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1.  Surgery and Neurodevelopmental Outcome of Very Low Birth Weight Infants 
JAMA pediatrics  2014;168(8):746-754.
Reduced death and neurodevelopmental impairment among infants is a goal of perinatal medicine.
To assess the association between surgery during the initial hospitalization and death or neurodevelopmental impairment of very low birth weight infants.
Retrospective cohort analysis of patients enrolled in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network Generic Database from 1998–2009 and evaluated at 18–22 months’ corrected age.
22 academic neonatal intensive care units.
Inclusion criteria were: birth weight 401–1500 g; survival to 12 hours; available for follow-up. Some conditions were excluded. 12 111 infants were included in analyses, 87% of those eligible.
Surgical procedures; surgery also classified by expected anesthesia type as major (general anesthesia) or minor surgery (non-general anesthesia).
Multivariable logistic regression analyses planned a priori were performed for the primary outcome of death or neurodevelopmental impairment and for the secondary outcome of neurodevelopmental impairment among survivors. Multivariable linear regression analyses were performed as planned for the adjusted means of Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Second Edition, Mental Developmental Index and Psychomotor Developmental Index for patients born before 2006.
There were 2186 major, 784 minor and 9141 no surgery patients. The risk-adjusted odds ratio of death or neurodevelopmental impairment for all surgery patients compared with those who had no surgery was 1.29 (95% confidence interval 1.08–1.55). For patients who had major surgery compared with those who had no surgery the risk-adjusted odds ratio of death or neurodevelopmental impairment was 1.52 (95% confidence interval 1.24–1.87). Patients classified as having minor surgery had no increased adjusted risk. Among survivors who had major surgery compared with those who had no surgery the adjusted odds ratio for neurodevelopmental impairment was 1.56 (95% confidence interval 1.26–1.93) and the adjusted mean Mental Developmental Index and mean Psychomotor Developmental Index values were lower.
Major surgery in very low birth weight infants is independently associated with a greater than 50% increased risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment and of neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months’ corrected age. The role of general anesthesia is implicated but remains unproven.
PMCID: PMC4142429  PMID: 24934607
2.  Respiratory Outcomes of the Surfactant Positive Pressure and Oximetry Randomized Trial 
The Journal of pediatrics  2014;165(2):240-249.e4.
To explore the early childhood pulmonary outcomes of infants who participated in the NICHD SUPPORT Trial, using a factorial design that randomized extremely preterm infants to lower vs. higher oxygen saturation targets and delivery room CPAP vs. intubation/surfactant, found no significant difference in the primary composite outcome of death or BPD.
Study design
The Breathing Outcomes Study, a prospective secondary to SUPPORT, assessed respiratory morbidity at 6 month intervals from hospital discharge to 18–22 months corrected age (CA). Two pre-specified primary outcomes, wheezing more than twice per week during the worst 2 week period and cough longer than 3 days without a cold were compared between each randomized intervention.
One or more interviews were completed for 918 of 922 eligible infants. The incidence of wheezing and cough were 47.9% and 31.0%, respectively, and did not differ between study arms of either randomized intervention. Infants randomized to lower vs. higher oxygen saturation targets had similar risks of death or respiratory morbidities (except for croup, treatment with oxygen or diuretics at home). Infants randomized to CPAP vs. intubation/surfactant had fewer episodes of wheezing without a cold (28.9% vs. 36.5%, p<0.05), respiratory illnesses diagnosed by a doctor (47.7% vs. 55.2%, p<0.05) and physician or emergency room visits for breathing problems (68.0% vs. 72.9%, p<0.05) by 18–22 months CA.
Treatment with early CPAP rather than intubation/surfactant is associated with less respiratory morbidity by 18–22 months CA. Longitudinal assessment of pulmonary morbidity is necessary to fully evaluate the potential benefits of respiratory interventions for neonates.
PMCID: PMC4111960  PMID: 24725582
Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia; Infant, Newborn; Infant, Low Birth Weight; Infant, Extremely Low Birth Weight; Infant, Premature; Infant, Extremely Low Gestational Age; Infant mortality; Respiratory morbidity; Intensive care, neonatal; Hospital Readmission; Oximetry; Randomized controlled trial; Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP); Continuous Positive Airway Pressure; Intubation, endotracheal; Pulmonary surfactants/therapeutic use; Oxygen inhalation therapy/methods; Oxygen administration & dosage; Follow-up studies
3.  Causes and Timing of Death in Extremely Premature Infants from 2000 through 2011 
The New England journal of medicine  2015;372(4):331-340.
Understanding the causes and timing of death in extremely premature infants may guide research efforts and inform the counseling of families.
We analyzed prospectively collected data on 6075 deaths among 22,248 live births, with gestational ages of 22 0/7 to 28 6/7 weeks, among infants born in study hospitals within the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network. We compared overall and cause-specific in-hospital mortality across three periods from 2000 through 2011, with adjustment for baseline differences.
