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1.  Individual and Center-Level Factors Affecting Mortality Among Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants 
Pediatrics  2013;132(1):e175-e184.
To examine factors affecting center differences in mortality for extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants.
We analyzed data for 5418 ELBW infants born at 16 Neonatal Research Network centers during 2006–2009. The primary outcomes of early mortality (≤12 hours after birth) and in-hospital mortality were assessed by using multilevel hierarchical models. Models were developed to investigate associations of center rates of selected interventions with mortality while adjusting for patient-level risk factors. These analyses were performed for all gestational ages (GAs) and separately for GAs <25 weeks and ≥25 weeks.
Early and in-hospital mortality rates among centers were 5% to 36% and 11% to 53% for all GAs, 13% to 73% and 28% to 90% for GAs <25 weeks, and 1% to 11% and 7% to 26% for GAs ≥25 weeks, respectively. Center intervention rates significantly predicted both early and in-hospital mortality for infants <25 weeks. For infants ≥25 weeks, intervention rates did not predict mortality. The variance in mortality among centers was significant for all GAs and outcomes. Center use of interventions and patient risk factors explained some but not all of the center variation in mortality rates.
Center intervention rates explain a portion of the center variation in mortality, especially for infants born at <25 weeks’ GA. This finding suggests that deaths may be prevented by standardizing care for very early GA infants. However, differences in patient characteristics and center intervention rates do not account for all of the observed variability in mortality; and for infants with GA ≥25 weeks these differences account for only a small part of the variation in mortality.
PMCID: PMC3691533  PMID: 23753096
mortality rates; outcome; NICU; preterm infants; extremely preterm infants
2.  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
3.  Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants with Spontaneous Intestinal Perforation or Surgical Necrotizing Enterocolitis 
To determine if extremely low birth weight infants with surgical necrotizing enterocolitis have a higher risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment and neurodevelopmental impairment among survivors (secondary outcome) at 18–22 months corrected age compared to infants with spontaneous intestinal perforation and infants without necrotizing enterocolitis or spontaneous intestinal perforation.
Study Design
Retrospective analysis of the Neonatal Research Network very low birth weight registry, evaluating extremely low birth weight infants born between 2000–2005. The study infants were designated into 3 groups: 1) Spontaneous intestinal perforation without necrotizing enterocolitis; 2) Surgical necrotizing enterocolitis (Bell's stage III); and 3) Neither spontaneous intestinal perforation nor necrotizing enterocolitis. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate the association between the clinical group and death or neurodevelopmental impairment, controlling for multiple confounding factors including center.
Infants with surgical necrotizing enterocolitis had the highest rate of death prior to hospital discharge (53.5%) and death or neurodevelopmental impairment (82.3%) compared to infants in the spontaneous intestinal perforation group (39.1% and 79.3%) and no necrotizing enterocolitis/no spontaneous intestinal perforation group (22.1% and 53.3%; p<0.001). Similar results were observed for neurodevelopmental impairment among survivors. On logistic regression analysis, both spontaneous intestinal perforation and surgical necrotizing enterocolitis were associated with increased risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment (adjusted OR 2.21, 95% CI: 1.5, 3.2 and adjusted OR 2.11, 95% CI: 1.5, 2.9 respectively) and neurodevelopmental impairment among survivors (adjusted OR 2.17, 95% CI: 1.4, 3.2 and adjusted OR 1.70, 95% CI: 1.2, 2.4 respectively).
Spontaneous intestinal perforation and surgical necrotizing enterocolitis are associated with a similar increase in the risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment and neurodevelopmental impairment among extremely low birth weight survivors at 18–22 months corrected age.
PMCID: PMC3877158  PMID: 24135709
spontaneous intestinal perforation; necrotizing enterocolitis; extremely low birth weight; neurodevelopmental impairment
4.  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
5.  Late-Onset Sepsis in Very Low Birth Weight Infants from Singleton and Multiple Gestation Births 
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;162(6):1120-1124.e1.
To describe and compare incidence of late-onset sepsis (LOS) and demographic and clinical characteristics associated with LOS in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants from singleton and multiple births and to examine the heritability in susceptibility to LOS among VLBW twins by comparing same-sex with unlike-sex twin pairs.
Study design
We studied infants with birth weight 401–1500 grams cared for at clinical centers of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network 2002–2008. Only the first episode of LOS was examined. Stepwise logistic regression models were fitted separately for singleton and multiple pregnancies to examine the maternal and neonatal factors associated with LOS. LOS due to only gram-negative bacteria among singleton and multiple pregnancies was also examined in separate models. The heritability of LOS was estimated by examining concordance of LOS between twins from same-sex and unlike-sex pairs.
