Prior evidence suggests geographic disparities in the effect of maternal education on child nutritional status between countries, between regions and between urban and rural areas. We postulated its effect would also vary by micro-geographic locations (indicated by mountain areas, plain areas and the edge areas) in a Chinese minority area.
A cross-sectional study was conducted with a multistage random sample of 1474 school children aged 5-12 years in Guyuan, China. Child nutritional status was measured by height-for-age z scores (HAZ). Linear mixed models were used to examine its association with place of residence and maternal education.
Micro-geographic disparities in child nutritional status and the level of socioeconomic composition were found. Children living in mountain areas had poorer nutritional status, even after adjusting for demographic (plain versus mountain, β = 0.16, P = 0.033; edge versus mountain, β = 0.29, P = 0.002) and socioeconomic factors (plain versus mountain, β = 0.12, P = 0.137; edge versus mountain, β = 0.25, P = 0.009). The disparities significantly widened with increasing years of mothers’ schooling (maternal education*plain versus mountain: β = 0.06, P = 0.007; maternal education*edge versus mountain: β = 0.07, P = 0.005). Moreover, the association between maternal education and child nutrition was negative (β = -0.03, P = 0.056) in mountain areas but positive in plain areas (β = 0.02, P = 0.094) or in the edge areas (β = 0.04, P = 0.055).
Micro-geographic disparities in child nutritional status increase with increasing level of maternal education and the effect of maternal education varies by micro-geographic locations, which exacerbates child health inequity. Educating rural girls alone is not sufficient; improving unfavorable conditions in mountain areas might make such investments more effective in promoting child health. Nutrition programs targeting to the least educated groups in plain and in edge areas would be critical to their cost-effectiveness.
Medical homes, an important component of U.S. health reform, were first developed to help families of children with special health care needs (CSHCN) find and coordinate services, and reduce their children’s unmet need for health services. We hypothesize that CSHCN lacking medical homes are more likely than those with medical homes to report health system delivery or coverage problems as the specific reasons for unmet need.
Data are from the 2005-2006 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (NS-CSHCN), a national, population-based survey of 40,723 CSHCN. We studied whether lacking a medical home was associated with 9 specific reasons for unmet need for 11 types of medical services, controlling for health insurance, child’s health, and sociodemographic characteristics.
Weighted to the national population, 17% of CSHCN reported at least one unmet health service need in the previous year. CSHCN without medical homes were 2 to 3 times as likely to report unmet need for child or family health services, and more likely to report no referral (OR= 3.3), dissatisfaction with provider (OR=2.5), service not available in area (OR= 2.1), can’t find provider who accepts insurance (OR=1.8), and health plan problems (OR=1.4) as reasons for unmet need (all p<0.05).
CSHCN without medical homes were more likely than those with medical homes to report health system delivery or coverage reasons for unmet child health service needs. Attributable risk estimates suggest that if the 50% of CSHCN who lacked medical homes had one, overall unmet need for child health services could be reduced by as much as 35% and unmet need for family health services by 40%.
To investigate the accuracy of three clinical scales for predicting severe disease (severe dehydration or death) in children with diarrhea in a resource-limited setting.
Participants included 178 children admitted to three Rwandan hospitals with diarrhea. A local physician or nurse assessed each child on arrival using the World Health Organization (WHO) severe dehydration scale and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) scale. Children were weighed on arrival and daily until they achieved a stable weight, with a 10% increase between admission weight and stable weight considered severe dehydration. The Clinical Dehydration Scale was then constructed post-hoc using the data collected for the other two scales. Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) curves were constructed for each scale compared to the composite outcome of severe dehydration or death.
The WHO severe dehydration scale, CDC scale, and Clinical Dehydration Scale had areas under the ROC curves (AUCs) of 0.72 (95% CI 0.60, 0.85), 0.73 (95% CI 0.62, 0.84), and 0.80 (95% CI 0.71, 0.89), respectively, in the full cohort. Only the Clinical Dehydration Scale was a significant predictor of severe disease when used in infants, with an AUC of 0.77 (95% CI 0.61, 0.93), and when used by nurses, with an AUC of 0.78 (95% CI 0.63, 0.93).