The number of deaths per 1000 live births was 275 (95% confidence interval [CI], 264 to 285) from 2000 through 2003 and 285 (95% CI, 275 to 295) from 2004 through 2007; the number decreased to 258 (95% CI, 248 to 268) in the 2008–2011 period (P = 0.003 for the comparison across three periods). There were fewer pulmonary-related deaths attributed to the respiratory distress syndrome and bronchopulmonary dysplasia in 2008–2011 than in 2000–2003 and 2004–2007 (68 [95% CI, 63 to 74] vs. 83 [95% CI, 77 to 90] and 84 [95% CI, 78 to 90] per 1000 live births, respectively; P = 0.002). Similarly, in 2008–2011, as compared with 2000–2003, there were decreases in deaths attributed to immaturity (P = 0.05) and deaths complicated by infection (P = 0.04) or central nervous system injury (P<0.001); however, there were increases in deaths attributed to necrotizing enterocolitis (30 [95% CI, 27 to 34] vs. 23 [95% CI, 20 to 27], P = 0.03). Overall, 40.4% of deaths occurred within 12 hours after birth, and 17.3% occurred after 28 days.
We found that from 2000 through 2011, overall mortality declined among extremely premature infants. Deaths related to pulmonary causes, immaturity, infection, and central nervous system injury decreased, while necrotizing enterocolitis–related deaths increased. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health.)
PMCID: PMC4349362  PMID: 25607427
4.  Developmental Outcomes of Very Preterm Infants with Tracheostomies 
The Journal of pediatrics  2014;164(6):1303-1310.e2.
To evaluate the neurodevelopmental outcomes of very preterm (<30 weeks) infants who underwent tracheostomy.
Study design
Retrospective cohort study from 16 centers of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network over 10 years (2001-2011). Infants who survived to at least 36 weeks (N=8,683), including 304 infants with tracheostomies, were studied. Primary outcome was death or neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI, a composite of one or more of: developmental delay, neurologic impairment, profound hearing loss, severe visual impairment) at a corrected age of 18-22 months. Outcomes were compared using multiple logistic regression. We assessed impact of timing, by comparing outcomes of infants who underwent tracheostomy before and after 120 days of life.
Tracheostomies were associated with all neonatal morbidities examined, and with most adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. Death or NDI occurred in 83% of infants with tracheostomies and 40% of those without [odds ratio (OR) adjusted for center 7.0 (95%CI, 5.2-9.5)]. After adjustment for potential confounders, odds of death or NDI remained higher [OR 3.3 (95%CI, 2.4-4.6)], but odds of death alone were lower [OR 0.4 (95%CI, 0.3-0.7)], among infants with tracheostomies. Death or NDI was lower in infants who received their tracheostomies before, rather than after, 120 days of life [adjusted OR 0.5 (95%CI, 0.3-0.9)].
Tracheostomy in preterm infants is associated with adverse developmental outcomes, and cannot mitigate the significant risk associated with many complications of prematurity. These data may inform counseling about tracheostomy in this vulnerable population.
PMCID: PMC4035374  PMID: 24472229
newborn; very low birth weight infant; neurodevelopmental impairment; tracheotomy; bronchopulmonary dysplasia; prematurity
5.  Effect of Depth and Duration of Cooling on Deaths in the NICU Among Neonates With Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy 
JAMA  2014;312(24):2629-2639.
Hypothermia at 33.5°C for 72 hours for neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy reduces death or disability to 44% to 55%; longer cooling and deeper cooling are neuroprotective in animal models.
To determine if longer duration cooling (120 hours), deeper cooling (32.0°C), or both are superior to cooling at 33.5°C for 72 hours in neonates who are full-term with moderate or severe hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
Arandomized, 2 × 2 factorial design clinical trial performed in 18 US centers in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Neonatal Research Network between October 2010 and November 2013.
Neonates were assigned to 4 hypothermia groups; 33.5°C for 72 hours, 32.0°C for 72 hours, 33.5°C for 120 hours, and 32.0°C for 120 hours.
The primary outcome of death or disability at 18 to 22 months is ongoing. The independent data and safety monitoring committee paused the trial to evaluate safety (cardiac arrhythmia, persistent acidosis, major vessel thrombosis and bleeding, and death in the neonatal intensive care unit [NICU]) after the first 50 neonates were enrolled, then after every subsequent 25 neonates. The trial was closed for emerging safety profile and futility analysis after the eighth review with 364 neonates enrolled (of 726 planned). This report focuses on safety and NICU deaths by marginal comparisons of 72 hours’ vs 120 hours’ duration and 33.5°C depth vs 32.0°C depth (predefined secondary outcomes).
