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1.  Cognitive Outcomes After Neonatal Encephalopathy 
Pediatrics  2015;135(3):e624-e634.
To describe the spectrum of cognitive outcomes of children with and without cerebral palsy (CP) after neonatal encephalopathy, evaluate the prognostic value of early developmental testing and report on school services and additional therapies.
The participants of this study are the school-aged survivors of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network randomized controlled trial of whole-body hypothermia. Children underwent neurologic examinations and neurodevelopmental and cognitive testing with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development–II at 18 to 22 months and the Wechsler intelligence scales and the Neuropsychological Assessment–Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment at 6 to 7 years. Parents were interviewed about functional status and receipt of school and support services. We explored predictors of cognitive outcome by using multiple regression models.
Subnormal IQ scores were identified in more than a quarter of the children: 96% of survivors with CP had an IQ <70, 9% of children without CP had an IQ <70, and 31% had an IQ of 70 to 84. Children with a mental developmental index <70 at 18 months had, on average, an adjusted IQ at 6 to 7 years that was 42 points lower than that of those with a mental developmental index >84 (95% confidence interval, −49.3 to −35.0; P < .001). Twenty percent of children with normal IQ and 28% of those with IQ scores of 70 to 84 received special educational support services or were held back ≥1 grade level.
Cognitive impairment remains an important concern for all children with neonatal encephalopathy.
PMCID: PMC4338321  PMID: 25713280
neonatal encephalopathy; cognitive outcomes; hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy
2.  Low-Dose Intravenous Soybean Oil Emulsion for Prevention of Cholestasis in Preterm Neonates 
Premature infants depend on intravenous fat emulsions to supply essential fatty acids and calories. The dose of soybean-based intravenous fat emulsions (S-IFE) has been associated with parenteral nutrition associated liver disease. This study’s purpose was to determine if low dose S-IFE is a safe and effective preventive strategy for cholestasis in preterm neonates.
Materials and Methods
This is a multicenter randomized controlled trial in infants with a gestation age (GA) ≤ 29 weeks. Subjects < 48 hours of life were randomized to receive a low (1g/kg/day) or control dose (approximately 3g/kg/day) of S-IFE. The primary outcome was cholestasis, defined as a direct bilirubin ≥ 15% of the total bilirubin at 28 days of life (DOL) or full enteral feeds, whichever was later, after 14 days of parenteral nutrition. Secondary outcomes included growth, length of hospital stay, death, and major neonatal morbidities.
136 neonates (67 and 69 in the low and control group, respectively) were enrolled. Baseline characteristic were similar for the two groups. When the low group was compared to the control group, there was no difference in the primary outcome (69% vs. 63%, 95% CI (−0.1, 0.22), p=0.45). While the low group received less S-IFE and total calories over time compared to the control group (p<0.001 and p=0.03, respectively) weight, length and head circumference at 28 DOL, discharge, and over time were not different (p>0.2 for all).
Compared to the control dose, low dose S-IFE was not associated with a reduction in cholestasis or growth.
PMCID: PMC4537394  PMID: 24963025
parenteral nutrition associated liver disease; growth; prematurity
3.  Antecedents of chronic lung disease following three patterns of early respiratory disease in preterm infants 
The incidence of chronic lung disease (CLD) varies among groups defined by their early pattern of respiratory disease. Although CLD is common among infants with continuous exposure to increased ambient oxygen throughout the first two postnatal weeks the antecedents of CLD among preterm infants without this exposure are not well understood.
We examined data collected prospectively on the 1204 (out of 1506) infants born in 2002 to 2004 at 23 to 27 completed weeks of gestation who survived to 36 weeks post-menstrual age (PMA). Based on their initial respiratory presentation and need for supplemental oxygen during the first two weeks, infants were classified as having early and persistent pulmonary dysfunction (EPPD), early recovery of pulmonary function followed by deterioration (PD), or consistently good pulmonary function characterized by low FiO2 (Low FiO2).
