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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.  Hypothermia therapy for neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy in the state of California 
The Journal of pediatrics  2014;165(2):267-273.
To characterize the implementation of hypothermia for neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy in a population-based cohort.
Study design
Using the California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative and California Perinatal Transport System linked 2010–2012 datasets; infants >/= to 36 weeks gestation with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy were categorized as receiving hypothermia or normothermia. Socio-demographic and clinical factors were compared and multivariable logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with hypothermia therapy.
There were 238 reported encephalopathy cases in 2010, 280 in 2011 and 311 in 2012. Hypothermia therapy use in newborns with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy increased from 59% to 73% across the study period, mainly occurring in newborns with mild or moderate encephalopathy. A total of 36 centers provided hypothermia and cared for 94% of infants, the remaining 6% being cared for at one of 25 other centers. Of the centers providing hypothermia, 12 centers performed hypothermia therapy to over 20 patients during the three-year study period, and 24 centers cared for < 20 patients receiving hypothermia. In-hospital mortality was 13%, primarily associated with the severity of encephalopathy.
Our findings highlight an opportunity to explore practice site variation and to develop quality improvement interventions to assure consistent evidence-based care of term infants with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and appropriate application of hypothermia therapy for eligible newborns.
PMCID: PMC4111956  PMID: 24929331
sociodemographic characteristics; practice variation; mortality rate
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.  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
7.  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
8.  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
9.  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
Pediatric research  2013;75(4):570-575.
Preterm infants with a PDA are at risk for death or development of BPD. However, PDA treatment remains controversial. We investigated if PDA treatment and other clinical or echocardiographic (ECHO) factors were associated with the development of death or BPD.
We retrospectively studied clinical and ECHO characteristics of preterm infants with birth weight <1500 g and ECHO diagnosis of a PDA. Logistic regression and classification and regression tree (CART) analyses were performed to assess variables associated with the combined outcome of death or BPD.
Of 187 preterm infants with a PDA, 75% were treated with indomethacin or surgery and 25% were managed conservatively. Death or BPD occurred in 80 (43%). Logistic regression found lower gestational age (OR 0.5), earlier year of birth during the study period (OR 0.9), and larger ductal diameter (OR 4.3) were associated with the decision to treat the PDA, while gestational age was the only variable associated with death or BPD (OR 0.6, 95% CI 0.5-0.8).
Only lower gestational age and not PDA treatment or ECHO score was associated with the adverse outcome of death or BPD. Further investigation of PDA management strategies and effects on adverse outcomes of prematurity is needed.
PMCID: PMC3961500  PMID: 24378897
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
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
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
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;162(5):942-948.e3.
To examine whether preterm very low birth weight (VLBW) infants have an increased risk of late-onset sepsis (LOS) following early-onset sepsis (EOS).
Study design
Retrospective analysis of VLBW infants (401-1500 g) born September 1998 through December 2009 who survived >72 hours and were cared for within the NICHD Neonatal Research Network. Sepsis was defined by growth of bacteria or fungi in a blood culture obtained ≤72 hr of birth (EOS) or >72 hr (LOS) and antimicrobial therapy for ≥5 days or death <5 d while receiving therapy. Regression models were used to assess risk of death or LOS by 120d and LOS by 120d among survivors to discharge or 120d, adjusting for gestational age and other covariates.
Of 34,396 infants studied 504 (1.5%) had EOS. After adjustment, risk of death or LOS by 120d did not differ overall for infants with EOS compared with those without EOS [RR:0.99 (0.89-1.09)] but was reduced in infants born at <25wk gestation [RR:0.87 (0.76-0.99), p=0.048]. Among survivors, no difference in LOS risk was found overall for infants with versus without EOS [RR:0.88 (0.75-1.02)], but LOS risk was shorter in infants with BW 401-750 g who had EOS [RR:0.80 (0.64-0.99), p=0.047].
Risk of LOS after EOS was not increased in VLBW infants. Surprisingly, risk of LOS following EOS appeared to be reduced in the smallest, most premature infants, underscoring the need for age-specific analyses of immune function.