The NICU death rates were 7 of 95 neonates (7%) for the 33.5°C for 72 hours group, 13 of 90 neonates (14%) for the 32.0°C for 72 hours group, 15 of 96 neonates (16%) for the 33.5°C for 120 hours group, and 14 of 83 neonates (17%) for the 32.0°C for 120 hours group. The adjusted risk ratio (RR) for NICU deaths for the 120 hours group vs 72 hours group was 1.37 (95% CI, 0.92–2.04) and for the 32.0°C group vs 33.5°C group was 1.24 (95% CI, 0.69–2.25). Safety outcomes were similar between the 120 hours group vs 72 hours group and the 32.0°C group vs 33.5°C group, except major bleeding occurred among 1% in the 120 hours group vs 3% in the 72 hours group (RR, 0.25 [95% CI, 0.07–0.91]). Futility analysis determined that the probability of detecting a statistically significant benefit for longer cooling, deeper cooling, or both for NICU death was less than 2%.
Among neonates who were full-term with moderate or severe hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, longer cooling, deeper cooling, or both compared with hypothermia at 33.5°C for 72 hours did not reduce NICU death. These results have implications for patient care and design of future trials.
PMCID: PMC4335311  PMID: 25536254
6.  Functional status at 18 months of age as a predictor of childhood disability after neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy 
In children with neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), we examined the association between 18-month functional status by parental report and disability at 6-7 years.
Prospective observational study involving participants in the NICHD randomized controlled trial of hypothermia for HIE. Parent questionnaires-Functional Status-II (FS-II), Impact on Family (IOF) and Family Resource Scale (FRS) at 18 months were correlated with 6- to 7-year developmental assessments. Disability at 6-7 years was defined as IQ < 70, gross motor functional classification scale level III-V, bilateral blindness, deafness, or epilepsy.
Rates of severe HIE (32 vs. 15%), public insurance (73% vs. 47%) and IOF scales were higher and mean (SD) FS-II independence (I) {54 (SD 35) vs. 98 (SD 8)} and general health (GH) {87 (SD 14) vs. 98 (SD 6)} scores were significantly lower in children with disability (n=37) at 6-7 years, compared to those (n=74) without disability. FS-II I scores were significantly associated with disability (OR 0.92; 95% CI 0.87-0.97; p=0.003). On path analysis, severe HIE, greater IOF and public insurance were associated with poorer 18-month FS-II I scores, which, in turn, were associated with disability at 6 to 7 years.
Poor independent functioning by parental report at 18 months in children with HIE was associated with childhood disability.
PMCID: PMC4324462  PMID: 24957482
7.  Inhaled Nitric Oxide Usage in Preterm Infants in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network: Inter-site Variation and Propensity Evaluation 
The use of inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) in preterm infants remains controversial. In October 2010, an NIH consensus development conference cautioned against use of iNO in preterm infants.
1) To determine prevalence and variability in use of iNO in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network (NRN) before and after the consensus conference and 2) separately, to examine associations between iNO use and severe BPD or death.
The NICHD NRN Generic Database collects data including iNO use on very preterm infants. A total of 13 centers contributed data across the time period 2008–2011. Infants exposed or not to iNO were compared using logistic regression, which included factors related to risk as well as their likelihood of being exposed to iNO.
A total of 4,885 infants were assessed between 2008–2011; 128 (2.6%) received iNO before Day 7, 140 (2.9%) between Day 7 and 28 and 47 (1.0%) at >28 days. Center-specific iNO use during 2008–2010 ranged from 21.9% to 0.4%; 12 of 13 sites reduced usage and overall NRN iNO usage decreased from 4.6% to 1.6% (p<0.001) in 2011. Use of iNO started between Day 7 and Day 14 was more prevalent among younger infants with more severe courses in Week 1 and associated with increased risk of severe BPD or death (OR 2.24;95% CI 1.23–4.07).
The variability and total use of iNO decreased in 2011 compared to 2008–2010. iNO administration started at ≥Day 7 was associated with more severe outcomes compared to infants without iNO exposure.
PMCID: PMC4323079  PMID: 24901452
Inhaled nitric oxide; bronchopulmonary dysplasia; extremely premature infant
8.  Mortality and Morbidity of VLBW Infants With Trisomy 13 or Trisomy 18 
Pediatrics  2014;133(2):226-235.
Little is known about how very low birth weight (VLBW) affects survival and morbidities among infants with trisomy 13 (T13) or trisomy 18 (T18). We examined the care plans for VLBW infants with T13 or T18 and compared their risks of mortality and neonatal morbidities with VLBW infants with trisomy 21 and VLBW infants without birth defects.
Infants with birth weight 401 to 1500 g born or cared for at a participating center of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network during the period 1994–2009 were studied. Poisson regression models were used to examine risk of death and neonatal morbidities among infants with T13 or T18.