LOS occurred in 25.0% (3797/15,178) of singleton and 22.6% (1196/5294) of multiple VLBW infants. Coagulase-negative staphylococci were the most common infecting organisms, accounting for 53.2% of all LOS episodes in singletons and 49.2% in multiples. E. coli and Klebsiella species were the most commonly isolated gram-negative organisms, and Candida albicans was the most commonly isolated fungus. Concordance of LOS was not significantly different between same-sex and unlike-sex twin pairs.
LOS remains a common problem in VLBW infants. The incidence of LOS is similar for singleton and multiple infants. Similar concordance of LOS in same-sex and unlike-sex twin pairs provided no evidence that susceptibility to LOS among VLBW infants is genetically determined.
PMCID: PMC3633723  PMID: 23324523
Heredity; preterm infants; twins
6.  Use of Antihypotensive Therapies in Extremely Preterm Infants 
Pediatrics  2013;131(6):e1865-e1873.
To investigate the relationships among blood pressure (BP) values, antihypotensive therapies, and in-hospital outcomes to identify a BP threshold below which antihypotensive therapies may be beneficial.
Prospective observational study of infants 230/7 to 266/7 weeks’ gestational age. Hourly BP values and antihypotensive therapy use in the first 24 hours were recorded. Low BP was investigated by using 15 definitions. Outcomes were examined by using regression analysis controlling for gestational age, the number of low BP values, and illness severity.
Of 367 infants enrolled, 203 (55%) received at least 1 antihypotensive therapy. Treated infants were more likely to have low BP by any definition (P < .001), but for the 15 definitions of low BP investigated, therapy was not prescribed to 3% to 49% of infants with low BP and, paradoxically, was administered to 28% to 41% of infants without low BP. Treated infants were more likely than untreated infants to develop severe retinopathy of prematurity (15% vs 8%, P = .03) or severe intraventricular hemorrhage (22% vs 11%, P < .01) and less likely to survive (67% vs 78%, P = .02). However, with regression analysis, there were no significant differences between groups in survival or in-hospital morbidity rates.
Factors other than BP contributed to the decision to use antihypotensive therapies. Infant outcomes were not improved with antihypotensive therapy for any of the 15 definitions of low BP investigated.
PMCID: PMC3666108  PMID: 23650301
extremely preterm infant; antihypotensive therapy; blood pressure; hypotension
7.  Pharmacokinetics and Safety of a Single Intravenous Dose of myo-Inositol in Preterm Infants of 23 to 29 weeks 
Pediatric research  2013;74(6):721-729.
Myo-inositol given to preterm infants with respiratory distress has reduced death, increased survival without bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and reduced severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in 2 randomized trials. Pharmacokinetic (PK) studies in extremely preterm infants are needed prior to efficacy trials.
Infants of 23–29 weeks gestation were randomized to a single intravenous (IV) dose of inositol at 60 or 120 mg/kg or placebo. Over 96 h, serum levels (sparse sampling population PK) and urine inositol excretion were determined. Population PK models were fit using a nonlinear mixed effects approach. Safety outcomes were recorded.
A 1-compartment model that included factors for endogenous inositol production, allometric size based on weight, gestational age (GA) strata and creatinine clearance fit the data best. The central volume of distribution was 0.5115 l/kg, the clearance 0.0679 l/kg/h, endogenous production 2.67 mg/kg/h and the half life 5.22 h when modeled without the covariates. During the first 12 h renal inositol excretion quadrupled in the 120 mg/kg group, returning to near baseline after 48 h. There was no diuretic side-effect. No significant differences in adverse events occurred between the 3 groups (p > 0.05).
A single compartment model accounting for endogenous production satisfactorily described the PK of IV inositol.
PMCID: PMC3962781  PMID: 24067395
8.  Elevated Temperature and 6-7 Year Outcome of Neonatal Encephalopathy 
Annals of neurology  2013;73(4):520-528.
Determine if higher temperature after hypoxia-ischemia is associated with death or IQ < 70 at 6-7 yr among infants treated with intensive care without hypothermia.