CLD was diagnosed in 69% of infants with EPPD, in 52% with PD, and 17% in the Low FiO2 group. Risk factors for CLD varied among these groups. Birth weight z-score < -1 conveyed information about CLD risk in all three groups and was the major risk factor for infants in the Low FiO2 group (Odds Ratio [OR] 27; 95% confidence interval [CI] 7–95). Mechanical ventilation at 7 days was associated with increased risk in the pulmonary deterioration group (OR 4.2, 95% CI 2.5–6.9) and the early and persistent pulmonary dysfunction group (OR 2.7, 95% CI 1.5–4.7), but not the Low FiO2 group (OR 1.5, 95% CI 0.5–3.9).
Both the likelihood of a very preterm infant developing CLD and the profile of risk factors linked with CLD are related to the infant’s pattern of respiratory disease during the first two postnatal weeks. Among infants with little exposure to oxygen during this period, fetal growth restriction, not mechanical ventilation, is the factor with the strongest association with CLD.
PMCID: PMC4736543  PMID: 20688867
lung disease; prematurity; preterm infant
4.  Definitions of cardiovascular insufficiency and relation to outcomes in critically ill newborn infants 
American journal of perinatology  2015;32(11):1024-1030.
We previously reported on the overall incidence, management and outcomes in infants with cardiovascular insufficiency (CVI). However, there are limited data on the relationship of the specific different definitions of CVI to short term outcomes in term and late preterm newborn infants.
To evaluate how 4 definitions of CVI relate to short term outcomes and death.
Study Design
The previously reported study was a multicenter, prospective cohort study of 647 infants ≥ 34 weeks gestation admitted to a Neonatal Research Network (NRN) newborn intensive care unit (NICU) and mechanically ventilated (MV) during their first 72 hours. The relationship of five short term outcomes at discharge and 4 different definitions of CVI were further analyzed.
All 4 definitions were associated with greater number of days on MV & days on O2. The definition using a threshold blood pressure (BP) measurement alone was not associated with days to full feeding, days in the NICU or death. The definition based on treatment of CVI was associated with all outcomes including death.
The definition using a threshold BP alone was not consistently associated with adverse short term outcomes. Using only a threshold BP to determine therapy may not improve outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4689139  PMID: 25825962
blood pressure; cardiovascular insufficiency; outcomes; newborn; infant
5.  Impaired Activity of Blood Coagulant Factor XIII in Patients with Necrotizing Enterocolitis 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:13119.
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is the most common gastrointestinal (GI) medical/surgical emergency of the newborn and a leading cause of preterm neonate morbidity and mortality. NEC is a challenge to diagnose since it often shares similar clinical features with neonatal sepsis. In the present study, plasma protein profiling was compared among NEC, sepsis and control cohorts using gel electrophoresis, immunoblot and mass spectrometry. We observed significant impairment in the formation of fibrinogen-γ dimers (FGG-dimer) in the plasma of newborns with NEC that could efficiently differentiate NEC and sepsis with a high level of sensitivity and specificity. Interestingly, the impaired FGG-dimer formation could be restored in NEC plasma by the addition of exogenous active factor XIII (FXIII). Enzymatic activity of FXIII was determined to be significantly lower in NEC subject plasma for crosslinking FGG when compared to sepsis. These findings demonstrate a potential novel biomarker and related biologic mechanism for diagnosing NEC, as well as suggest a possible therapeutic strategy.
PMCID: PMC4642514  PMID: 26277871
6.  Executive Summary of the Workshop “Nutritional Challenges in the High Risk Infant” 
The Journal of pediatrics  2012;160(3):511-516.
In 2009, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) invited an expert panel to a workshop to address the current knowledge gaps and lack of evidence-based guidelines that preclude optimal nutritional care for infants in neonatal intensive care units. Since much research needs to be done in this complex area of science, the group was requested to propose new research to rectify current deficiencies in this field. This paper provides a summary of the workshop presentations and discussions.