Of 52 262 VLBW infants, 38 (0.07%) had T13 and 128 (0.24%) had T18. Intensity of care in the delivery room varied depending on whether the trisomy was diagnosed before or after birth. The plan for subsequent care for the majority of the infants was to withdraw care or to provide comfort care. Eleven percent of infants with T13 and 9% of infants with T18 survived to hospital discharge. Survivors with T13 or T18 had significantly increased risk of patent ductus arteriosus and respiratory distress syndrome compared with infants without birth defects. No infant with T13 or T18 developed necrotizing enterocolitis.
In this cohort of liveborn VLBW infants with T13 or T18, the timing of trisomy diagnosis affected the plan for care, survival was poor, and death usually occurred early.
PMCID: PMC3904274  PMID: 24446439
trisomy 13; trisomy 18; trisomy 21; very low birth weight; preterm infants
9.  Chorioamnionitis and Early Childhood Outcomes among Extremely Low-Gestational-Age Neonates 
JAMA pediatrics  2014;168(2):137-147.
Chorioamnionitis is strongly linked to preterm birth and to neonatal infection. The association between histological and clinical chorioamnionitis and cognitive, behavioral and neurodevelopmental outcomes among extremely preterm neonates is less clear. We evaluated the impact of chorioamnionitis on 18-22 month neurodevelopmental outcomes in a contemporary cohort of extremely preterm neonates.
To compare the neonatal and neurodevelopmental outcomes of three groups of extremely-low-gestational-age infants with increasing exposure to perinatal inflammation: no chorioamnionitis, histological chorioamnionitis alone, or histological plus clinical chorioamnionitis.
Longitudinal observational study.
Sixteen centers of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network.
2390 extremely preterm infants born <27 weeks' gestational age between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008 with placental histopathology and 18-22 months' corrected age follow-up data were eligible.
Main exposure
Main Outcome Measures
Outcomes included cerebral palsy, gross motor functional limitation, behavioral scores (according to the Brief Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment), cognitive and language scores (according to the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, 3rd-Edition) and composite measures of death/neurodevelopmental impairment. Multivariable logistic and linear regression models were developed to assess the association between chorioamnionitis and outcomes while controlling for important variables known at birth.
Neonates exposed to chorioamnionitis had a lower gestational age (GA) and had higher rates of early-onset sepsis and severe periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage as compared with unexposed neonates. In multivariable models evaluating death and neurodevelopmental outcomes, inclusion of gestational age in the model diminished the association between chorioamnionitis and adverse outcomes. Still, histological+clinical chorioamnionitis was associated with increased risk of cognitive impairment as compared with no chorioamnionitis (Adjusted OR 2.4, [1.3- 4.3] without GA; Adjusted OR 2.0, [1.1-3.6] with GA as a covariate). Histological chorioamnionitis alone was associated with lower odds of death/neurodevelopmental impairment as compared with histological+clinical chorioamnionitis (Adjusted OR 0.68, [0.52-0.89] without GA; 0.66, [0.49-0.89] with GA). Risk of behavioral problems did not differ statistically between groups.
Conclusions and Relevance
Antenatal exposure to chorioamnionitis is associated with altered odds of cognitive impairment and death/neurodevelopmental impairment in extremely preterm infants.
PMCID: PMC4219500  PMID: 24378638
chorioamnionitis; preterm; neurodevelopmental impairment; outcome
10.  Cytokines Associated with Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants 
Pediatric research  2014;76(1):100-108.
The goal was to identify cytokines associated with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Based on our earlier reports of decreased tissue expression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, we hypothesized that infants with NEC also have low blood TGF-β levels. We further hypothesized that because fetal inflammation increases the risk of NEC, infants who develop NEC have elevated blood cytokine levels in early neonatal period.
Data on 104 extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants with NEC and 893 without NEC from 17 centers were analyzed. Clinical information was correlated with blood cytokine levels on postnatal day 1 (D1), D3, D7, D14, and D21.
Male gender, non-Caucasian/non-African-American ethnicity, sepsis, lower blood TGF-β and interleukin (IL)-2, and higher IL-8 levels were associated with NEC. The NEC group had lower TGF-β levels than controls since D1. The diagnosis of NEC was associated with elevated IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1/CC-motif ligand (CCL)-2, macrophage inflammatory protein-1β/CCL3, and C-reactive protein.
Clinical characteristics, such as gender and ethnicity, and low blood TGF-β levels are associated with higher risk of NEC. Infants who developed NEC did not start with high blood levels of inflammatory cytokines, but these rose mainly after the onset of NEC.
PMCID: PMC4062583  PMID: 24732104
11.  Outcomes of Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants with Acidosis at Birth 
To test the hypothesis that acidosis at birth is associated with the combined primary outcome of death or neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants, and to develop a predictive model of death/NDI exploring perinatal acidosis as a predictor variable.