PMCID: PMC3622770  PMID: 23295144
Very low birth weight; early-onset sepsis; late-onset sepsis
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
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
The Journal of Pediatrics  2012;161(1):65-69.e1.
To assess the feasibility of a randomized placebo controlled trial (RCT) of blood pressure (BP) management for extremely preterm infants.
Study design
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.
PMCID: PMC3357442  PMID: 22336574
Extremely preterm infant; hypotension; hydrocortisone; dopamine; informed consent
Pediatrics  2012;130(1):e115-e125.
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.
PMCID: PMC3382921  PMID: 22689874
logistic models; premature infant; predictive value of tests; prognosis
The Journal of Pediatrics  2012;160(6):936-942.
Very low birth weight (VLBW) preterm infants are at risk for impaired cerebral autoregulation with pressure passive blood flow. Fluctuations in cerebral perfusion may occur in infants with a hemodynamically significant patent ductus arteriosus (hsPDA), especially during ductal closure. Our goal was to compare cerebral autoregulation using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in VLBW infants treated for a hsPDA.
Study design
This prospective observational study enrolled 28 VLBW infants with a hsPDA diagnosed by echocardiogram and 12 control VLBW infants without a hsPDA. NIRS cerebral monitoring was applied during conservative treatment, indomethacin, or surgical ligation. A cerebral pressure passivity index (PPI) was calculated and PPI differences were compared using a mixed effects regression model. Cranial ultrasound and MRI data were also assessed.
Infants with surgically ligated PDAs were more likely to have had a greater PPI within two hours following ligation compared with those treated with conservative management (p=0.04) or indomethacin (p=0.0007). These differences resolved six hours following treatment.
Cerebral autoregulation was better preserved after indomethacin treatment of a hsPDA compared with surgical ligation. Infants requiring surgical hsPDA ligation may be at increased risk for cerebral pressure passivity in the six hours following surgery.
PMCID: PMC3335982  PMID: 22226574
near-infrared spectroscopy; neonate; pressure passivity; cerebral oxygenation
Aggressive phototherapy (AgPT) is widely used and assumed to be safe and effective for even the most immature infants. We assessed whether the benefits and hazards for the smallest and sickest infants differed from those for other extremely low birth weight (ELBW; (≤1000 g) infants in our Neonatal Research Network trial, the only large trial of AgPT.
Study Design
ELBW infants (n=1974) were randomized to AgPT or conservative phototherapy at age 12–36 hours. The effect of AgPT on outcomes (death; impairment; profound impairment; death or impairment [primary outcome], and death or profound impairment) at 18–22 months corrected age was related to BW stratum (501–750 g; 751–1000 g) and baseline severity of illness using multilevel regression equations. The probability of benefit and of harm was directly assessed with Bayesian analyses.
Baseline illness severity was well characterized using mechanical ventilation and FiO2 at 24 hours age. Among mechanically ventilated infants ≤750 g BW (n =684), a reduction in impairment and in profound impairment was offset by higher mortality (p for interaction <0.05) with no significant effect on composite outcomes. Conservative Bayesian analyses of this subgroup identified a 99% (posterior) probability that AgPT increased mortality, a 97% probability that AgPT reduced impairment, and a 99% probability that AgPT reduced profound impairment.
Findings from the only large trial of AgPT suggest that AgPT may increase mortality while reducing impairment and profound impairment among the smallest and sickest infants. New approaches to reduce their serum bilirubin need development and rigorous testing.
PMCID: PMC3558278  PMID: 22652561
Phototherapy; bilirubin; severity of illness; ELBW infant; impairment; randomized clinical trial; statistical interaction; Bayesian analysis
Current guidelines, initially published in 1995, recommend antenatal corticosteroids for mothers with preterm labor from 24–34 weeks gestational age, but not before 24 weeks because of lack of data. However, many infants born before 24 weeks are provided intensive care now.
To determine if antenatal corticosteroids are associated with improvement in major outcomes in infants born at 22 and 23 weeks.
