths.
Prospective observational study.
Communities in six low-income countries (Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Zambia, Guatemala, India, and Pakistan) and one site in a mid-income country (Argentina).
Pregnant women residing in the study communities.
Over a five-year period, in selected catchment areas, using multiple methodologies, trained study staff obtained pregnancy outcomes on each delivery in their area.
Main outcome measures
Pregnancy outcome, stillbirth characteristics.
Outcomes of 195 400 deliveries were included. Stillbirth rates ranged from 32 per 1 000 in Pakistan to 8 per 1 000 births in Argentina. Three-fourths (76%) of stillbirth off-spring were not macerated, 63% were ≥37 weeks and 48% weighed 2 500g or more. Across all sites, women with no education, of high and low parity, of older age, and without access to antenatal care were at significantly greater risk for stillbirth (p<0.001). Compared to those delivered by a physician, women delivered by nurses and traditional birth attendants had a lower risk of stillbirth.
In these low-middle income countries, most stillbirth offspring were not macerated, were reported as ≥37 weeks’ gestation, and almost half weighed at least 2 500g. With access to better medical care, especially in the intrapartum period, many of these stillbirths could likely be prevented.
Developing countries; intrapartum stillbirth; stillbirth
Oxygen therapy for infants and small children in developing countries is often not available. Entrainment devices may provide an accurate and precise concentration of oxygen when used at the flow rates appropriate for infants and small children.
A continuously adjustable entrainment device was tested to determine the concentrations and flows of oxygen delivered by using low inlet flow rates suitable for therapy for infants and small children and 3 distinct oxygen delivery systems that varied in their resistive load.
The use of long and large bore, low resistance tubing (similar to a mask) resulted in the delivery of oxygen concentrations that tracked closely (accurate and precise) to values indicated by the entrainment device. The directly connected system with lower resistance (similar to a hood) produced a similar profile of concentrations and flow rates to the large bore tubing but with even greater accuracy. The use of a long and narrow tubing with higher resistance (similar to a cannula) did not deliver accurate oxygen concentrations. In fact, this high-resistance system failed to work as intended, and instead of entraining air, a large proportion (sometimes >50%) of the oxygen delivered to the entrainment device was ejected through its vents.
Entrainment devices can deliver accurate oxygen concentrations at low flow rates if used with low resistance delivery systems; however, entrainment devices are not suitable for use with high resistance delivery systems such as a standard nasal cannula.
Venturi; infants; mortality; pneumonia; developing countries; entrainment
To examine the predictive validity of the amplitude integrated electroencephalogram (aEEG) and stage of encephalopathy among infants with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) eligible for therapeutic whole-body hypothermia.
Neonates were eligible for this prospective study if moderate or severe HIE occurred at <6 hours and an aEEG was obtained at <9 hours of age. The primary outcome was death or moderate/severe disability at 18 months.
There were 108 infants (71 with moderate HIE and 37 with severe HIE) enrolled in the study. aEEG findings were categorized as normal, with continuous normal voltage (n = 12) or discontinuous normal voltage (n = 12), or abnormal, with burst suppression (n = 22), continuous low voltage (n = 26), or flat tracing (n = 36). At 18 months, 53 infants (49%) experienced death or disability. Severe HIE and an abnormal aEEG were related to the primary outcome with univariate analysis, whereas severe HIE alone was predictive of outcome with multivariate analysis. Addition of aEEG pattern to HIE stage did not add to the predictive value of the model; the area under the curve changed from 0.72 to 0.75 (P = .19).
The aEEG background pattern did not significantly enhance the value of the stage of encephalopathy at study entry in predicting death and disability among infants with HIE.
neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy; amplitude integrated EEG
Rationale: Benefits of identifying risk factors for bronchopulmonary dysplasia in extremely premature infants include providing prognostic information, identifying infants likely to benefit from preventive strategies, and stratifying infants for clinical trial enrollment.
Objectives: To identify risk factors for bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and the competing outcome of death, by postnatal day; to identify which risk factors improve prediction; and to develop a Web-based estimator using readily available clinical information to predict risk of bronchopulmonary dysplasia or death.
Methods: We assessed infants of 23–30 weeks' gestation born in 17 centers of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network and enrolled in the Neonatal Research Network Benchmarking Trial from 2000–2004.