The study population consisted of ELBW infants born between 2002-2007 at NICHD Neonatal Research Network hospitals. Infants with cord blood gas data and documentation of either mortality prior to discharge or 18-22 month neurodevelopmental outcomes were included. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to determine the contribution of perinatal acidosis, defined as a cord blood gas with a pH<7 or base excess (BE)<-12, to death/NDI in ELBW infants. In addition, a multivariable model predicting death/NDI was developed.
3979 patients were identified of whom 249 had a cord gas pH<7 or BE<-12 mEq/L. 2124 patients (53%) had the primary outcome of death/NDI. After adjustment for confounding variables, pH<7 and BE<-12 mEq/L were each significantly associated with death/NDI (OR=2.5[1.6,4.2]; and OR=1.5[1.1,2.0], respectively). However, inclusion of pH or BE did not improve the ability of the multivariable model to predict death/NDI.
Perinatal acidosis is significantly associated with death/NDI in ELBW infants. Perinatal acidosis is infrequent in ELBW infants, however, and other factors are more important in predicting death/NDI.
PMCID: PMC4274605  PMID: 24554564
Cord blood gas; Premature infant; Preterm infant; Neurodevelopmental impairment
12.  Inhaled PGE1 in neonates with hypoxemic respiratory failure: two pilot feasibility randomized clinical trials 
Trials  2014;15:486.
Inhaled nitric oxide (INO), a selective pulmonary vasodilator, has revolutionized the treatment of neonatal hypoxemic respiratory failure (NHRF). However, there is lack of sustained improvement in 30 to 46% of infants. Aerosolized prostaglandins I2 (PGI2) and E1 (PGE1) have been reported to be effective selective pulmonary vasodilators. The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of inhaled PGE1 (IPGE1) in NHRF.
Two pilot multicenter phase II RCTs are included in this report. In the first pilot, late preterm and term neonates with NHRF, who had an oxygenation index (OI) of ≥15 and <25 on two arterial blood gases and had not previously received INO, were randomly assigned to receive two doses of IPGE1 (300 and 150 ng/kg/min) or placebo. The primary outcome was the enrollment of 50 infants in six to nine months at 10 sites. The first pilot was halted after four months for failure to enroll a single infant. The most common cause for non-enrollment was prior initiation of INO. In a re-designed second pilot, co-administration of IPGE1 and INO was permitted. Infants with suboptimal response to INO received either aerosolized saline or IPGE1 at a low (150 ng/kg/min) or high dose (300 ng/kg/min) for a maximum duration of 72 hours. The primary outcome was the recruitment of an adequate number of patients (n = 50) in a nine-month-period, with fewer than 20% protocol violations.
No infants were enrolled in the first pilot. Seven patients were enrolled in the second pilot; three in the control, two in the low-dose IPGE1, and two in the high-dose IPGE1 groups. The study was halted for recruitment futility after approximately six months as enrollment targets were not met. No serious adverse events, one minor protocol deviation and one pharmacy protocol violation were reported.
These two pilot RCTs failed to recruit adequate eligible newborns with NHRF. Complex management RCTs of novel therapies for persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) may require novel study designs and a longer period of time from study approval to commencement of enrollment.
Trial registration:
Pilot one: NCT number: 00598429 registered on 10 January 2008. Last updated: 3 February 2011.
Pilot two: NCT number: 01467076 17 October 2011. Last updated: 13 February 2013.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-486) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4414424  PMID: 25496504
Hypoxemic respiratory failure; Neonatal; Pulmonary hypertension; Aerosols; Nebulizers; Prostaglandins; Clinical trial
13.  Early working memory as a racially and ethnically neutral measure of outcome in extremely preterm children at 18-22 months 
Early human development  2013;89(12):10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2013.08.009.
Difficulties with executive function has been found in preterm children, resulting in difficulties with learning and school performance.
This study evaluated the relationship of early working memory as measured by object permanence items to the cognitive and language scores on the Bayley Scales-III in a cohort of children born extremely preterm.
Study Design
Logistic regression models were conducted to compare object permanence scores derived from the Bayley Scales-III by race/ethnicity and maternal education, controlling for medical covariates.
Extremely preterm toddlers (526), who were part of a Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network's multi-center study, were evaluated at 18-22 months corrected age.
Outcome Measures
Object permanence scores derived from the Bayley Developmental Scales were compared by race/ethnicity and maternal education, controlling for medical covariates.
There were no significant differences in object permanence mastery and scores among the treatment groups after controlling for medical and social variables, including maternal education and race/ethnicity. Males and children with intraventricular hemorrhage, retinopathy of prematurity, and bronchopulmonary dysplasia were less likely to demonstrate object permanence mastery and had lower object permanence scores. Children who attained object permanence mastery had significantly higher Bayley Scales-III cognitive and language scores after controlling for medical and socio-economic factors.