While all three scales were moderate predictors of severe disease in children with diarrhea, scale accuracy varied based on provider training and age of the child. Future research should focus on developing or validating clinical tools that can be used accurately by nurses and other less-skilled providers to assess all children with diarrhea in resource-limited settings.
In Kenya, the maternal mortality rate had ranged from 328 to 501 deaths per 100,000 live births over the last three decades. To reduce these rates, the government launched in 2006 a means-tested reproductive health output-based approach (OBA) voucher program that covers costs of antenatal care, a facility-based delivery (FBD) and a postnatal visit in prequalified healthcare facilities. This paper investigated whether women who bought the voucher for their index child and had a FBD were more likely to deliver a subsequent child in a facility compared to those who did not buy vouchers.
Methods and Findings
We used population-based cohort data from two Nairobi slums where the voucher program was piloted. We selected mothers of at least two children born between 2006 and 2012 and divided the mothers into two groups: Index-OBA mothers bought the voucher for the index child (N=352), and non-OBA mothers did not buy the voucher during the study period (N=514). The most complete model indicated that the adjusted odds-ratio of FBD of subsequent child when the index child was born in a facility was 3.89 (p<0.05) and 4.73 (p<0.01) in Group 2.
Discussion and Conclusion
The study indicated that the voucher program improved poor women access to FBD. Furthermore, the FBD of an index child appeared to have a persistent effect, as a subsequent child of the same mother was more likely to be born in a facility as well. While women who purchased the voucher have higher odds of delivering their subsequent child in a facility, those odds were smaller than those of the women who did not buy the voucher. However, women who did not buy the voucher were less likely to deliver in a good healthcare facility, negating their possible benefit of facility-based deliveries. Pathways to improve access to FBD to all near poor women are needed.
Neonatal seizures pose a high risk for adverse outcome in survived infants. While the prognostic value of amplitude-integrated electroencephalogram (aEEG) is well established in neonates with encephalopathy and asphyxia, neonatal seizure studies focusing on the direct correlation between early aEEG measurement and subsequent neurologic outcome are scarce. In this study, the prognostic value of aEEG features was systematically analyzed in 143 full-term neonates to identify prognostic indicators of neurodevelopmental outcome. Neonatal aEEG features of background pattern, cyclicity, and seizure activity, as well as the etiology of neonatal seizures, were significantly associated with neurodevelopmental outcome at one year of age. aEEG background pattern was highly associated with neurologic outcomes (χ2 = 116.9), followed by aEEG cyclicity (χ2 = 87.2) and seizure etiology (χ2 = 79.3). Multiple linear regression showed that the four predictors explained 71.2% of the variation in neurological outcome, with standardized β coefficients of 0.44, 0.24, 0.22, and 0.14 for the predictors of aEEG background pattern, cyclicity, etiology, and aEEG seizure activity, respectively. This clinically applicable scoring system based on etiology and three aEEG indices would allow pediatricians to assess the risk for neurodevelopmental impairment and facilitate an early intervention in newborns developing seizures.
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.
VLBW; immune response; vaccine; sepsis; blood stream infection
Mobile health applications are complex interventions that essentially require changes to the behavior of health care professionals who will use them and changes to systems or processes in delivery of care. Our aim has been to meet the technical needs of Health Extension Workers (HEWs) and midwives for maternal health using appropriate mobile technologies tools.
We have developed and evaluated a set of appropriate smartphone health applications using open source components, including a local language adapted data collection tool, health worker and manager user-friendly dashboard analytics and maternal-newborn protocols. This is an eighteen month follow-up of an ongoing observational research study in the northern of Ethiopia involving two districts, twenty HEWs, and twelve midwives.
Most health workers rapidly learned how to use and became comfortable with the touch screen devices so only limited technical support was needed. Unrestricted use of smartphones generated a strong sense of ownership and empowerment among the health workers. Ownership of the phones was a strong motivator for the health workers, who recognised the value and usefulness of the devices, so took care to look after them. A low level of smartphones breakage (8.3%,3 from 36) and loss (2.7%) were reported. Each health worker made an average of 160 mins of voice calls and downloaded 27Mb of data per month, however, we found very low usage of short message service (less than 3 per month).