Measurements and Main Results: Bronchopulmonary dysplasia was defined as a categorical variable (none, mild, moderate, or severe). We developed and validated models for bronchopulmonary dysplasia risk at six postnatal ages using gestational age, birth weight, race and ethnicity, sex, respiratory support, and FiO2, and examined the models using a C statistic (area under the curve). A total of 3,636 infants were eligible for this study. Prediction improved with advancing postnatal age, increasing from a C statistic of 0.793 on Day 1 to a maximum of 0.854 on Day 28. On Postnatal Days 1 and 3, gestational age best improved outcome prediction; on Postnatal Days 7, 14, 21, and 28, type of respiratory support did so. A Web-based model providing predicted estimates for bronchopulmonary dysplasia by postnatal day is available at https://neonatal.rti.org.
Conclusions: The probability of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in extremely premature infants can be determined accurately using a limited amount of readily available clinical information.
bronchopulmonary dysplasia; prematurity; low-birth-weight infant
Nearly half the world’s babies are born at home. We sought to evaluate the training, knowledge, skills, and access to medical equipment and testing for home birth attendants across 7 international sites.
Face-to-face interviews were done by trained interviewers to assess level of training, knowledge and practices regarding care during the antenatal, intrapartum and postpartum periods. The survey was administered to a sample of birth attendants conducting home or out-of-facility deliveries in 7 sites in 6 countries (India, Pakistan, Guatemala, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya and Zambia).
A total of 1226 home birth attendants were surveyed. Less than half the birth attendants were literate. Eighty percent had one month or less of formal training. Most home birth attendants did not have basic equipment (e.g., blood pressure apparatus, stethoscope, infant bag and mask manual resuscitator). Reporting of births and maternal and neonatal deaths to government agencies was low. Indian auxilliary nurse midwives, who perform some home but mainly clinic births, were far better trained and differed in many characteristics from the birth attendants who only performed deliveries at home.
Home birth attendants in low-income countries were often illiterate, could not read numbers and had little formal training. Most had few of the skills or access to tests, medications and equipment that are necessary to reduce maternal, fetal or neonatal mortality.
Home births; Traditional birth attendants; Perinatal mortality
Guidelines for prevention of group B streptococcal (GBS) infection have successfully reduced early onset (EO) GBS disease. Study results suggest that Escherichia coli is an important EO pathogen.
To determine EO infection rates, pathogens, morbidity, and mortality in a national network of neonatal centers.
Infants with EO infection were identified by prospective surveillance at Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Network centers. Infection was defined by positive culture results for blood and cerebrospinal fluid obtained from infants aged ≤72 hours plus treatment with antibiotic therapy for ≥5 days. Mother and infant characteristics, treatments, and outcomes were studied. Numbers of cases and total live births (LBs) were used to calculate incidence.
Among 396 586 LBs (2006–2009), 389 infants developed EO infection (0.98 cases per 1000 LBs). Infection rates increased with decreasing birth weight. GBS (43%, 0.41 per 1000 LBs) and E coli (29%, 0.28 per 1000 LBs) were most frequently isolated. Most infants with GBS were term (73%); 81% with E coli were preterm. Mothers of 67% of infected term and 58% of infected preterm infants were screened for GBS, and results were positive for 25% of those mothers. Only 76% of mothers with GBS colonization received intrapartum chemoprophylaxis. Although 77% of infected infants required intensive care, 20% of term infants were treated in the normal newborn nursery. Sixteen percent of infected infants died, most commonly with E coli infection (33%).
In the era of intrapartum chemoprophylaxis to reduce GBS, rates of EO infection have declined but reflect a continued burden of disease. GBS remains the most frequent pathogen in term infants, and E coli the most significant pathogen in preterm infants. Missed opportunities for GBS prevention continue. Prevention of E coli sepsis, especially among preterm infants, remains a challenge.
neonatal sepsis; group B streptococcal disease; Escherichia coli infection
To determine the cost-effectiveness of the World Health Organization (WHO) Essential Newborn Care (ENC) training of health care providers in first-level facilities in the 2 largest cities in Zambia.
Data were extracted from a study in which the effectiveness of the ENC training was evaluated (including universal precautions and cleanliness, routine neonatal care, resuscitation, thermoregulation, breastfeeding, skin-to-skin care, care of the small infant, danger signs, and common illnesses). The costs to train an ENC instructor for each first-level delivery facility and the costs of salary/benefits for 2 coordinators responsible for maintenance of the program were recorded in 2005 US dollars. The incremental costs per life gained and per disability-adjusted life-year averted were calculated.