PMCID: PMC4530452  PMID: 22240111
prematurity; preterm infants; intensive care; infant; nutrition
7.  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
8.  Passive Smoking and Preterm Birth in Urban China 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2014;180(1):94-102.
Studies investigating the relationship between maternal passive smoking and the risk of preterm birth have reached inconsistent conclusions. A birth cohort study that included 10,095 nonsmoking women who delivered a singleton live birth was carried out in Lanzhou, China, between 2010 and 2012. Exposure to passive smoking during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of very preterm birth (<32 completed weeks of gestation; odds ratio = 1.98, 95% confidence interval: 1.41, 2.76) but not moderate preterm birth (32–36 completed weeks of gestation; odds ratio = 0.98, 95% confidence interval: 0.81, 1.19). Risk of very preterm birth increased with the duration of exposure (P for trend = 0.0014). There was no variability in exposures by trimester. The associations were consistent for both medically indicated and spontaneous preterm births. Overall, our findings support a positive association between passive smoking and the risk of very preterm birth.
PMCID: PMC4070933  PMID: 24838804
birth cohort; China; passive smoking; preterm birth
9.  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
10.  Death or Neurodevelopmental Impairment at 18 To 22 Months in a Randomized Trial of Early Dexamethasone to Prevent Death or Chronic Lung Disease in Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants 
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;164(1):34-39.e2.
To evaluate the incidence of death or neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) at 18 to 22 months corrected age in subjects enrolled in a trial of early dexamethasone treatment to prevent death or chronic lung disease in extremely low birth weight infants.
Evaluation of infants at 18 to 22 months corrected age included anthropomorphic measurements, a standard neurological examination, and the Bayley Scales of Infant Development-II, including the Mental Developmental Index (MDI) and the Psychomotor Developmental Index (PDI). NDI was defined as moderate or severe cerebral palsy, MDI or PDI less than 70, blindness, or hearing impairment.
Death or NDI at 18 to 22 months corrected age was similar in the dexamethasone and placebo groups (65 vs 66 percent, p= 0.99 among those with known outcome). The proportion of survivors with NDI was also similar, as were mean values for weight, length, and head circumference and the proportion of infants with poor growth (50 vs 41 percent, p=0.42 for weight less than 10th percentile). Forty nine percent of infants in the placebo group received treatment with corticosteroid compared to 32% in the dexamethasone group (p=0.02).
The risk of death or NDI and rate of poor growth were high but similar in the dexamethasone and placebo groups. The lack of a discernible effect of early dexamethasone on neurodevelopmental outcome may be due to frequent clinical corticosteroid use in the placebo group.
PMCID: PMC4120744  PMID: 23992673
neurodevelopmental outcome; growth; bronchopulmonary dysplasia; cerebral palsy; neonatal follow-up
11.  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
12.  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
Neonatology  2013;104(4):298-304.
To identify maternal and infant characteristics associated with reduced growth velocity in extremely premature newborns.
We evaluated 1187 infants born between 23 and 27 weeks gestation, at 14 institutions between 2002-2004 who survived until day 28 to identify the maternal and infant characteristics associated with a growth velocity (GV) and caloric intake in the lowest quartile
Newborns in the lowest gestational age and low birth weight categories, as well as those with intrauterine growth restriction, or high SNAP-II received relatively fewer kcal/kg/d than their peers without these risk factors, but were not at increased risk of being in the lowest GV quartile. Newborns with bacteremia, patent ductus arteriosus, retinopathy of prematurity stage 3-5, or pulmonary illness received fewer calories, as did those who received medications or blood transfusions. However, in a multivariable model adjusting for confounders, only ventilator-dependence on day 7 (odds ratio = 2.2, 95% CI: 1.5-3.2), early persistent pulmonary dysfunction (1.8, 1.3-2.5), and postnatal exposure to dexamethasone (2.8, 1.2-6.5) were associated with an increased risk of being in the lowest GV quartile. In this model, low caloric intake was not associated with low GV (1.3, 0.9-1.9).