Our measure of object permanence is free of influence from race, ethnic and socio-economic factors. Adding this simple task to current clinical practice could help detect early executive function difficulties in young children.
PMCID: PMC3830714  PMID: 23993309
Working memory; prematurity; development
14.  Serum Tocopherol Levels in Very Preterm Infants After a Single Dose of Vitamin E at Birth 
Pediatrics  2013;132(6):e1626-e1633.
Our aim was to examine the impact of a single enteral dose of vitamin E on serum tocopherol levels. The study was undertaken to see whether a single dose of vitamin E soon after birth can rapidly increase the low α-tocopherol levels seen in very preterm infants. If so, this intervention could be tested as a means of reducing the risk of intracranial hemorrhage.
Ninety-three infants <27 weeks’ gestation and <1000 g were randomly assigned to receive a single dose of vitamin E or placebo by gastric tube within 4 hours of birth. The vitamin E group received 50 IU/kg of vitamin E as dl-α-tocopheryl acetate (Aquasol E). The placebo group received sterile water. Blood samples were taken for measurement of serum tocopherol levels by high-performance liquid chromatography before dosing and 24 hours and 7 days after dosing.
Eighty-eight infants received the study drug and were included in the analyses. The α-tocopherol levels were similar between the groups at baseline but higher in the vitamin E group at 24 hours (median 0.63 mg/dL vs 0.42 mg/dL, P = .003) and 7 days (2.21 mg/dL vs 1.86 mg/dL, P = .04). There were no differences between groups in γ-tocopherol levels. At 24 hours, 30% of vitamin E infants and 62% of placebo infants had α-tocopherol levels <0.5 mg/dL.
A 50-IU/kg dose of vitamin E raised serum α-tocopherol levels, but to consistently achieve α-tocopherol levels >0.5 mg/dL, a higher dose or several doses of vitamin E may be needed.
PMCID: PMC3838534  PMID: 24218460
vitamin E; preterm infants
15.  Immunogenicity of Haemophilus influenzae Type b Protein Conjugate Vaccines in Very Low Birth Weight Infants 
PMCID: PMC3960569  PMID: 24569312
Infant; premature; infant; very low birth weight; Haemophilus influenzae vacines; immunization; vaccines
16.  Incidence, management and outcomes of cardiovascular insufficiency in critically ill term and late preterm newborn infants 
American journal of perinatology  2014;31(11):947-956.
To characterize the incidence, management and short term outcomes of cardiovascular insufficiency (CVI) in mechanically ventilated newborns, evaluating 4 separate pre-specified definitions.
Study Design
Multicenter, prospective cohort study of infants ≥34 weeks gestational age (GA) and on mechanical ventilation during the first 72 hours. CVI was prospectively defined as either (1) mean arterial pressure (MAP)
Of 647 who met inclusion criteria, 419 (65%) met ≥1 definition of CVI. Of these, 98% received fluid boluses, 36% inotropes and 17% corticosteroids. Of treated infants, 46% did not have CVI as defined by a MAP < GA ± signs of inadequate perfusion. Inotrope therapy was associated with increased mortality (11.1% vs. 1.3%; P < 0.05).
More than half of the infants met at least one definition of CVI. However, almost half of the treated infants met none of the definitions. Inotropic therapy was associated with increased mortality. These findings can help guide the design of future studies of CVI in newborns.
PMCID: PMC4127379  PMID: 24515617
blood pressure; cardiovascular insufficiency; mechanical ventilation; inotrope; fluid bolus; glucocorticoid; outcomes; newborn
Pediatrics  2013;132(4):e905-e914.
To evaluate the association between severity of cerebral palsy (CP) and growth to 6 to 7 years of age among children with moderate to severe (Mod/Sev) hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). It was hypothesized that children with Mod/Sev CP would have poorer growth, lower cognitive scores, and increased rehospitalization rates compared with children with no CP (No CP).
Among 115 of 122 surviving children followed in the hypothermia trial for neonatal HIE, growth parameters and neurodevelopmental status at 18 to 22 months and 6 to 7 years were available. Group comparisons (Mod/Sev CP and No CP) with unadjusted and adjusted analyses for growth <10th percentile and z scores by using Fisher’s exact tests and regression modeling were conducted.
Children with Mod/Sev CP had high rates of slow growth and cognitive and motor impairment and rehospitalizations at 18 to 22 months and 6 to 7 years. At 6 to 7 years of age, children with Mod/Sev CP had increased rates of growth parameters <10th percentile compared with those with No CP (weight, 57% vs 3%; height, 70% vs 2%; and head circumference, 82% vs 13%; P < .0001). Increasing severity of slow growth was associated with increasing age (P < .04 for weight, P < .001 for length, and P < .0001 for head circumference). Gastrostomy feeds were associated with better growth.