A 5-day ENC training-of-trainers was conducted in Lusaka, Zambia, to certify 18 college-trained midwives as ENC instructors. The instructors trained all clinic midwives working in their first-level facilities as part of a before-and-after study of the effect of ENC training on early neonatal mortality conducted from Oct 2004 to Nov 2006.
All-cause 7-day (early) neonatal mortality decreased from 11.5 per 1000 to 6.8 per 1000 live births after ENC training of the clinic midwives (relative risk: 0.59; 95% confidence interval: 0.48–0.77; P < .001; 40 615 births). The intervention costs were $208 per life saved and $5.24 per disability-adjusted life-year averted.
ENC training of clinic midwives who provide care in low-risk facilities is a low-cost intervention that can reduce early neonatal mortality in these settings.
developing countries; low-middle income countries; neonatal mortality; perinatal mortality; midwives
Delayed cord clamping may be beneficial in very preterm and low birth weight infants.
A randomized unmasked controlled trial
The study was performed in three centers of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network
Delayed cord clamping in very preterm and very low birth weight infants will result in an increase in hematocrit at 4 hours of age.
Infants with a gestational age of 24-28 weeks were randomized into early (< 10 seconds) or delayed (30-45 seconds) cord clamping. The primary outcome was venous hematocrit at 4 hours of age. Secondary outcomes included delivery room management, selected neonatal morbidities and the need for blood transfusion during the infants’ hospital stay.
Thirty three infants were randomized: 17 to the immediate cord clamping (ICC, cord clamped at 7.9 ± 5.2 seconds, m±SD) and 16 to the delayed cord clamping (DCC, cord clamped at 35.2 ± 10.1 seconds) group. The hematocrit was higher in the DCC group (45 ± 8 versus 40 ± 5%, p<0.05). The frequency of events during delivery room resuscitation was almost identical between the two groups. There was no difference in hourly mean arterial blood pressure during the first 12 hours of life, there was a trend in the difference in the incidence of selected neonatal morbidities, hematocrit at 2, 4 and 6 weeks as well as the need for transfusion, but none of the differences was statistically significant
A higher hematocrit is achieved by delayed cord clamping in very low birth weight infants suggesting effective placental transfusion.
Cytokines mediate the host immune response to infectious microorganisms. The objective of this study was to determine whether immune regulatory interleukins (IL-4, IL-5, IL-6 and IL-10) and inflammatory cytokines (Interferon- [INF- ], tumor necrosis factor- [TNF- ], IL-2, and IL-17) are associated with an increased risk of developing blood stream bacterial/fungal infection (BSI) in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants. ELBW infants from 17 NICHD Neonatal Research Network centers without early onset sepsis were studied. Cytokines were measured from blood on days 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21 after birth. 996 ELBW infants contributed a minimum of 4080 unique measurements for each cytokine during the 5 sampling periods. Infants with BSI had lower levels of the inflammatory cytokines IL-17 (P=0.01), and higher levels of the regulatory cytokines, IL-6 (P=0.01) and IL-10 (P<0.001). Higher levels of regulatory cytokines relative to pro-inflammatory cytokines were associated with increased risk of BSI even after adjusting for confounding variables. In ELBW infants, the ratio of immune regulatory cytokines to inflammatory cytokines was associated with development of BSI. Altered maturation of regulatory and inflammatory cytokines may increase the risk of serious infection in this population.
To determine (1) the magnitude of clustering of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (36 weeks) or death (the outcome) across centers of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child and Human Development National Research Network, (2) the infant-level variables associated with the outcome and estimate their clustering, and (3) the center-specific practices associated with the differences and build predictive models.
Data on neonates with a birth weight of <1250 g from the cluster-randomized benchmarking trial were used to determine the magnitude of clustering of the outcome according to alternating logistic regression by using pairwise odds ratio and predictive modeling. Clinical variables associated with the outcome were identified by using multivariate analysis. The magnitude of clustering was then evaluated after correction for infant-level variables. Predictive models were developed by using center-specific and infant-level variables for data from 2001 2004 and projected to 2006.