Although it is too early to show a direct link between mobile technologies and health outcomes, mobile technologies allow health managers to more quickly and reliably have access to data which can help identify where there issues in the service delivery. Achieving a strong sense of ownership and empowerment among health workers is a prerequisite for a successful introduction of any mobile health program.
To assess the economic impact of maternal death on rural Chinese households during the year after maternal death.
A prospective cohort study matched 183 households who had suffered a maternal death to 346 households that experienced childbirth without maternal death in rural areas of three provinces in China. Surveys were conducted at baseline (1–3 months after maternal death or childbirth) and one year after baseline using the quantitative questionnaire. We investigated household income, expenditure, accumulated debts, and self-reported household economic status. Difference-in-Difference (DID), linear regression, and logistic regression analyses were used to compare the economic status between households with and without maternal death.
The households with maternal death had a higher risk of self-reported “household economy became worse” during the follow-up period (adjusted OR = 6.04, p<0.001). During the follow-up period, at the household level, DID estimator of income and expenditure showed that households with maternal death had a significant relative reduction of US$ 869 and US$ 650, compared to those households that experienced childbirth with no adverse event (p<0.001). Converted to proportions of change, an average of 32.0% reduction of annual income and 24.9% reduction of annual expenditure were observed in households with a maternal death. The mean increase of accumulated debts in households with a maternal death was 3.2 times as high as that in households without maternal death (p = 0.024). Expenditure pattern of households with maternal death changed, with lower consumption on food (p = 0.037), clothes and commodity (p = 0.003), traffic and communication (p = 0.022) and higher consumption on cigarette or alcohol (p = 0.014).
Compared with childbirth, maternal death had adverse impact on household economy, including higher risk of self-reported “household economy became worse”, decreased income and expenditure, increased debts and changed expenditure pattern.
To investigate if the lack of gestational age correction may explain some of the school failure seen in ex-preterm infants.
A cohort study based on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). The primary outcome was a low Key Stage 1 score (KS1) score at age 7 or having special educational needs (SEN). Exposure groups were defined as preterm (<37 weeks gestation, n = 722) or term (37–42 weeks, n = 11,268). Conditional regression models were derived, matching preterm to term infants on date of birth (DOB), expected date of delivery (EDD) or expected date of delivery and year of school entry. Multiple imputation was used to account for missing covariate data.
When matching for DOB, infants born preterm had an increased odds of a low KS1 score (OR 1.73 (1.45–2.06)) and this association persisted after adjusting for potential confounders (OR 1.57 (1.25–1.97)). The association persisted in the analysis matching for EDD (fully adjusted OR 1.53 (1.21–1.94)) but attenuated substantially after additionally restricting to those infants who entered school at the same time as the control infants (fully adjusted OR 1.25 (0.98–1.60)). A compatible reduction in the population attributable risk fraction was seen from 4.60% to 2.12%, and year of school entry appeared to modify the association between gestational age and the risk of a poor KS1 score (p = 0.029).
This study provides evidence that the school year placement and assessment of ex-preterm infants based on their actual birthday (rather than their EDD) may increase their risk of learning difficulties with corresponding school failure.
To assess performance of the WHO revised verbal autopsy tool for ascertaining the causes of still birth in comparison with reference standard cause of death ascertained by standardized clinical and supportive data.
All stillbirths at a tertiary hospital in Karachi, Pakistan were prospectively recruited into study from August 2006- February 2008. The reference standard cause of death was established by two senior obstetricians within 48 hours using the ICD coding system. Verbal autopsy interviews using modified WHO tool were conducted by trained health workers within 2- 6 weeks of still birth and the cause of death was assigned by second panel of obstetricians. The performance was assessed in terms of sensitivity, specificity and Kappa.