Term children with HIE who develop Mod/Sev CP have high and increasing rates of growth <10th percentile by 6 to 7 years of age. These findings support the need for close medical and nutrition management of children with HIE who develop CP.
PMCID: PMC3784290  PMID: 24019415
encephalopathy; hypoxia-ischemia; hypothermia; cerebral palsy; growth
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;163(4):961-967.e3.
Candida remains an important cause of late-onset infection in preterm infants. Mortality and neurodevelopmental outcome of extremely low birthweight (ELBW) infants enrolled in the Candida study was evaluated based on infection status.
Study design
ELBW infants born at NICHD Neonatal Research Network (NRN) centers between March 2004 and July 2007 screened for suspected sepsis were eligible for inclusion in the Candida study. Primary outcome data for neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) or death were available for 1317/1515 (90%) of the infants enrolled in the Candida study. The Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID)-II or the BSID-III was administered at 18 months adjusted age. A secondary comparison with 864 infants registered with NRN enrolled during the same cohort never screened for sepsis and therefore not eligible for the Candida study was performed.
Among ELBW infants enrolled in the Candida study, 31% with Candida and 31% with late-onset non-Candida sepsis had NDI at 18 months. Infants with Candida sepsis and/or meningitis had an increased risk of death and were more likely to have the composite outcome of death and/or NDI compared with uninfected infants in adjusted analysis. Compared with infants in the NRN registry never screened for sepsis, overall risk for death were similar but those with Candida infection were more likely to have NDI (OR 1.83 (1.01,3.33, p=0.047).
In this cohort of ELBW infants, those with infection and/or meningitis were at increased risk for death and/or NDI. This risk was highest among those with Candida sepsis and/or meningitis.
PMCID: PMC3786056  PMID: 23726546
Candida; Neonatal sepsis; Neurodevelopmental and Prematurity
To determine if current retinopathy of prematurity screening guidelines1 adequately identify treatable ROP in a contemporary cohort of extremely low gestation infants.
Study Design
Data from the Surfactant, Positive Pressure, and Pulse Oximetry Randomized Trial were used. Inborn infants 24 0/7 to 27 6/7 weeks gestational age with consent prior to delivery were enrolled in 2005-2009. Severe retinopathy of prematurity (Type 1 retinopathy of prematurity or treatment with laser, cryotherapy, or bevacizumab) or death was the primary outcome for the randomized trial. Examinations followed then current American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) screening recommendations, beginning by 31-33 weeks postmenstrual age.2,3
1316 infants were enrolled in the trial. 997 of the 1121 who survived to first eye exam had final retinopathy of prematurity outcome determined. 137 (14% of 997) met criteria for severe retinopathy of prematurity and 128 (93%) of those had sufficient data (without missing or delayed exams) to determine age of onset of severe retinopathy of prematurity. Postmenstrual age at onset was 32.1 to 53.1 wks. In this referral center cohort, 1.4% (14/997) developed severe retinopathy of prematurity after discharge.
Our contemporary data support the 2013 AAP screening guidelines for ROP for infants 24 0/7 to 27 6/7 weeks gestational age.1 Some infants do not meet treatment criteria until after discharge home. Post-discharge follow-up of infants who are still at risk for severe ROP is crucial for timely detection and treatment.
PMCID: PMC3969774  PMID: 24503911
extremely premature infant
To examine changes in arterial blood pressure (ABP) after birth in extremely preterm infants.
Study Design
Prospective observational study of infants 230/7 – 266/7 weeks gestational age (GA). Antihypotensive therapy use and ABP measurements were recorded for the first 24 hours.
A cohort of 367 infants had 18,709 ABP measurements recorded. ABP decreased for the first three hours, reached a nadir at 4 – 5 hours, then increased at an average rate of 0.2 mmHg / hour. The rise in ABP from hour 4 – 24 was similar for untreated infants (n=164) and infants given any antihypotensive therapy (n=203), a fluid bolus (n=135), or dopamine (n=92). GA specific trends were similar. ABP tended to be lower as GA decreased, but varied widely at each GA.
Arterial blood pressure increased spontaneously over the first 24 postnatal hours for extremely preterm infants. The rate of rise in ABP did not change with antihypotensive therapy.
PMCID: PMC3982788  PMID: 24503912
Antihypotensive therapy; fluid bolus; dopamine
To determine the association between 10 min Apgar scores and 6–7-year outcomes in children with perinatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) enrolled in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network (NICHD NRN) whole body cooling randomised controlled trial (RCT).
Evaluations at 6–7 years included the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence III or Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children IV and Gross Motor Functional Classification Scale. Primary outcome was death/moderate or severe disability. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between 10 min Apgar scores and outcomes after adjusting for birth weight, gestational age, gender, outborn status, hypothermia treatment and centre.