Design, Setting, Participants
Data for this cohort study were collected prospectively on 401–1000 gram inborn infants (N=10,541) of 22–25 weeks gestation born between 1993–2009 at 23 academic perinatal centers in the United States. Certified examiners unaware of exposure to antenatal corticosteroids performed follow-up examinations on 4,924 (86.5%) of the infants born in 1993–2008 who survived to 18–22 months. Logistic regression models generated adjusted odds ratios, controlling for maternal and neonatal variables.
Main Outcome Measures
Mortality and neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months corrected age
Death or neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months was lower for infants whose mothers received antenatal corticosteroids born at 23 weeks (antenatal corticosteroids, 83.4% vs no antenatal corticosteroids, 90.5%; adjusted odds ratio 0.58; 95% CI, 0.42–0.80), at 24 weeks (antenatal corticosteroids, 68.4% vs no antenatal corticosteroids, 80.3%; adjusted odds ratio 0.62; 95% CI, 0.49–0.78), and at 25 weeks (antenatal corticosteroids, 52.7% vs no antenatal corticosteroids, 67.9%; adjusted odds ratio 0.61; 95% CI, 0.50–0.74) but not at 22 weeks (antenatal corticosteroids, 90.2% vs no antenatal corticosteroids, 93.1%; adjusted odds ratio 0.80; 95% CI, 0.29–12.21). Death by 18–22 months, hospital death, death/intraventricular hemorrhage/periventricular leukomalacia, and death/necrotizing enterocolitis were significantly lower for infants born at 23, 24, and 25 weeks gestational age if the mothers had received antenatal corticosteroids but the only outcome significantly lower at 22 weeks was death/necrotizing enterocolitis (antenatal corticosteroids, 73.5% vs no antenatal corticosteroids, 84.5%; adjusted odds ratio 0.54; 95% CI, 0.30–0.97).
Among infants born at 23–25 weeks gestation, use of antenatal corticosteroids compared to non-use was associated with a lower rate of death or neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months.
PMCID: PMC3565238  PMID: 22147379
prematurity; infant mortality; neonatal intensive care; neurodevelopmental impairment; lung maturation; limits of viability
To compare risk-adjusted outcomes at 18–22 months corrected age for extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants who never received phototherapy (NoPTx) to those who received any phototherapy (PTx) in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network randomized trial of Aggressive vs. Conservative Phototherapy.
Outcomes at 18–22 months corrected age included death, neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI), and Bayley Scales Mental Developmental Index (MDI). Regression models evaluated the independent association of PTx with adverse outcomes controlling for center and other potentially confounding variables.
Of 1972 infants, 216 were NoPTx and 1756 were PTx. For the entire 501–1000 g BW cohort, PTx was not independently associated with death or NDI (OR 0.85, 95% CI 0.60 –1.20), death, or adverse neurodevelopmental endpoints. However, among infants 501–750 g BW, the rate of significant developmental impairment with MDI<50 was significantly higher for NoPTx (29%) than PTx (12%) (p=0.004).
Phototherapy did not appear to be independently associated with death or NDI for the overall ELBW group. Whether PTx increases mortality could not be excluded due to bias from deaths before reaching conservative treatment threshold. The higher rate of MDI<50 in the 501–750g BW NoPTx group is concerning, and consistent with NRN Trial results.
PMCID: PMC3505994  PMID: 21272067
Pediatrics  2011;128(4):729-739.
Inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) is an effective therapy for pulmonary hypertension and hypoxic respiratory failure in term infants. Fourteen randomized controlled trials (n = 3430 infants) have been conducted on preterm infants at risk for chronic lung disease (CLD). The study results seem contradictory.
Individual-patient data meta-analysis included randomized controlled trials of preterm infants (<37 weeks' gestation). Outcomes were adjusted for trial differences and correlation between siblings.