There were 204 still births. Of these, 80.8% of antepartum and 50.5% of intrapartum deaths were correctly diagnosed by verbal autopsy. Sensitivity of verbal autopsy was highest 68.4%, (95%CI: 46-84.6) for congenital malformation followed by obstetric complication 57.6%, (95%CI: 25-84.2). The specificity for all major causes was greater than 90%. The level of agreement was high (kappa=0.72) for anomalies and moderate (k=0.4) for all major causes of still birth, except asphyxia.
Our results suggest that verbal autopsy has reasonable validity in identifying and discriminating between causes of stillbirth in Pakistan. On the basis of these findings, we feel it has a place in resource constrained areas to inform strategic planning and mobilization of resources to attain Millennium Development Goals.
Male vulnerability in health and growth outcomes has often been reported in very low birth weight (VLBW) preterm neonates. On the basis of gender-difference theories, possible associations were explored between the levels of postnatal salivary testosterone/cortisol and the outcomes of neonatal health/growth.
This study used an exploratory and comparative research design. One-hundred-one mother–VLBW preterm neonate pairs were recruited from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of a tertiary medical center in the Southeastern, US. Demographic information, health and growth variables of neonates, and pregnancy and labor variables of mothers were obtained from the medical record reviews and interviews of mothers. Saliva samples from each pair were collected between 9 and 60 days of age. The levels of testosterone and cortisol were determined by using an enzyme immunoassay methodology.
Linear regression analysis showed that neonatal health problems were positively associated with the levels of postnatal salivary testosterone and cortisol, while growth delays were positively associated with the levels of postnatal salivary testosterone after adjusting for the characteristics of neonates and mothers and day of saliva sampling. The salivary levels of testosterone and cortisol were higher in neonates than in mothers. A positive correlation between the levels of testosterone and cortisol was found in neonates and in mothers.
The level of postnatal salivary testosterone is a more reliable marker in assessing neonatal health and growth outcomes compared to salivary cortisol. Further research on both testosterone and cortisol measurements at various stages during the neonatal period may elucidate further these associations.
Salivary testosterone; Salivary cortisol; Neonatal health and growth
To determine in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants if elevated blood inteferon-γ (IFN-γ), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-18, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) are associated with need for shunt following severe intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), or with ventricular dilation following milder grades /no IVH.
Whole blood cytokines were measured on postnatal days 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21. Maximum IVH grade in the first 28d, and shunt surgery or ventricular dilation on subsequent ultrasound (28d -36 w PMA) were determined.
Of 902 infants in the NICHD NRN Cytokine study who survived to 36w/discharge, 3.1% had shunts. Of the 12% of infants with severe (Gr III–IV) IVH, 26% had a shunt associated with elevated TNF-α. None of the infants without IVH (69%) or with Gr I (12%) or II (7%) IVH received shunts, but 8.4% developed ventricular dilation, associated with lower IFN-γ and higher IL-18.
Statistically significant but clinically non-discriminatory alterations in blood cytokines were noted in infants with severe IVH who received shunts and in those without severe IVH who developed ventricular dilation. Blood cytokines are likely associated with brain injury but may not be clinically useful as biomarkers for white matter damage.
Infant; premature; Cytokines; Hydrocephalus; Intraventricular hemorrhage; Intracranial hemorrhage
To describe the staffing and availability of medical equipment and medications and the performance of procedures at health facilities providing maternal and neonatal care at African, Asian, and Latin American sites participating in a multicenter trial to improve emergency obstetric/neonatal care in communities with high maternal and perinatal mortality.
In 2009, prior to intervention, we surveyed 136 hospitals and 228 clinics in 7 sites in Africa, Asia, and Latin America regarding staffing, availability of equipment/ medications, and procedures including cesarean section.
The coverage of physicians and nurses/midwives was poor in Africa and Latin America. In Africa, only 20% of hospitals had full-time physicians. Only 70% of hospitals in Africa and Asia had performed cesarean sections in the last 6 months. Oxygen was unavailable in 40% of African hospitals and 17% of Asian hospitals. Blood was unavailable in 80% of African and Asian hospitals.