In 2001–2004, clustering of bronchopulmonary dysplasia/death was significant (pairwise odds ratio: 1.3; P < .001) and increased in 2006 (pairwise odds ratio: 1.6; overall incidence: 52%; range across centers: 32%–74%); center rates were relatively stable over time. Variables that varied according to center and were associated with increased risk of outcome included lower body temperature at NICU admission, use of prophylactic indomethacin, specific drug therapy on day 1, and lack of endotracheal intubation. Center differences remained significant even after correction for clustered variables.
Bronchopulmonary dysplasia/death rates demonstrated moderate clustering according to center. Clinical variables associated with the outcome were also clustered. Center differences after correction of clustered variables indicate presence of as-yet unmeasured center variables.
logistic models; infant; premature; predictive value of tests; clustering
Invasive candidiasis is a leading cause of infection-related morbidity and mortality in extremely low-birth-weight (<1000 g) infants. We quantify risk factors predicting infection in high-risk premature infants and compare clinical judgment with a prediction model of invasive candidiasis.
The study involved a prospective observational cohort of infants <1000 g birth weight at 19 centers of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network. At each sepsis evaluation, clinical information was recorded, cultures obtained, and clinicians prospectively recorded their estimate of the probability of invasive candidiasis. Two models were generated with invasive candidiasis as their outcome: 1) potentially modifiable risk factors and 2) a clinical model at time of blood culture to predict candidiasis.
Invasive candidiasis occurred in 137/1515 (9.0%) infants and was documented by positive culture from ≥ 1 of these sources: blood (n=96), cerebrospinal fluid (n=9), urine obtained by catheterization (n=52), or other sterile body fluid (n=10). Mortality was not different from infants who had positive blood culture compared to those with isolated positive urine culture. Incidence varied from 2–28% at the 13 centers enrolling ≥ 50 infants. Potentially modifiable risk factors (model 1) included central catheter, broad-spectrum antibiotics (e.g., third-generation cephalosporins), intravenous lipid emulsion, endotracheal tube, and antenatal antibiotics. The clinical prediction model (model 2) had an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.79, and was superior to clinician judgment (0.70) in predicting subsequent invasive candidiasis. Performance of clinical judgment did not vary significantly with level of training.
Prior antibiotics, presence of a central catheter, endotracheal tube, and center were strongly associated with invasive candidiasis. Modeling was more accurate in predicting invasive candidiasis than clinical judgment.
Candidiasis; premature infant; risk factors
Each year, an estimated six million perinatal deaths occur worldwide, and 98% of these deaths occur in lowand middle-income countries. These estimates are based on surveys in both urban and rural areas, and they may underrepresent the problem in rural areas. This study was conducted to quantify perinatal mortality, to identify the associated risk factors, and to determine the most common causes of early neonatal death in a rural area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Data were collected on 1,892 births. Risk factors associated with perinatal deaths were identified using multivariate analysis with logistic regression models. Causes of early neonatal deaths were determined by physician-review of information describing death. The perinatal mortality rate was 61 per 1,000 births; the stillbirth rate was 30 per 1,000 births; and the early neonatal death rate was 32 per 1,000 livebirths. Clinically-relevant factors independently associated with perinatal death included: low birthweight [odds ratio (OR)=13.51, 95% confidence interval (CI) 7.82-23.35], breech presentation (OR)=12.41; 95% CI 4.62-33.33), lack of prenatal care (OR=2.70, 95% CI 1.81-4.02), and parity greater than 4 (OR=1.93 95% CI 1.11-3.37). Over one-half of early neonatal deaths (n=37) occurred during the first two postnatal days, and the most common causes were low birthweight/prematurity (47%), asphyxia (34%), and infection (8%). The high perinatal mortality rate in rural communities in the DRC, approximately one-half of which is attributable to early neonatal death, may be modifiable. Specifically, deaths due to breech presentation, the second most common risk factor, may be reduced by making available emergency obstetric care. Most neonatal deaths occur soon after birth, and nearly three-quarters are caused by low birthweight/prematurity or asphyxia. Neonatal mortality might be reduced by targeting interventions to improve neonatal resuscitation and care of larger preterm infants.
Neonatal mortality; Observational studies; Perinatal mortality; Population-based studies; Prospective studies; Stillbirths; Congo
Because of a physician shortage in many low-income countries, the use of nonphysicians to classify perinatal mortality (stillbirth and early neonatal death) using verbal autopsy could be useful.