In the study cohort (n=174), 64/85 (75%) of those with 10 min Apgar score of 0–3 had death/disability compared with 40/89 (45%) of those with scores >3. Each point increase in 10 min Apgar scores was associated with a significantly lower adjusted risk of death/disability, death, death/IQ <70, death/cerebral palsy (CP) and disability, IQ<70 and CP among survivors (all p<0.05). Among the 24 children with a 10 min Apgar score of 0, five (20.8%) survived without disability. The risk-adjusted probabilities of death/disability were significantly lower in cooled infants with Apgar scores of 0–3; there was no significant interaction between cooling and Apgar scores (p=0.26).
Among children with perinatal HIE enrolled in the NICHD cooling RCT, 10 min Apgar scores were significantly associated with school-age outcomes. A fifth of infants with 10 min Apgar score of 0 survived without disability to school age, suggesting the need for caution in limiting resuscitation to a specified duration.
PMCID: PMC4166405  PMID: 23896791
Expert review of ophthalmology  2010;5(5):583-585.
PMCID: PMC4155506  PMID: 25197316
blindness; developmental disabilities; hyperoxia; oxygen inhalation therapy; retinopathy of prematurity
Pediatric research  2013;75(3):424-430.
Adults with the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) alleles e4 and e2 are at high risk of poor neurologic outcome after brain injury. The e4 allele has been associated with cerebral palsy and the e2 allele has been associated with worse neurologic outcome with congenital heart disease. This study was done to test the hypothesis that APOE genotype is associated with outcome among neonates who survive after hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).
We conducted a cohort study of infants who survived HIE and had 18 – 22 month standardized neurodevelopmental evaluations to assess associations between disability and APOE genotypes e3/e3, e4/-, and e2/-
139 survivors were genotyped. 86 (62%) were e3/e3, 41 (29%) were e4/-, and 14 (10%) were e2/-. 129 infants had genotype and follow-up data; 26% had moderate or severe disabilities. Disability prevalence was 30% and 19% among those with and without e3/e3 genotype, 25% and 26% among those with and without the e2 allele, and 18% and 29% among those with and without the e4 allele. None of the differences were statistically significant. Cerebral palsy prevalence was also similar among genotype groups.
Disability was not associated with APOE genotype in this cohort of HIE survivors.
PMCID: PMC4095992  PMID: 24322171
To test the hypothesis that the proportion of endotracheal intubation (ETI) in the delivery room (DR) decreased in Neonatal Research Network (NRN) centres after the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development NRN Surfactant, Positive Pressure, and Oxygenation Randomised Trial (SUPPORT).
Retrospective cohort study using the prospective NRN generic database.
Eleven centres that participated in the SUPPORT trial and remained part of the NRN. Preterm neonates 240/7–276/7 weeks’ gestational age enrolled in the SUPPORT trial were randomised to: (1) DR continuous positive airway pressure or DR ETI with early surfactant administration; and (2) oxygen saturation targets of 85–89% or 91–95%. The prior NRN feasibility trial had assessed the feasibility of randomisation to continuous positive airway pressure versus ETI.
Infants 240/7–276/7 weeks’ gestational age, excluding infants with syndromes or major malformations and those on comfort care only.
Main outcome measure
Proportion of DR ETI.
The proportion of DR ETI decreased significantly in the group of infants from centres that had not participated in the feasibility trial (91% before vs 75% after SUPPORT, adjusted relative risk 0.86, 95% CI 0.83–0.89, p<0.0001) but not in the group of infants from the other centres, where the proportion of ETI was already lower prior to initiation of the SUPPORT trial (61% before vs 58% after SUPPORT, adjusted relative risk 0.96, 95% CI 0.89 to 1.05, p=0.40).
This study shows that DR ETI changed after SUPPORT only in NRN centres that had not participated in a similar trial.
PMCID: PMC4134421  PMID: 24876196
Severe intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) is an important prognostic variable in extremely preterm (EPT) infants. We examined imaging and clinical variables that predict outcomes in EPT infants with severe ICH.
Study design
Retrospective analysis of 353 EPT infants with severe ICH. Outcomes were compared by examining: i) unilateral vs. bilateral ICH; and ii) presence vs. absence of hemorrhagic parenchymal infarction (HPI). Regression analyses identified variables associated with death or neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI).
Bilateral ICH and HPI had higher rates of adverse outcomes and were independently associated with death/NDI. HPI was the most important variable for infants of lower birth weight, and bilateral ICH for larger infants. For infants surviving to 36 weeks, shunt placement was most associated with death/NDI.
Bilateral ICH and the presence of HPI in EPT infants with severe ICH are associated with death/NDI, though the importance depends on birth weight and survival to 36 weeks.
PMCID: PMC4143234  PMID: 24370654
intraventricular hemorrhage; neurodevelopmental impairment; extremely low birth weight; cranial ultrasound

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