Assuming that adequate facility services are necessary to improve pregnancy outcomes, it is not surprising that maternal and perinatal mortality rates in the areas surveyed are high. The data presented emphasize that to reduce mortality in these areas, resources that result in improved staffing and sufficient equipment, supplies, and medication, along with training, are required.
emergency obstetric and neonatal care; developing countries; perinatal mortality
Risks of death are high when children with pneumonia also have severe acute malnutrition (SAM) as a co-morbidity. However, there is limited published information on risk factors of death from pneumonia in SAM children. We evaluated clinically identifiable factors associated with death in under-five children who were hospitalized for the management of pneumonia and SAM.
For this unmatched case-control design, SAM children of either sex, aged 0–59 months, admitted to the Dhaka Hospital of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) during April 2011 to July 2012 with radiological pneumonia were studied. The SAM children with pneumonia who had fatal outcome constituted the cases (n = 35), and randomly selected SAM children with pneumonia who survived constituted controls (n = 105).
The median (inter-quartile range) age (months) was comparable among the cases and the controls [8.0 (4.9, 11.0) vs. 9.7 (5.0, 18.0); p = 0.210)]. In logistic regression analysis, after adjusting for potential confounders, such as vomiting, abnormal mental status, and systolic hypotension (<70 mm of Hg) in absence of dehydration, fatal cases of severely malnourished under-five children with pneumonia were more often hypoxemic (OR = 23.15, 95% CI = 4.38–122.42), had clinical dehydration (some/severe) (OR = 9.48, 95% CI = 2.42–37.19), abdominal distension at admission (OR = 4.41, 95% CI = 1.12–16.52), and received blood transfusion (OR = 5.50, 95% CI = 1.21–24.99) for the management of crystalloid resistant systolic hypotension.
Conclusion and Significance
We identified hypoxemia, clinical dehydration, and abdominal distension as the independent predictors of death in SAM children with pneumonia. SAM children with pneumonia who required blood transfusion for the management of crystalloid resistant systolic hypotension were also at risk for death. Thus, early identification and prompt management of these simple clinically recognizable predictors of death and discourage the use of blood transfusion for the management of crystalloid resistant systolic hypotension may help reduce deaths in such population.
To implement a vital statistics registry system to register pregnant women and document birth outcomes in the Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research sites in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
The Global Network sites began a prospective population-based pregnancy registry to identify all pregnant women and record pregnancy outcomes up to 42 days post-delivery in more than 100 defined low-resource geographic areas (clusters). Pregnant women were registered during pregnancy, with 42-day maternal and neonatal follow-up recorded—including care received during the pregnancy and postpartum periods. Recorded outcomes included stillbirth, neonatal mortality, and maternal mortality rates.
In 2010, 72 848 pregnant women were enrolled and 6-week follow-up was obtained for 97.8%. Across sites, 40.7%, 24.8%, and 34.5% of births occurred in a hospital, health center, and home setting, respectively. The mean neonatal mortality rate was 23 per 1000 live births, ranging from 8.2 to 48.5 per 1000 live births. The mean stillbirth rate ranged from 13.7 to 54.4 per 1000 births.
The registry is an ongoing study to assess the impact of interventions and trends regarding pregnancy outcomes and measures of care to inform public health.
Maternal mortality; Neonatal mortality; Perinatal mortality; Pregnancy; Registry; Stillbirth
Improving the health and well-being of women and children has long been a common goal throughout the world. From 2005 to 2011, Suizhou City had an annual average of 22,405 pregnant and parturient women (1.04% of the population) and 98,811 children under 5 years old (4.57% of the population). Understanding the status of maternal and child health care in Suizhou City during such period can provide the local health administrative department valid scientific bases upon which to construct effective policies.
Various types of annual reports on maternal and child health care were collected and analyzed retrospectively.
Mortality rates for infants and children under 5 years showed a declining trend, while the rates of newborn home visiting, maternal health service coverage, and children health systematic management increased annually in Suizhou City from 2005 to 2011. The incidence of birth defect increased from 2.42‰ in 2005 to 3.89‰ in 2011. The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) fluctuated from 8.39/100,000 to 28.77/100,000, which was much lower than the national MMR (30.0/100,000 in 2010). The rates of hospitalized delivery and births attended by trained health personnel for pregnant women increased to more than 90% in the past five years.