Control infants (non-cooled, n=106) of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network hypothermia trial had serial esophageal and skin temperatures over 72hrs. Each infant's temperature was ranked to derive an average of the upper and lower quartile, and median of each site. Temperatures were used in logistic regressions to determine adjusted associations with death or IQ < 70 at 6-7yrs. Secondary outcomes were death, IQ < 70, and moderate/severe CP. IQ and motor function were assessed with Wechsler Scales for Children and Gross Motor Function Classification System. Results are odds ratio (OR, per °C increment within the quartile or median) and 95% confidence interval (CI).
Primary outcome was available for 89 infants. At 6-7yrs death or IQ < 70 occurred in 54 infants (37 deaths, 17 survivors with IQ < 70) and moderate/severe CP in 15 infants. Death or IQ < 70 was associated with the upper quartile average of esophageal (OR 7.3, 95% CI 2.0-26.3) and skin temperature (OR 3.5, 95% 1.2-10.4). CP was associated with the upper quartile average of esophageal (OR 12.5, 95% CI 1.02-155) and skin temperature (OR 10.3, 95% 1.3-80.2).
Among non-cooled infants of a randomized trial, elevated temperatures during the first post-natal days are associated with increase odds of a worse outcome at 6-7yrs.
PMCID: PMC3720800  PMID: 23595408
encephalopathy; hypoxia-ischemia; hyperthermia; cerebral palsy
9.  Importance of Stability of Early Living Arrangements on Behavior Outcomes of Children With and Without Prenatal Drug Exposure 
We evaluated whether living arrangements of children with or without prenatal drug exposure would be associated with their behavior outcomes and adaptive functioning.
1388 children with or without prenatal cocaine or opiate exposure were enrolled in a longitudinal cohort study at one month of age, were seen at intervals, tracked over time for their living situation, and evaluated for behavior problems and adaptive functioning at three years of age. Child Behavior Check List and Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (VABS) were administered. Using multiple regression models, we determined the factors that would predict behavior problems and adaptive functioning.
1,092 children were evaluated. Total and externalizing behavior problems T scores of children in relative care were lower (better) than those in parental; externalizing behavior scores were lower than those in non-relative care (p<0.05). Total behavior problem scores increased 2.3 and 1.3 points respectively with each move/year and each year of Child Protective Services’ involvement. Compared to children in non-relative care, those in parental or relative care had higher (better) scores in the VABS total composite (p<0.023), communication (p<0.045), and daily living (p<0.001). Each caretaker change was associated with a decrease of 2.65 and 2.19 points respectively in communication and daily living scores.
Children’s living arrangements were significantly associated with childhood behavior problems and adaptive functioning. The instability of living situation was also a significant predictor of these outcomes. While family preservation continues to be the goal of the child welfare system, expediting decision toward permanency remains paramount once children are placed in foster care.
PMCID: PMC3984541  PMID: 18349707
Prenatal cocaine; prenatal opiate; out-of-home-care; child behavior
10.  Neonatal Encephalopathic Cerebral Injury in South India Assessed by Perinatal Magnetic Resonance Biomarkers and Early Childhood Neurodevelopmental Outcome 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87874.
Although brain injury after neonatal encephalopathy has been characterised well in high-income countries, little is known about such injury in low- and middle-income countries. Such injury accounts for an estimated 1 million neonatal deaths per year. We used magnetic resonance (MR) biomarkers to characterise perinatal brain injury, and examined early childhood outcomes in South India.
We recruited consecutive term or near term infants with evidence of perinatal asphyxia and a Thompson encephalopathy score ≥6 within 6 h of birth, over 6 months. We performed conventional MR imaging, diffusion tensor MR imaging and thalamic proton MR spectroscopy within 3 weeks of birth. We computed group-wise differences in white matter fractional anisotropy (FA) using tract based spatial statistics. We allocated Sarnat encephalopathy stage aged 3 days, and evaluated neurodevelopmental outcomes aged 3½ years using Bayley III.
Of the 54 neonates recruited, Sarnat staging was mild in 30 (56%); moderate in 15 (28%) and severe in 6 (11%), with no encephalopathy in 3 (6%). Six infants died. Of the 48 survivors, 44 had images available for analysis. In these infants, imaging indicated perinatal rather than established antenatal origins to injury. Abnormalities were frequently observed in white matter (n = 40, 91%) and cortex (n = 31, 70%) while only 12 (27%) had abnormal basal ganglia/thalami. Reduced white matter FA was associated with Sarnat stage, deep grey nuclear injury, and MR spectroscopy N-acetylaspartate/choline, but not early Thompson scores. Outcome data were obtained in 44 infants (81%) with 38 (79%) survivors examined aged 3½ years; of these, 16 (42%) had adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes.