Variables associated with severe pulmonary disease convey more information about the risk of reduced GV during the first 28 postnatal days than does low caloric intake.
PMCID: PMC3929951  PMID: 24192897
Premature Infant; Nutrition; Growth Velocity
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
Gut  2013;63(8):1284-1292.
Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) is a major source of neonatal morbidity and mortality. The management of infants with NEC is currently complicated by our inability to accurately identify those at risk for progression of disease prior to the development of irreversible intestinal necrosis. We hypothesised that integrated analysis of clinical parameters in combination with urine peptide biomarkers would lead to improved prognostic accuracy in the NEC population.
Infants under suspicion of having NEC (n=550) were prospectively enrolled from a consortium consisting of eight university-based paediatric teaching hospitals. Twenty-seven clinical parameters were used to construct a multivariate predictor of NEC progression. Liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry was used to profile the urine peptidomes from a subset of this population (n=65) to discover novel biomarkers of NEC progression. An ensemble model for the prediction of disease progression was then created using clinical and biomarker data.
The use of clinical parameters alone resulted in a receiver-operator characteristic curve with an area under the curve of 0.817 and left 40.1% of all patients in an ‘indeterminate’ risk group. Three validated urine peptide biomarkers (fibrinogen peptides: FGA1826, FGA1883 and FGA2659) produced a receiver-operator characteristic area under the curve of 0.856. The integration of clinical parameters with urine biomarkers in an ensemble model resulted in the correct prediction of NEC outcomes in all cases tested.
Ensemble modelling combining clinical parameters with biomarker analysis dramatically improves our ability to identify the population at risk for developing progressive NEC.
PMCID: PMC4161026  PMID: 24048736
The Journal of pediatrics  2014;164(3):607-12.e1-7.
To test the hypothesis that an exploratory proteomics analysis of urine proteins with subsequent development of validated urine biomarker panels would produce molecular classifiers for both the diagnosis and prognosis of infants with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
Study design
Urine samples were collected from 119 premature infants (85 NEC, 17 sepsis, 17 control) at the time of initial clinical concern for disease. The urine from 59 infants was used for candidate biomarker discovery by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. The remaining 60 samples were subject to enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for quantitative biomarker validation.
A panel of 7 biomarkers (alpha-2-macroglobulin-like protein 1, cluster of differentiation protein 14, cystatin 3, fibrinogen alpha chain, pigment epithelium-derived factor, retinol binding protein 4, and vasolin) was identified by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry and subsequently validated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. These proteins were consistently found to be either up- or down-regulated depending on the presence, absence, or severity of disease. Biomarker panel validation resulted in a receiver-operator characteristic area under the curve of 98.2% for NEC vs sepsis and an area under the curve of 98.4% for medical NEC vs surgical NEC.
We identified 7 urine proteins capable of providing highly accurate diagnostic and prognostic information for infants with suspected NEC. This work represents a novel approach to improving the efficiency with which we diagnose early NEC and identify those at risk for developing severe, or surgical, disease.
PMCID: PMC4161235  PMID: 24433829
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
The New England journal of medicine  2012;367(26):2495-2504.
Previous results from our trial of early treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) versus early surfactant treatment in infants showed no significant difference in the outcome of death or bronchopulmonary dysplasia. A lower (vs. higher) target range of oxygen saturation was associated with a lower rate of severe retinopathy but higher mortality. We now report longer-term results from our prespecified hypotheses.
Using a 2-by-2 factorial design, we randomly assigned infants born between 24 weeks 0 days and 27 weeks 6 days of gestation to early CPAP with a limited ventilation strategy or early surfactant administration and to lower or higher target ranges of oxygen saturation (85 to 89% or 91 to 95%). The primary composite outcome for the longer-term analysis was death before assessment at 18 to 22 months or neurodevelopmental impairment at 18 to 22 months of corrected age.