The improvements in maternal and child health care work in Suizhou City are worthy of recognition. Thus, the government should continue to increase funding in these areas to promote the complete enhancement of the maternal and child health care system.
To assess the impact of emperic antifungal therapy of invasive candidiasis on subsequent outcomes in premature infants.
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.
Candida; neonate; mortality; neurodevelopmental impairment
To test the hypothesis that preterm infants randomized to a low vs high O2 saturation target range have a higher incidence of intermittent hypoxemia.
A subcohort of 115 preterm infants with high resolution pulse oximetry enrolled in the Surfactant, Positive Pressure, and Oxygenation Randomized Trial were randomized to low (85%-89%) or high (91%-95%) O2 saturation target ranges. Oxygen saturation was monitored until 36 weeks postmenstrual age or until the infant was breathing room air without respiratory support for ≥72 hours.
The low target O2 saturation group had a higher rate of intermittent hypoxemia (≤80% for ≥10 seconds and ≤3 minutes) prior to 12 days and beyond 57 days of life (P < .05). The duration shortened (P < .0001) and the severity increased (P < .0001) with increasing postnatal age with no differences between target saturation groups. The higher rate of intermittent hypoxemia events in the low target group was associated with a time interval between events of <1 minute.
A low O2 saturation target was associated with an increased rate of intermittent hypoxemia events that was dependent on postnatal age. The duration and severity of events was comparable between target groups. Further investigation is needed to assess the role of intermittent hypoxemia and their timing on neonatal morbidity.
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.
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.
Transforming growth factor; Patent ductus arteriosus; Preterm; Neonate
To assess the feasibility of a randomized placebo controlled trial (RCT) of blood pressure (BP) management for extremely preterm infants.
This was a prospective pilot RCT of infants 230/7 – 266/7 weeks gestation who had protocol-defined low BP in the first 24 postnatal hours. Enrolled infants were administered a study infusion (dopamine or placebo) and a study syringe medication (hydrocortisone or placebo).
Of the 366 infants screened, 119 (33%) had low BP, 58 (16%) met all entry criteria, and 10 (3%) were enrolled. 161 (44%) infants were ineligible because they received early indomethacin. Only 17% of eligible infants were enrolled. Problems with consent included insufficient time, parent unavailability, and physician unwillingness to enroll critically ill infants. Two infants were withdrawn from the study due to the potential risk of intestinal perforation with simultaneous administration of hydrocortisone and indomethacin.
This pilot RCT was not feasible due to low eligibility and consent rates. An RCT of BP management for extremely preterm infants may require a waiver of consent for research in emergency care. The frequent use of early indomethacin and the associated risk of intestinal perforation when used with hydrocortisone may limit future investigations to only inotropic medications.
Extremely preterm infant; hypotension; hydrocortisone; dopamine; informed consent
Methods are required to predict prognosis with changes in clinical course. Death or neurodevelopmental impairment in extremely premature neonates can be predicted at birth/admission to the ICU by considering gender, antenatal steroids, multiple birth, birth weight, and gestational age. Predictions may be improved by using additional information available later during the clinical course. Our objective was to develop serial predictions of outcome by using prognostic factors available over the course of NICU hospitalization.
Data on infants with birth weight ≤1.0 kg admitted to 18 large academic tertiary NICUs during 1998–2005 were used to develop multivariable regression models following stepwise variable selection. Models were developed by using all survivors at specific times during hospitalization (in delivery room [n = 8713], 7-day [n = 6996], 28-day [n = 6241], and 36-week postmenstrual age [n = 5118]) to predict death or death/neurodevelopmental impairment at 18 to 22 months.
Prediction of death or neurodevelopmental impairment in extremely premature infants is improved by using information available later during the clinical course. The importance of birth weight declines, whereas the importance of respiratory illness severity increases with advancing postnatal age. The c-statistic in validation models ranged from 0.74 to 0.80 with misclassification rates ranging from 0.28 to 0.30.