No infants had evidence for established brain lesions, suggesting potentially treatable perinatal origins. White matter injury was more common than deep brain nuclei injury. Our results support the need for rigorous evaluation of the efficacy of rescue hypothermic neuroprotection in low- and middle-income countries.
PMCID: PMC3914890  PMID: 24505327
11.  Characteristics of extremely low birth weight infant survivors with unimpaired outcomes at 30 months of age 
To evaluate characteristics of unimpaired outcome in ELBW survivors.
Study Design
ELBW infants (n=714) with 30 months’ assessments were analyzed. Logistic regression was used to develop a model for the binary outcome of unimpaired versus impaired outcome.
Thirty-three percent of infants had an unimpaired outcome. 17% of ELBW survivors had a Bayley II Mental Developmental Index score of ≥101 and 2% had a score of ≥116. Female gender, use of antenatal steroids, maternal education ≥ high school and absence of major neonatal morbidities were independent predictors of unimpaired outcome. The likelihood of an unimpaired outcome in presence of major neonatal morbidities was higher in infants exposed to antenatal steroids.
The majority of unimpaired ELBW survivors had cognitive scores shifted towards the lower end of the normal distribution. Exposure to antenatal steroids was associated with higher likelihood of an unimpaired outcome in infants with major neonatal morbidities.
PMCID: PMC3903461  PMID: 23807719
extremely low birth weight; unimpaired outcome; outcome; antenatal steroids; cerebral palsy
12.  Protective Factors Can Mitigate Behavior Problems After Prenatal Cocaine and Other Drug Exposures 
Pediatrics  2012;130(6):e1479-e1488.
We determined the role of risk and protective factors on the trajectories of behavior problems associated with high prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE)/polydrug exposure.
The Maternal Lifestyle Study enrolled 1388 children with or without PCE, assessed through age 15 years. Because most women using cocaine during pregnancy also used other substances, we analyzed for the effects of 4 categories of prenatal drug exposure: high PCE/other drugs (OD), some PCE/OD, OD/no PCE, and no PCE/no OD. Risks and protective factors at individual, family, and community levels that may be associated with behavior outcomes were entered stepwise into latent growth curve models, then replaced by cumulative risk and protective indexes, and finally by a combination of levels of risk and protective indexes. Main outcome measures were the trajectories of externalizing, internalizing, total behavior, and attention problems scores from the Child Behavior Checklist (parent).
A total of 1022 (73.6%) children had known outcomes. High PCE/OD significantly predicted externalizing, total, and attention problems when considering the balance between risk and protective indexes. Some PCE/OD predicted externalizing and attention problems. OD/no PCE also predicted behavior outcomes except for internalizing behavior. High level of protective factors was associated with declining trajectories of problem behavior scores over time, independent of drug exposure and risk index scores.
High PCE/OD is a significant risk for behavior problems in adolescence; protective factors may attenuate its detrimental effects. Clinical practice and public health policies should consider enhancing protective factors while minimizing risks to improve outcomes of drug-exposed children.
PMCID: PMC3507246  PMID: 23184114
behavior problems; cumulative risks; prenatal cocaine exposure; protective factors
13.  A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial of Massage Therapy on the Immune System of Preterm Infants 
Pediatrics  2012;130(6):e1549-e1558.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of massage therapy (MT) on the immune system of preterm infants. The primary hypothesis was that MT compared with sham therapy (control) will enhance the immune system of stable premature infants by increasing the proportion of their natural killer (NK) cell numbers.
A randomized placebo-controlled trial of MT versus sham therapy (control) was conducted among stable premature infants in the NICU. Study intervention was provided 5 days per week until hospital discharge for a maximum of 4 weeks. Immunologic evaluations (absolute NK cells, T and B cells, T cell subsets, and NK cytotoxicity), weight, number of infections, and length of hospital stay were also evaluated.
The study enrolled 120 infants (58 massage; 62 control). At the end of the study, absolute NK cells were not different between the 2 groups; however, NK cytotoxicity was higher in the massage group, particularly among those who received ≥5 consecutive days of study intervention compared with control (13.79 vs 10 lytic units, respectively; P = .04). Infants in the massage group were heavier at end of study and had greater daily weight gain compared with those in the control group; other immunologic parameters, number of infections, and length of stay were not different between the 2 groups.
In this study, MT administered to stable preterm infants was associated with higher NK cytotoxicity and more daily weight gain. MT may improve the overall outcome of these infants. Larger studies are needed.