To determine the extent to which underlying perinatal causes of deaths assigned by nonphysicians in Guatemala, Pakistan, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo using a verbal autopsy method are concordant with underlying perinatal cause of death assigned by physician panels.
Using a train-the-trainer model, 13 physicians and 40 nonphysicians were trained to determine cause of death using a standardized verbal autopsy training program. Subsequently, panels of two physicians and individual nonphysicians from this trained cohort independently reviewed verbal autopsy data from a sample of 118 early neonatal deaths and 134 stillbirths. With the cause of death assigned by the physician panel as the reference standard, sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, and cause-specific mortality fractions were calculated to assess nonphysicians' coding responses. Robustness criteria to assess how well nonphysicians performed were used.
Causes of early neonatal death and stillbirth assigned by nonphysicians were concordant with physician-assigned causes 47% and 57% of the time, respectively. Tetanus filled robustness criteria for early neonatal death, and cord prolapse filled robustness criteria for stillbirth.
There are significant differences in underlying cause of death as determined by physicians and nonphysicians even when they receive similar training in cause of death determination. Currently, it does not appear that nonphysicians can be used reliably to assign underlying cause of perinatal death using verbal autopsy.
In many developing countries, the majority of births are attended by traditional birth attendants, who lack formal training in neonatal resuscitation and other essential care required by the newly born infant. In these countries, the major causes of neonatal mortality are birth asphyxia, infection, and low-birth-weight/prematurity. Death from these causes is potentially modifiable using low-cost interventions, including neonatal resuscitation training. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect on perinatal mortality of training birth attendants in a rural area of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) using two established programs.
This study, a secondary analysis of DRC-specific data collected during a multi-country study, was conducted in two phases. The effect of training using the WHO Essential Newborn Care (ENC) program was evaluated using an active baseline design, followed by a cluster randomized trial of training using an adaptation of a neonatal resuscitation program (NRP). The perinatal mortality rates before ENC, after ENC training, and after randomization to additional NRP training or continued care were compared. In addition, the influence of time following resuscitation training was investigated by examining change in perinatal mortality during sequential three-month increments following ENC training.
More than two-thirds of deliveries were attended by traditional birth attendants and occurred in homes; these proportions decreased after ENC training. There was no apparent decline in perinatal mortality when the outcome of all deliveries prior to ENC training was compared to those after ENC but before NRP training. However, there was a gradual but significant decline in perinatal mortality during the year following ENC training (RR 0.73; 95% CI: 0.56-0.96), which was independently associated with time following training. The decline was attributable to a decline in early neonatal mortality. NRP training had no demonstrable effect on early neonatal mortality.
Training DRC birth attendants using the ENC program reduces perinatal mortality. However, a period of utilization and re-enforcement of training may be necessary before a decline in mortality occurs. ENC training has the potential to be a low cost, high impact intervention in developing countries.
This trial has been registered at http://www.clinicaltrials.gov (identifier NCT00136708).
To examine the impact of birth at night, on the weekend, and during July or August – the first months of the academic year – and the impact of resident duty-hour restrictions on mortality and morbidity of VLBW infants.
Outcomes were analyzed for 11,137 infants with birth weight 501–1250 grams enrolled in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network registry 2001–2005. Approximately half were born before the introduction of resident duty-hour restrictions in 2003. Follow-up assessment at 18–22 months was completed for 4,508 infants. Mortality (7-day and 28-day), short-term morbidities, and neurodevelopmental outcome were examined with respect to the timing of birth: night vs day, weekend vs weekday, and July or August vs other months, and after vs before implementation of resident duty-hour restrictions.
There was no effect of hour, day, or month of birth on mortality and no impact on the risks of short-term morbidities except the risk of ROP requiring operative treatment was lower for infants born during the late night hours than during the day. There was no impact of timing of birth on neurodevelopmental outcome except the risk of hearing impairment or death was slightly lower among infants born in July or August compared with other months. The introduction of resident and fellow duty-hour restrictions had no impact on mortality or neurodevelopmental outcome. The only change in short-term morbidity after duty-hour restrictions were introduced was an increase in the risk of ROP (stage 2 or higher).
In this network of academic centers, the timing of birth and the introduction of duty-hour restrictions had little effect on the risks of mortality and morbidity of VLBW infants, suggesting that staffing patterns were adequate to provide consistent care.