Dynamic models of the changing probability of individual outcome can improve outcome predictions in preterm infants. Various current and future scenarios can be modeled by input of different clinical possibilities to develop individual “outcome trajectories” and evaluate impact of possible morbidities on outcome.
logistic models; premature infant; predictive value of tests; prognosis
We sought to determine if a center’s approach to care of premature infants at the youngest gestational ages (22–24 weeks’ gestation) is associated with clinical outcomes among infants of older gestational ages (25–27 weeks’ gestation).
Inborn infants of 401 to 1000 g birth weight and 22 0/7 to 27 6/7 weeks’ gestation at birth from 2002 to 2008 were enrolled into a prospectively collected database at 20 centers participating in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network. Markers of an aggressive approach to care for 22- to 24-week infants included use of antenatal corticosteroids, cesarean delivery, and resuscitation. The primary outcome was death before postnatal day 120 for infants of 25 to 27 weeks’ gestation. Secondary outcomes were the combined outcomes of death or a number of morbidities associated with prematurity.
Our study included 3631 infants 22 to 24 weeks’ gestation and 5227 infants 25 to 27 weeks’ gestation. Among the 22- to 24-week infants, use of antenatal corticosteroids ranged from 28% to 100%, cesarean delivery from 13% to 65%, and resuscitation from 30% to 100% by center. Centers with higher rates of antenatal corticosteroid use in 22- to 24-week infants had reduced rates of death, death or retinopathy of prematurity, death or late-onset sepsis, death or necrotizing enterocolitis, and death or neurodevelopmental impairment in 25- to 27-week infants.
This study suggests that physicians’ willingness to provide care to extremely low gestation infants as measured by frequency of use of antenatal corticosteroids is associated with improved outcomes for more-mature infants.
low-birth weight infant; NICUs; treatment; patient outcome assessment
To determine whether resuscitation of infants who failed to develop effective breathing at birth increases survivors with neurodevelopmental impairment.
Infants unresponsive to stimulation who received bag and mask ventilation at birth in a resuscitation trial and infants who did not require any resuscitation were randomized to early neurodevelopmental intervention or control. Infants were evaluated by trained neurodevelopmental evaluators masked to both their resuscitation history and intervention group. The 12-month neurodevelopmental outcome data for both resuscitated and non-resuscitated infants randomized to the control groups are reported.
The study provided no evidence of a difference between the resuscitated (N = 86) and the non-resuscitated infants (N = 115) in the percentage of infants at 12 months with a mental developmental index < 85 on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development-II (primary outcome) (18% versus 12%; p = 0.22) and in other neurodevelopmental outcomes.
The overwhelming majority of infants who received resuscitation with bag and mask ventilation at birth have 12-month neurodevelopmental outcomes in the normal range. Longer follow-up is needed because of increased risk for neurodevelopmental impairments.
Resuscitation; intellectual disability; low and middle income countries; neonatal mortality; infant mortality; developmental outcome
Information on cytokine profiles in fungal sepsis (FS), an important cause of mortality in extremely low birthweight infants (ELBW), is lacking. We hypothesized that cytokine profiles in the 1st 21 days of life in ELBW with FS differ from those with bacterial sepsis (BS) or no sepsis (NS).
In a secondary analyses of the NICHD Cytokine study, three groups were defined - FS (≥1 episode of FS), BS (≥1 episode of BS without FS), and NS. Association between 11 cytokines assayed in dried blood spots obtained on days 0-1, 3±1, 7±2, 14±3, and 21±3 and sepsis group was explored.
Of 1066 infants, 89 had FS and 368 had BS. Compared to BS, FS was more likely to be associated with lower birthweight, vaginal delivery, patent ductus arteriosus, postnatal steroids, multiple central lines, longer respiratory support and hospital stay, and higher mortality (p<0.05). Analyses controlling for covariates showed significant group differences over time for IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-18, TGF-β and TNF-α (p<0.05).
Significant differences in profiles for IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-18, TGF-β and TNF-α in FS, BS or NS in this hypothesis-generating secondary study require validation in rigorously designed prospective studies and may have implications for diagnosis and treatment.