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1.  Nasal saline irrigation in preschool children: a survey of attitudes and prescribing habits of primary care pediatricians working in northern Italy 
Background
It has been shown that nasal saline irrigation (NSI) alone can be effective in children with infectious and/or allergic respiratory problems, but no study has assessed the awareness or clinical use of NSI among practising pediatricians. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the use of NSI in pre-school children by primary care pediatricians working in northern Italy.
Methods
Nine hundred randomly selected National Health Service primary care pediatricians with an e-mail address were sent an e-mail asking whether they were willing to respond to a questionnaire regarding the use of NSI. The 870 who answered positively were sent an anonymous questionnaire by post and e-mail that had 17 multiple-choice items.
Results
Completed questionnaires were received from 860 of the 870 primary care pediatricians (98.8%). NSI was used by almost all the respondents (99.3%), although with significant differences in frequency. It was considered both a prophylactic and a therapeutic measure by most of the respondents (60.3%), who prescribed it every day for healthy children and more frequently when they were ill. Most of the primary care pediatricians (87%) indicated an isotonic solution as the preferred solution, and the most frequently recommended administration devices were a nasal spray (67.7%) and bulb syringe (20.6%). Most of the pediatricians (75.6%) convinced parents to use NSI by explaining it could have various beneficial effects, and two-thirds (527/854; 61.7%) thought that most of the parents agreed about the importance of NSI. Analysis of possible associations between NSI prescribing behaviour and the demographic data revealed an associations with age and gender, with pediatricians aged <50 years prescribing NSI more frequently than their older counterparts (p < 0.01), and females prescribing NSI more frequently than males (p < 0.01).
Conclusions
In Northern Italy, most primary care pediatricians prescribe NSI for both the prophylaxis and therapy of upper respiratory tract problems in pre-school children. However, many aspects of the procedure are not clarified, and this reduces parental compliance. Given the medical and economic advantages of NSI, this situation should be changed as soon as possible.
doi:10.1186/1824-7288-40-47
PMCID: PMC4041066  PMID: 24887239
Isotonic saline solution; Hypertonic saline solution; Nasal saline irrigation; Nasal spray; Respiratory tract infection
2.  Impact of vitamin D administration on immunogenicity of trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine in previously unvaccinated children 
As vitamin D (VD) has a significant regulatory effect on innate and adaptive immunity, the aim of this prospective, randomized, single-blinded, placebo-controlled study was to measure the impact of VD administration on the immune response to trivalent influenza vaccination (TIV). A total of 116 children (61 males, 52.6%; mean age 3.0 ± 1.0 y) with a history of recurrent acute otitis media (AOM), who had not been previously vaccinated against influenza, were randomized to receive daily VD 1,000 IU or placebo by mouth for four months. All of them received two doses of TIV (Fluarix, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals) one month apart, with the first dose administered when VD supplementation was started. There was no difference in seroconversion or seroprotection rates, or antibody titers, in relation to any of the three influenza vaccine antigens between the VD and placebo groups, independently of baseline and post-treatment VD levels. The safety profile was also similar in the two groups. These data indicate that the daily administration of VD 1,000 IU for four months from the time of the injection of the first dose of TIV does not significantly modify the antibody response evoked by influenza vaccine.
doi:10.4161/hv.23540
PMCID: PMC3899163  PMID: 23324599
acute otitis media, children; influenza, influenza vaccination, trivalent influenza vaccine, vitamin D, vitamin D supplementation
3.  Step-by-step iconographic description of a prolonged but still favourable course of orbital cellulitis in a child with acute rhinosinusitis: an iconographic case study 
Orbital cellulitis is an infrequent complication of acute ethmoiditis possibly leading to life- or visual-threatening complications. Despite its natural history is well known, its clinical evolution may widely vary among patients, and even in the most favourable cases long-term sequelae may persist. We here provide a step-by-step iconographic description of a periorbital and orbital cellulitis occurring in a child with ipsilateral acute rhinosinusitis. Our report shows that an unusual long-term evolution of periorbital and orbital cellulitis is possible also in apparently favourable cases.
doi:10.1186/1824-7288-40-25
PMCID: PMC3995968  PMID: 24594215
Rhinosinusitis; Orbital cellulitis; Children
4.  Burden of acute otitis media in primary care pediatrics in Italy: a secondary data analysis from the Pedianet database 
BMC Pediatrics  2012;12:185.
Background
The incidence of acute otitis media (AOM) vary from country to country. Geographical variations together with differences in study designs, reporting and settings play a role. We assessed the incidence of AOM in Italian children seen by primary care paediatricians (PCPs), and described the methods used to diagnose the disease.
Methods
This secondary data analysis from the Pedianet database considered children aged 0 – 6 years between 01/2003 and 12/2007. The AOM episodes were identified and validated by means of patient diaries. Incidence rates/100 person-years (PY) were calculated for total AOM and for single or recurrent AOM.