PMCID: PMC3507248  PMID: 23147978
immune system; natural killer cells; massage; mode of delivery; preterm infants; weight gain
14.  Therapeutic Hypothermia for Neonatal Encephalopathy 
Opinion statement
Neonatal Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in full term infants has been associated with a high risk for morbidity and mortality. The patho-physiology of brain injury following hypoxia-ischemia, noted in preclinical models, is a cascade of events resulting from excitotoxic and oxidative injury culminating in cell death. Hypothermia has been noted to be protective by inhibiting various events in the cascade of injury. Major randomized clinical trials in neonatal HIE have demonstrated reduction in death and disability and continued safety and efficacy of neuroprotection in childhood. There is now clinical and imaging evidence for hypothermia as neuroprotection. Hypothermia should be offered to term infants with either severe acidosis at birth or resuscitation needing continued ventilation and evidence of either moderate or severe encephalopathy within 6 hours of birth. The target temperature should be 33° to 34 °C and duration of cooling should be 72 hours, as per the published trials. Rewarming should be slow, at 0.5 °C per hour. Infants should have serial neurological examinations during and at the end of cooling and at discharge. Multiorgan function should be supported and hypocarbia should be avoided during ventilator therapy. If available, the amplitude integrated EEG should be obtained prior to cooling and following rewarming. All infants should have magnetic resonance brain imaging studies within 1 to 2 weeks of age. Information from the neurological examination, aEEG and MRI studies will be helpful in discussing prognosis with parents. All infants should be followed for a minimum of 18 months to evaluate growth parameters and neurodevelopment al outcome.
PMCID: PMC3519960  PMID: 23007949
Therapeutic hypothermia; Neonatal encephalopathy; Term infants; Neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy; Pathophysiology; Neurodevelopmental outcome; Neuroprotection; Head cooling; Whole body cooling; Randomized controlled trials; Knowledge gaps; Adjuvant therapies; Treatment
15.  Outcome of Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants with Congenital Heart Defects in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD Neonatal Research Network 
Pediatric cardiology  2012;33(8):1415-1426.
Little is known about the outcomes of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) preterm infants with congenital heart defects (CHDs). The aim of this study was to assess the mortality, morbidity, and early childhood outcomes of ELBW infants with isolated CHD compared with infants with no congenital defects. Participants were 401–1,000 g infants cared for at National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network centers between January 1, 1998 and December 31, 2005. Neonatal morbidities and 18–22 months’ corrected age outcomes were assessed. Neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) was defined as moderate to severe cerebral palsy, Bayley II mental or psychomotor developmental index < 70, bilateral blindness, or hearing impairment requiring aids. Poisson regression models were used to estimate relative risks for outcomes while adjusting for gestational age, small for gestational-age status, and other variables. Of 14,457 ELBW infants, 110 (0.8 %) had isolated CHD, and 13,887 (96 %) had no major birth defect. The most common CHD were septal defects, tetralogy of Fallot, pulmonary valve stenosis, and coarctation of the aorta. Infants with CHD experienced increased mortality (48 % compared with 35 % for infants with no birth defect) and poorer growth. Surprisingly, the adjusted risks of other short-term neonatal morbidities associated with prematurity were not significantly different. Fifty-seven (52 %) infants with CHD survived to 18–22 months’ corrected age, and 49 (86 %) infants completed follow-up. A higher proportion of surviving infants with CHD were impaired compared with those without birth defects (57 vs. 38 %, p = 0.004). Risk of death or NDI was greater for ELBW infants with CHD, although 20% of infants survived without NDI.
PMCID: PMC3687358  PMID: 22644414
heart defects; congenital; follow-up studies
16.  Neurobehavioral Disinhibition Predicts Initiation of Substance Use in Children with Prenatal Cocaine Exposure 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2012;126(1-2):80-86.
In previous work we (Fisher et al., 2011) examined the emergence of neurobehavioral disinhibition (ND) in adolescents with prenatal substance exposure. We computed ND factor scores at three age points (8/9, 11 and 13/14 years) and found that both prenatal substance exposure and early adversity predicted ND. The purpose of the current study was to determine the association between these ND scores and initiation of substance use between ages 8–16 in this cohort as early initiation of substance use has been related to later substance use disorders. Our hypothesis was that prenatal cocaine exposure predisposes the child to ND, which, in turn, is associated with initiation of substance use by age 16.