The primary outcome was determined for 1234 of 1316 enrolled infants (93.8%); 990 of the 1058 surviving infants (93.6%) were evaluated at 18 to 22 months of corrected age. Death or neurodevelopmental impairment occurred in 27.9% of the infants in the CPAP group (173 of 621 infants), versus 29.9% of those in the surfactant group (183 of 613) (relative risk, 0.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.78 to 1.10; P = 0.38), and in 30.2% of the infants in the lower-oxygen-saturation group (185 of 612), versus 27.5% of those in the higher-oxygen-saturation group (171 of 622) (relative risk, 1.12; 95% CI, 0.94 to 1.32; P = 0.21). Mortality was increased with the lower-oxygen-saturation target (22.1%, vs. 18.2% with the higher-oxygen-saturation target; relative risk, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.55; P = 0.046).
We found no significant differences in the composite outcome of death or neurodevelopmental impairment among extremely premature infants randomly assigned to early CPAP or early surfactant administration and to a lower or higher target range of oxygen saturation. (Funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; SUPPORT number, NCT00233324.)
PMCID: PMC4140695  PMID: 23268664
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
Pediatric research  2013;74(6):721-729.
Myo-inositol given to preterm infants with respiratory distress has reduced death, increased survival without bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and reduced severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in 2 randomized trials. Pharmacokinetic (PK) studies in extremely preterm infants are needed prior to efficacy trials.
Infants of 23–29 weeks gestation were randomized to a single intravenous (IV) dose of inositol at 60 or 120 mg/kg or placebo. Over 96 h, serum levels (sparse sampling population PK) and urine inositol excretion were determined. Population PK models were fit using a nonlinear mixed effects approach. Safety outcomes were recorded.
A 1-compartment model that included factors for endogenous inositol production, allometric size based on weight, gestational age (GA) strata and creatinine clearance fit the data best. The central volume of distribution was 0.5115 l/kg, the clearance 0.0679 l/kg/h, endogenous production 2.67 mg/kg/h and the half life 5.22 h when modeled without the covariates. During the first 12 h renal inositol excretion quadrupled in the 120 mg/kg group, returning to near baseline after 48 h. There was no diuretic side-effect. No significant differences in adverse events occurred between the 3 groups (p > 0.05).
A single compartment model accounting for endogenous production satisfactorily described the PK of IV inositol.
PMCID: PMC3962781  PMID: 24067395
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89860.
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a major source of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Since there is no specific diagnostic test or risk of progression model available for NEC, the diagnosis and outcome prediction of NEC is made on clinical grounds. The objective in this study was to develop and validate new NEC scoring systems for automated staging and prognostic forecasting.
Study design
A six-center consortium of university based pediatric teaching hospitals prospectively collected data on infants under suspicion of having NEC over a 7-year period. A database comprised of 520 infants was utilized to develop the NEC diagnostic and prognostic models by dividing the entire dataset into training and testing cohorts of demographically matched subjects. Developed on the training cohort and validated on the blind testing cohort, our multivariate analyses led to NEC scoring metrics integrating clinical data.
Machine learning using clinical and laboratory results at the time of clinical presentation led to two NEC models: (1) an automated diagnostic classification scheme; (2) a dynamic prognostic method for risk-stratifying patients into low, intermediate and high NEC scores to determine the risk for disease progression. We submit that dynamic risk stratification of infants with NEC will assist clinicians in determining the need for additional diagnostic testing and guide potential therapies in a dynamic manner.
Algorithm availability and smartphone application upon request.
PMCID: PMC3938509  PMID: 24587080
Cytokine  2012;61(1):315-322.