Results
The 92,373 children (52.1% males) were followed up for a total of 227,361 PY: 23,039 (24.9%) presented 38,241 episodes of AOM (94.6% single episodes and 5.4% recurrent episodes). The total incidence rate of AOM in the 5-year period was 16.8 episodes per 100 PY (95% CI: 16.7-16.9), including single AOM (15.9 episodes per 100 PY; 95% CI: 15.7-16.1) and recurrent AOM (0.9 episodes per 100 PY; 95% CI: 0.9-0.9). There was a slight and continuously negative trend decrease over time (annual percent change −4.6%; 95%CI: -5.3, -3.9%). The AOM incidence rate varied with age, peaking in children aged 3 to 4 years (22.2 episodes per 100 PY; 95% CI 21.8-22.7). The vast majority of the AOM episodes (36,842/38,241, 96.3%) were diagnosed using a static otoscope; a pneumatic otoscope was used in only 3.7%.
Conclusions
Our data fill a gap in our knowledge of the incidence of AOM in Italy, and indicate that AOM represents a considerable burden for the Italian PCP system. Educational programmes concerning the diagnosis of AOM are needed, as are further studies to monitor the incidence in relation to the introduction of wider pneumococcal conjugate vaccines.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-12-185
PMCID: PMC3519519  PMID: 23190626
Acute otitis media; Incidence; Primary care pediatrics
6.  Impact of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccination on Otitis Media: A Systematic Review 
Reduced rates of consultations for otitis media after introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) have been overinterpreted. This systematic review suggests that PCV is only somewhat modestly effective against all-cause otitis media.
Acute otitis media (AOM) is a leading cause of visits to physicians and of antibiotic prescriptions for young children. We systematically reviewed studies on all-cause AOM episodes and physician visits in which impact was attributed to pneumococcal conjugate vaccines, either as efficacy or effectiveness. Of 18 relevant publications found, most used the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (7vCRM). The efficacy of 7vCRM against all-cause AOM episodes or visits was 0%–9% in randomized trials and 17%–23% in nonrandomized trials. In observational database studies, physician visits for AOM were already declining in the 3–5 years before 7vCRM introduction (mean change, −15%; range, +14% to −24%) and continued to decline afterward (mean, −19%; range, +7% to −48%). This vaccine provides some protection against OM, but other factors have also contributed to the recent decline in OM incidence. Future effectiveness studies should thus use better-controlled methods to estimate the true impact of vaccination on AOM.
doi:10.1093/cid/cis292
PMCID: PMC3357481  PMID: 22423134
7.  Altered cardiac rhythm in infants with bronchiolitis and respiratory syncytial virus infection 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:305.
Background
Although the most frequent extra-pulmonary manifestations of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection involve the cardiovascular system, no data regarding heart function in infants with bronchiolitis associated with RSV infection have yet been systematically collected. The aim of this study was to verify the real frequency of heart involvement in patients with bronchiolitis associated with RSV infection, and whether infants with mild or moderate disease also risk heart malfunction.
Methods
A total of 69 otherwise healthy infants aged 1-12 months with bronchiolitis hospitalised in standard wards were enrolled. Pernasal flocked swabs were performed to collect specimens for the detection of RSV by real-time polymerase chain reaction, and a blood sample was drawn to assess troponin I concentrations. On the day of admission, all of the infants underwent 24-hour Holter ECG monitoring and a complete heart evaluation with echocardiography. Patients were re-evaluated by investigators blinded to the etiological and cardiac findings four weeks after enrolment.
Results
Regardless of their clinical presentation, sinoatrial blocks were identified in 26/34 RSV-positive patients (76.5%) and 1/35 RSV-negative patients (2.9%) (p < 0.0001). The blocks recurred more than three times over 24 hours in 25/26 RSV-positive patients (96.2%) and none of the RSV-negative infants. Mean and maximum heart rates were significantly higher in the RSV-positive infants (p < 0.05), as was low-frequency power and the low and high-frequency power ratio (p < 0.05). The blocks were significantly more frequent in the children with an RSV load of ≥100,000 copies/mL than in those with a lower viral load (p < 0.0001). Holter ECG after 28 ± 3 days showed the complete regression of the heart abnormalities.
Conclusions
RSV seems associated with sinoatrial blocks and transient rhythm alterations even when the related respiratory problems are mild or moderate. Further studies are needed to clarify the mechanisms of these rhythm problems and whether they remain asymptomatic and transient even in presence of severe respiratory involvement or chronic underlying disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-305
PMCID: PMC2987303  PMID: 20969802
8.  Collection by trained pediatricians or parents of mid-turbinate nasal flocked swabs for the detection of influenza viruses in childhood 
Virology Journal  2010;7:85.