We studied 386 cocaine exposed and 517 unexposed children followed since birth in a longitudinal study. Five dichotomous variables were computed based on the subject’s report of substance use: alcohol only; tobacco only; marijuana only; illicit substances and any substance.
Cox proportional hazard regression showed that the 8/9 year ND score was related to initiation of alcohol, tobacco, illicit and any substance use but not marijuana use. The trajectory of ND across the three age periods was related to substance use initiation in all five substance use categories. Prenatal cocaine exposure, although initially related to tobacco, marijuana and illicit substance initiation, was no longer significant with ND scores in the models.
Prenatal drug exposure appears to be a risk pathway to ND, which by 8/9 years portends substance use initiation.
PMCID: PMC3439586  PMID: 22608010
neurodevelopmental disinhibition; substance use initiation; prenatal cocaine exposure
17.  Blood stream infection is associated with altered heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine immune responses in very low birth weight infants 
Sepsis in older children and adults modifies immune system function. We compared serotype-specific antibody responses to heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) in very low birth weight infants (<1500g,VLBW) with and without blood stream infection (BSI) during their birth hospitalization.
Patients and Methods
Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data for the Neonatal Research Network study of PCV7 responses among VLBWs. Infants received PCV7 at 2, 4, and 6 months after birth with blood drawn 4–6 weeks after 3rd dose. Serotype antibodies were compared between infants with or without a history of BSI. Regression models were constructed with birth-weight groups and other confounding factors identified in the primary study.
244 infants completed the vaccine series and had serum antibody available; 82 had BSI. After adjustment, BSI was not associated with reduced odds of serum antibody ≥0.35μg/mL.
BSI was not associated with reduced odds of WHO-defined protective PCV7 responses in VLBWs.
PMCID: PMC3722279  PMID: 23370608
VLBW; immune response; vaccine; sepsis; blood stream infection
18.  Candida Virulence Properties and Adverse Clinical Outcomes in Neonatal Candidiasis 
The Journal of pediatrics  2012;161(3):441-447.e2.
To determine if premature infants with invasive Candida infection caused by strains with increased virulence properties have worse clinical outcomes than those infected with less virulent strains.
Study design
Clinical isolates were studied from 2 populations; premature infants colonized with Candida (commensal, n=27), and those with invasive candidiasis (n=81). Individual isolates of C. albicans and C. parapsilosis were tested for virulence in each of 3 assays: phenotypic switching, adhesion, and cytotoxicity. Invasive isolates were considered to have enhanced virulence if they measured more than 1 SD above the mean for the commensal isolates in at least 1 assay. Outcomes of patients with invasive isolates with enhanced virulence were compared with those with invasive isolates lacking enhanced virulence characteristics.
61% of invasive isolates of C. albicans and 42% of invasive isolates of C. parapsilosis had enhanced virulence. All C. albicans cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) isolates (n=6) and 90% of urine isolates (n=10) had enhanced virulence, compared with 48% of blood isolates (n=40). Infants with more virulent isolates were younger at the time of positive culture and had higher serum creatinine.
Individual isolates of Candida species vary in their virulence properties. Strains with higher virulence are associated with certain clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3419788  PMID: 22504098
C. albicans; C. parapsilosis; mortality; neurodevelopmental impairment; phenotypic switch; adhesion; cytotoxicity
19.  Spontaneous Intestinal Perforation in Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants: Association with Indometacin Therapy and Effects on Neurodevelopmental Outcomes at 18-22 months Corrected Age 
Spontaneous intestinal perforation (SIP) is associated with the use of postnatal glucocorticoids and indometacin in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants. We hypothesized: 1) an association of SIP with the use of antenatal steroids (ANS) and indometacin either as prophylaxis for IVH (P Indo) or for treatment of PDA (Indo/PDA) and 2) an increased risk of death or abnormal neurodevelopmental outcomes in infants with SIP at 18-22 months corrected age.
We retrospectively identified ELBW infants with SIP in the Neonatal Research Network’s generic database. Unadjusted analysis identified the differences in maternal, neonatal and clinical variables between infants with and without SIP. Logistic regression analysis identified the adjusted odds ratio for SIP with reference to ANS, P Indo and Indo/PDA. Neurodevelopmental outcomes were assessed among survivors at 18 to 22 months corrected age.
Indo/PDA was associated with an increased risk of SIP (adjusted OR 1.61; 95% CI 1.25,2.08), while P Indo and ANS were not. SIP was independently associated with an increased risk of death or NDI (adjusted OR−1.85; 95% CI 1.32,2.60) and NDI among survivors (adjusted OR−1.75, 95% CI 1.20,2.55).