Little evidence is available to document that mechanical ventilation is an antecedent of systemic inflammation in preterm humans. We obtained blood on postnatal day 14 from 726 infants born before the 28th week of gestation and measured the concentrations of 25 inflammation-related proteins. We created multivariable models to assess the relationship between duration of ventilation and protein concentrations in the top quartile. Compared to newborns ventilated for fewer than 7 days (N=247), those ventilated for 14 days (N=330) were more likely to have elevated blood concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, TNF-α), chemokines (IL-8, MCP-1), an adhesion molecule (ICAM-1), and a matrix metalloprotease (MMP-9), and less likely to have elevated blood concentrations of two chemokines (RANTES, MIP-1β), a matrix metalloproteinase (MMP-1), and a growth factor (VEGF). Newborns ventilated for 7-13 days (N=149) had systemic inflammation that approximated the pattern of newborns ventilated for 14 days. These relationships were not confounded by chorioamnionitis or antenatal corticosteroid exposure, and were not altered appreciably among infants with and without bacteremia. These findings suggest that two weeks of ventilation are more likely than shorter durations of ventilation to be accompanied by high blood concentrations of pro-inflammatory proteins indicative of systemic inflammation, and by low concentrations of proteins that might protect from inflammation-mediated organ injury.
PMCID: PMC3518391  PMID: 23148992
inflammation; ventilation; preterm infant; cytokine; chemokine
The Journal of pediatrics  2012;161(2):222-8.e3.
To compare 18- to 22-month cognitive scores and neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) in 2 time periods using the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Neonatal Research Network assessment of extremely low birth weight infants with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Second Edition (Bayley II) in 2006–2007 (period 1) and using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition (Bayley III), with separate cognitive and language scores, in 2008–2011 (period 2).
Study design
Scores were compared with bivariate analysis, and regression analyses were run to identify differences in NDI rates.
Mean Bayley III cognitive scores were 11 points higher than mean Bayley II cognitive scores. The NDI rate was reduced by 70% (from 43% in period 1 to 13% in period 2; P < .0001). Multivariate analyses revealed that Bayley III contributed to a decreased risk of NDI by 5 definitions: cognitive score <70 and <85, cognitive or language score <70; cognitive or motor score <70, and cognitive, language, or motor score <70 (P < .001).
Whether the Bayley III is overestimating cognitive performance or whether it is a more valid assessment of emerging cognitive skills than the Bayley II is uncertain. Because the Bayley III identifies significantly fewer children with disability, it is recommended that all extremely low birth weight infants be offered early intervention services at the time of discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit, and that Bayley scores be interpreted with caution.
PMCID: PMC3796892  PMID: 22421261
Extremely preterm (EP) infants screen positive for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) at high rates. However it is not clear whether this is due to high rates of ASD in EPs or to high rates of false positive screens for ASD in children with a high rate of underlying neurodevelopmental impairments. Combining a parent questionnaire designed to distinguish developmental delay from ASD with direct observation of infant behavior may more accurately screen for ASD in EPs.
To determine rates of positive screen for ASD at 18–22months(m) in EPs using three screens; to determine factors associated with a positive screen.
554 infants born <27 weeks were screened at 18–22m using the Pervasive Developmental Disorders Screening Test, 2nd edition, Stage 2 (PDDST-II) and the response to name and response to joint attention items from the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. Infants with severe cerebral palsy, deafness and blindness were excluded. Associations between positive screen and neonatal/infant characteristics were determined.
113/554 (20 %) had ≥1 positive screen. 10% had a positive PDDST-II, 6% response to name, 9% response to joint attention; in only 1% were all 3 screens positive. Positive screen was associated with male gender, more hospital days, white race, lower maternal education, abnormal behavioral scores, and cognitive/language delay.
The use of three screens for ASD in EPs results in higher screen positive rates than use of one screen alone. Diagnostic confirmation is needed before true rates of ASD in EPs are known.
PMCID: PMC3434239  PMID: 22926660
Autism; Prematurity; Screening

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