This study evaluated the efficiency of pediatric mid-turbinate nasal flocked swabs used by parents in 203 children aged 6 months to 5 years with signs and symptoms of respiratory disease. Two nasal samples were collected from each child in a randomised sequence: one by a trained pediatrician and one by a parent. The real-time polymerase chain reaction influenza virus detection rates were similar in the samples collected using the two methods (Cohen's kappa = 0.86), as were the cycle threshold values. In comparison with the pediatrician-collected samples, the sensitivity and specificity of the parental collections were respectively 89.3% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 77.8-100%) and 97.7% (95% CI: 95.5-100%), and the positive and negative predictive values were respectively 86.2% (95% CI: 73.7-95.1%) and 98.2% (95% CI: 96.4-100%). The children were significantly more satisfied with the parental collections (median values ± standard deviation, 1.59 ± 0.55 vs 3.51 ± 0.36; p < 0.0001). These findings show that mid-turbinate nasal flocked swabs specifically designed for infants and children can be used by parents without reducing the influenza virus detection rate. Moreover, the direct involvement of parents significantly increases patient acceptance, thus simplifying collection and suggesting that this novel swab design should be considered for epidemiological surveys and vaccine efficacy studies.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-7-85
PMCID: PMC2873380  PMID: 20433729
9.  Influenza vaccination among healthcare workers in a multidisciplinary University hospital in Italy 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:422.
Background
Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for healthcare workers (HCWs) in order to reduce the morbidity associated with influenza in healthcare settings. The aim of this study was to evaluate the current vaccination status of the HCWs in one of Italy's largest multidisciplinary University Hospitals.
Methods
Between February 1 and March 31, 2006, we carried out a cross-sectional study of influenza vaccination coverage among HCWs at the University Hospital Fondazione IRCCS "Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalli e Regina Elena", Milan, Italy. After receiving a brief description of the aim of the study, 2,143 (95%: 1,064 physicians; 855 nurses; 224 paramedics) of 2,240 HCWs self-completed an anonymous questionnaire.
Results
Influenza vaccination coverage was very low in all specialties, varying from 17.6% in the Emergency Department to 24.3% in the Surgery Department, and knowledge of influenza epidemiology and prevention was poor. The factors positively associated with being vaccinated were an age of ≥ 45 years, considering influenza a potentially severe disease, and being aware of the high-risk categories for which influenza vaccination is strongly recommended; those that negatively associated with being vaccinated were being female, working in the Medicine Department, and being a nurse or paramedic.
Conclusion
Despite strong recommendations, influenza vaccination coverage seemed to be very low among HCWs of all specialties, with differences between areas and types of employment. Specific continuous educational and vaccination programs for different targets should be urgently organized to reduce morbidity and mortality in high-risk patients, contain nosocomial outbreaks, and ensure an appropriate socioeconomic impact.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-422
PMCID: PMC2651144  PMID: 19105838
10.  Detection of Respiratory Viruses and Atypical Bacteria in Children's Tonsils and Adenoids▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2007;46(1):369-370.
The tonsils and adenoids of 44 children were analyzed for the detection of respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, Chlamydophila pneumoniae, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Viruses were detected in 47.7% of the children and 37.3% of the specimens, with adenovirus and parainfluenza viruses being the most frequently detected microorganisms.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01819-07
PMCID: PMC2224283  PMID: 17989193
11.  Nasopharyngeal Carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae in Healthy Children: Implications for the Use of Heptavalent Pnemococcal Conjugate Vaccine 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(5):479-484.
We assessed the prevalence of Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes in the nasopharynx of healthy children, antimicrobial susceptibility patterns, risk factors for carriage, and the coverage of heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. In 2,799 healthy infants and children, the S. pneumoniae carrier rate was 8.6% (serotypes 3, 19F, 23F, 19A, 6B, and 14 were most common). Most pneumococci (69.4%) were resistant to one or more antimicrobial classes. The rate of penicillin resistance was low (9.1%); macrolide resistance was high (52.1%). Overall, 63.2% of the isolates belonged to strains covered by the heptavalent pneumococcal vaccine. This percentage was higher in children <2 years old (73.1%) and in those >2-5 years old(68.9%). Sinusitis in the previous 3 months was the only risk factor for carrier status; acute otitis media was the only risk factor for the carriage of penicillin-resistant S. pneumoniae. Most the isolated strains are covered by the heptavalent conjugate vaccine, especially in the first years of life, suggesting that its use could reduce the incidence of pneumococcal disease.
doi:10.3201/eid0805.010235
PMCID: PMC2732490  PMID: 11996682
Streptococcus pneumoniae; nasopharyngeal carriage; epidemiology; conjugate vaccine; children

Results 1-11 (11)