Indometacin used for IVH prophylaxis and ANS were not associated with the occurrence of SIP in ELBW infants. Indometacin used for treatment of symptomatic PDA was however associated with an increased risk of SIP. ELBW infants with SIP have an increased risk of poor neurodevelopmental outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3753803  PMID: 22684157
extremely low birth weight infant; intestinal perforation; indometacin; cerebral palsy
20.  Emperic Antifungal Therapy and Outcomes in Extremely-Low-Birth-Weight Infants with Invasive Candidiasis 
The Journal of Pediatrics  2012;161(2):264-269.e2.
To assess the impact of emperic antifungal therapy of invasive candidiasis on subsequent outcomes in premature infants.
Study design
This was a cohort study of infants ≤1000 g birth weight cared for at Neonatal Research Network sites. All infants had at least 1 positive culture for Candida. Emperic antifungal therapy was defined as receipt of a systemic antifungal on the day of or the day before the first positive culture for Candida was drawn. We created Cox proportional hazards and logistic regression models stratified on propensity score quartiles to determine the effect of emperic antifungal therapy on survival, time to clearance of infection, retinopathy of prematurity, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, end-organ damage, and neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI).
136 infants developed invasive candidiasis. The incidence of death or NDI was lower for infants who received emperic antifungal therapy (19/38, 50%) compared with those who had not (55/86, 64%; odds ratio=0.27 [95% confidence interval 0.08–0.86]). There was no significant difference between the groups for any single outcome or other combined outcomes.
Emperic antifungal therapy was associated with increased survival without NDI. A prospective randomized trial of this strategy is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3380169  PMID: 22424952
Candida; neonate; mortality; neurodevelopmental impairment
21.  Effect of inborn vs. outborn delivery on neurodevelopmental outcomes in infants with hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy: secondary analyses of the NICHD whole-body cooling trial 
Pediatric research  2012;72(4):414-419.
The effect of birth location on hypothermia-related outcomes has not been rigorously examined in the literature. In this study, we determined whether birth location had an impact on the benefits of whole-body cooling to 33.5 °C for 72 h in term infants (n = 208) with hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) who participated in the Neonatal Research Network (NRN) randomized controlled trial.
Heterogeneity by birth location was examined with respect to cooling treatment for the 18-mo primary outcomes (death, moderate disability, severe disability) and secondary outcomes (death, components of disability), and in-hospital organ dysfunction. Logistic regression models were used to generate adjusted odds ratios.
Infants bom at a location other than an NRN center (outborn) (n = 93) experienced significant delays in initiation of therapy (mean (SD): 5.5 (1.1) vs. 4.4 (1.2) h), lower baseline temperatures (36.6 (1.2) vs. 37.1 (0.9) °C), and more severe HIE (43 vs. 29%) than infants born in an NRN center (inborn) (n = 115). Maternal education <12 y (50 vs. 14%) and African-American ethnicity (43 vs. 25%) were more common in the inborn group. When adjusted for NRN center and HIE severity, there were no significant differences in 18-mo outcomes or in-hospital organ dysfunction between inborn and outborn infants.
Although limited by sample size and some differences in baseline characteristics, the study showed that birth location does not appear to modify the treatment effect of hypothermia after HIE.
PMCID: PMC3730811  PMID: 22914450
22.  Brain injury following trial of hypothermia for neonatal hypoxic–ischaemic encephalopathy 
The objective of our study was to examine the relationship between brain injury and outcome following neonatal hypoxic–ischaemic encephalopathy treated with hypothermia.
Design and patients
Neonatal MRI scans were evaluated in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) randomised controlled trial of whole-body hypothermia and each infant was categorised based upon the pattern of brain injury on the MRI findings. Brain injury patterns were assessed as a marker of death or disability at 18–22 months of age.
Scans were obtained on 136 of 208 trial participants (65%); 73 in the hypothermia and 63 in the control group. Normal scans were noted in 38 of 73 infants (52%) in the hypothermia group and 22 of 63 infants (35%) in the control group. Infants in the hypothermia group had fewer areas of infarction (12%) compared to infants in the control group (22%). Fifty-one of the 136 infants died or had moderate or severe disability at 18 months. The brain injury pattern correlated with outcome of death or disability and with disability among survivors. Each point increase in the severity of the pattern of brain injury was independently associated with a twofold increase in the odds of death or disability.