Data from 3298 infants in 12 trials (96%) were analyzed. There was no statistically significant effect of iNO on death or CLD (59% vs 61%: relative risk [RR]: 0.96 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.92–1.01]; P = .11) or severe neurologic events on imaging (25% vs 23%: RR: 1.12 [95% CI: 0.98–1.28]; P = .09). There were no statistically significant differences in iNO effect according to any of the patient-level characteristics tested. In trials that used a starting iNO dose of >5 vs ≤5 ppm there was evidence of improved outcome (interaction P = .02); however, these differences were not observed at other levels of exposure to iNO. This result was driven primarily by 1 trial, which also differed according to overall dose, duration, timing, and indication for treatment; a significant reduction in death or CLD (RR: 0.85 [95% CI: 0.74–0.98]) was found.
Routine use of iNO for treatment of respiratory failure in preterm infants cannot be recommended. The use of a higher starting dose might be associated with improved outcome, but because there were differences in the designs of these trials, it requires further examination.
PMCID: PMC3387905  PMID: 21930540
inhaled nitric oxide; chronic lung disease; respiratory disease; preterm infants; individual-patient data meta-analysis
Pediatrics  2011;127(5):817-826.
Guidelines for prevention of group B streptococcal (GBS) infection have successfully reduced early onset (EO) GBS disease. Study results suggest that Escherichia coli is an important EO pathogen.
To determine EO infection rates, pathogens, morbidity, and mortality in a national network of neonatal centers.
Infants with EO infection were identified by prospective surveillance at Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Network centers. Infection was defined by positive culture results for blood and cerebrospinal fluid obtained from infants aged ≤72 hours plus treatment with antibiotic therapy for ≥5 days. Mother and infant characteristics, treatments, and outcomes were studied. Numbers of cases and total live births (LBs) were used to calculate incidence.
Among 396 586 LBs (2006–2009), 389 infants developed EO infection (0.98 cases per 1000 LBs). Infection rates increased with decreasing birth weight. GBS (43%, 0.41 per 1000 LBs) and E coli (29%, 0.28 per 1000 LBs) were most frequently isolated. Most infants with GBS were term (73%); 81% with E coli were preterm. Mothers of 67% of infected term and 58% of infected preterm infants were screened for GBS, and results were positive for 25% of those mothers. Only 76% of mothers with GBS colonization received intrapartum chemoprophylaxis. Although 77% of infected infants required intensive care, 20% of term infants were treated in the normal newborn nursery. Sixteen percent of infected infants died, most commonly with E coli infection (33%).
In the era of intrapartum chemoprophylaxis to reduce GBS, rates of EO infection have declined but reflect a continued burden of disease. GBS remains the most frequent pathogen in term infants, and E coli the most significant pathogen in preterm infants. Missed opportunities for GBS prevention continue. Prevention of E coli sepsis, especially among preterm infants, remains a challenge.
PMCID: PMC3081183  PMID: 21518717
neonatal sepsis; group B streptococcal disease; Escherichia coli infection
Pediatric Research  2012;71(1):77-84.
This study was a two-center, stratified, parallel-group randomized trial comparing the effects of aggressive vs. conservative phototherapy on brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) latencies in infants with extremely low birth weight (ELBW, ≤ 1,000 g).
BAER latencies of 751–1,000 g birth-weight infants were shorter by 0.37 ms (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.02, 0.73) for wave V, 0.39 ms (0.08, 0.70) for wave III, and 0.33 ms (0.01, 0.65) for wave I after aggressive phototherapy at one center. Interwave intervals did not differ significantly. Similar nonsignificant trends were recorded for 501–750 g birth-weight infants. At the other participating center, no significant differences were recorded, cautioning against overgeneralizing these results.
The effects of bilirubin on the auditory pathway in ELBW infants depend on a complex interaction of bilirubin exposure, newborn characteristics, and clinical management.
Aggressive phototherapy was initiated sooner and continued at lower bilirubin levels than conservative phototherapy. A total of 174 ELBW infants were enrolled in the study; 111 infants were successfully tested at 35 weeks postmenstrual age (PMA); 57 died; and 6 were not successfully tested.
PMCID: PMC3326602  PMID: 22289854

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