Neonatal; preterm infants; morbidity/mortality; resident education/training; workforce
The heptavalent pneumococcal-CRM197 conjugate vaccine (PCV-7) has been incompletely studied in very-low-birth-weight (VLBW, ≤1500 grams) infants.
To assess PCV-7 immunogenicity in VLBW, premature infants. We hypothesized that the frequency of post-vaccine antibody concentrations ≥0.15 µg/mL would vary directly with birth weight.
This was a multi-center observational study. Infants 401–1500 grams birth weight and <32 0/7 weeks gestation, stratified by birth weight, were enrolled from 9 NICHD Neonatal Research Network centers. Infants received PCV-7 at 2, 4 and 6 months after birth and had blood drawn 4–6 weeks following the third dose. Antibodies against the 7 vaccine serotypes were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Of 369 enrolled infants, 244 completed their primary vaccine series by 8 months and had serum obtained. Subjects were 27.8 ± 2.2 (mean ± standard deviation) weeks gestation and 1008 ± 282 grams birth weight. Twenty-six percent had bronchopulmonary dysplasia and 16% had received postnatal glucocorticoids. Infants 1001–1500 grams birth weight were more likely than those 401–1000 grams to achieve antibody concentrations ≥0.15 µg/mL against the least two immunogenic serotypes (6B: 96% v. 85%, P = 0.003 and 23F: 97% v. 88%, P = 0.009). In multiple logistic regression analysis, lower birth weight, postnatal glucocorticoid use, lower weight at blood draw and Caucasian race were each independently associated with antibody concentrations <0.35 µg/mL against serotypes 6B and/or 23F.
When compared with larger premature infants, infants weighing ≤1000 grams at birth have similar antibody responses to most, but not all, PCV-7 vaccine serotypes.
Infant, premature; infant, very low birth weight; pneumococcal vaccines; immunization; vaccines
Of 136 million babies born annually, around 10 million require assistance to breathe. Each year 814,000 neonatal deaths result from intrapartum-related events in term babies (previously “birth asphyxia”) and 1.03 million from complications of prematurity. No systematic assessment of mortality reduction from tactile stimulation or resuscitation has been published.
To estimate the mortality effect of immediate newborn assessment and stimulation, and basic resuscitation on neonatal deaths due to term intrapartum-related events or preterm birth, for facility and home births.
We conducted systematic reviews for studies reporting relevant mortality or morbidity outcomes. Evidence was assessed using GRADE criteria adapted to provide a systematic approach to mortality effect estimates for the Lives Saved Tool (LiST). Meta-analysis was performed if appropriate. For interventions with low quality evidence but strong recommendation for implementation, a Delphi panel was convened to estimate effect size.
We identified 24 studies of neonatal resuscitation reporting mortality outcomes (20 observational, 2 quasi-experimental, 2 cluster randomized controlled trials), but none of immediate newborn assessment and stimulation alone. A meta-analysis of three facility-based studies examined the effect of resuscitation training on intrapartum-related neonatal deaths (RR= 0.70, 95%CI 0.59-0.84); this estimate was used for the effect of facility-based basic neonatal resuscitation (additional to stimulation). The evidence for preterm mortality effect was low quality and thus expert opinion was sought. In community-based studies, resuscitation training was part of packages with multiple concurrent interventions, and/or studies did not distinguish term intrapartum-related from preterm deaths, hence no meta-analysis was conducted. Our Delphi panel of 18 experts estimated that immediate newborn assessment and stimulation would reduce both intrapartum-related and preterm deaths by 10%, facility-based resuscitation would prevent a further 10% of preterm deaths, and community-based resuscitation would prevent further 20% of intrapartum-related and 5% of preterm deaths.
Neonatal resuscitation training in facilities reduces term intrapartum-related deaths by 30%. Yet, coverage of this intervention remains low in countries where most neonatal deaths occur and is a missed opportunity to save lives. Expert opinion supports smaller effects of neonatal resuscitation on preterm mortality in facilities and of basic resuscitation and newborn assessment and stimulation at community level. Further evaluation is required for impact, cost and implementation strategies in various contexts.
This work was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through a grant to the US Fund for UNICEF, and to the Saving Newborn Lives program of Save the Children, through Save the Children US.