Fewer areas of infarction and a trend towards more normal scans were noted in brain MRI following whole-body hypothermia. Presence of the NICHD pattern of brain injury is a marker of death or moderate or severe disability at 18–22 months following hypothermia for neonatal encephalopathy.
PMCID: PMC3722585  PMID: 23080477
23.  Impact of maternal substance use during pregnancy on childhood outcome 
The impact of maternal substance abuse is reflected in the 2002–2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Among pregnant women in the 15–44 age group, 4.3%, 18% and 9.8% used illicit drugs, tobacco and alcohol, respectively. Maternal pregnancy complications following substance use include increases in sexually transmitted disorders, placental abruption and HIV-positive status. Effects on the neonate include a decrease in growth parameters and increases in central nervous system and autonomic nervous system signs and in referrals to child protective agencies. In childhood, behavioral and cognitive effects are seen after prenatal cocaine exposure; tobacco and alcohol have separate and specific effects. The ongoing use of alcohol and tobacco by the caretaker affects childhood behavior. Therefore, efforts should be made to prevent and treat behavioral problems as well as to limit the onset of drug use by adolescent children born to women who use drugs during pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC3717561  PMID: 17317350
Alcohol; Child medicine; Cocaine; Neonatal; Neurobehavioral outcome; Polydrug use; Tobacco
24.  Association Between Blood Spot Transforming Growth Factor-β and Patent Ductus Arteriosus in Extremely Low-Birth Weight Infants 
Pediatric cardiology  2012;34(1):149-154.
Permanent ductal closure involves anatomic remodeling, in which transforming growth factor (TGF)-β appears to play a role. Our objective was to evaluate the relationship, if any, between blood spot TGF-β on day 3 and day 7 of life and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants. Prospective observational study involving ELBW infants (n = 968) in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network who had TGF-β measured on filter paper spot blood samples using a Luminex assay. Infants with a PDA (n = 493) were significantly more immature, had lower birth weights, and had higher rates of respiratory distress syndrome than those without PDA (n = 475). TGF-β on days 3 and 7 of life, respectively, were significantly lower among neonates with PDA (median 1,177 pg/ml [range 642–1,896]; median 1,386 pg/ml [range 868–1,913]) compared with others without PDA (median 1,334 pg/ml [range 760–2,064]; median 1,712 pg/ml [range 1,014–2,518 pg/ml]). The significant difference persisted when death or PDA was considered a composite outcome. TGF-β levels were not significantly different among subgroups of infants with PDA who were not treated (n = 51) versus those who were treated medically (n = 283) or by surgical ligation (n = 159). TGF-β was not a significant predictor of death or PDA (day 3 odds ratio [OR] 0.99, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 0.83–1.17; day 7 OR 0.88, 95 % CI 0.74–1.04) on adjusted analyses. Our results suggest that blood spot TGF-β alone is unlikely to be a reliable biomarker of a clinically significant PDA or its responsiveness to treatment.
PMCID: PMC3704212  PMID: 22684193
Transforming growth factor; Patent ductus arteriosus; Preterm; Neonate
25.  Risk Factors for Post-NICU Discharge Mortality Among Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants 
The Journal of Pediatrics  2012;161(1):70-74.e2.
To evaluate maternal and neonatal risk factors associated with post-neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) discharge mortality among ELBW infants.
Study design
This is a retrospective analysis of extremely low birth weight (<1,000 g) and <27 weeks' gestational age infants born in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Neonatal Research Network sites from January 2000 to June 2007. Infants were tracked until death or 18–22 months corrected age. Infants who died between NICU discharge and the 18–22 month follow-up visit were classified as post-NICU discharge mortality. Association of maternal and infant risk factors with post-NICU discharge mortality was determined using logistic regression analysis. A prediction model with six significant predictors was developed and validated.
5,364 infants survived to NICU discharge. 557 (10%) infants were lost to follow-up, and 107 infants died following NICU discharge. Post-NICU discharge mortality rate was 22.3 per 1000 ELBW infants. In the prediction model, African-American race, unknown maternal health insurance, and hospital stay ≥120 days significantly increased risk, and maternal exposure to intra-partum antibiotics was associated with decreased risk of post-NICU discharge mortality.
We identified African-American race, unknown medical insurance and prolonged NICU stay as risk factors associated with post-NICU discharge mortality among ELBW infants.
PMCID: PMC3366175  PMID: 22325187
extremely preterm infants; discharge; mortality; predictive model

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