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1.  Antenatal Magnesium Sulfate Exposure and Acute Cardiorespiratory Events in Preterm Infants 
Antenatal magnesium (anteMg) is used for tocolysis, pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) and neuroprotection for preterm birth. Infants exposed to anteMg are at risk for respiratory depression and resuscitation in the delivery room (DR). The study objective was to compare the risk of acute cardio-respiratory (CR) events among preterm infants exposed to anteMg and those unexposed (noMg).
Study Design
This was a retrospective analysis of prospective data collected in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network's Generic Database from 4/1/11 to 3/31/12. The primary outcome was DR intubation or mechanical ventilation (MV) at birth or on day 1 of life. Secondary outcomes were endotracheal MV (eMV), hypotension and other neonatal morbidities and mortality. Logistic regression analysis evaluated the risk of primary outcomes after adjustment for gestational age (GA), center, antenatal steroids (ANS) and PIH/eclampsia.
We evaluated 1,544 infants <29 weeks GA (1,091 in anteMg group and 453 in noMg group). Mothers in the anteMg group were more likely to have higher education, PIH/eclampsia and ANS; while their infants were younger in gestation and weighed less (P<0.05). The primary outcome, mortality and neonatal morbidities were similar between groups; while eMV and hypotension were significantly less among the anteMg group compared to the noMg group. AnteMg exposure was significantly associated with decreased risk of hypotension on day 1 of life and eMV on day 3 of life in the regression analysis.
Preterm infants <29 weeks GA who were exposed to anteMg did not suffer worse CR outcomes compared to those without exposure.
PMCID: PMC4275326  PMID: 25046806
antenatal magnesium; nasal CPAP; neonatal resuscitation; preterm infants
2.  Brain injury following trial of hypothermia for neonatal hypoxic–ischaemic encephalopathy 
The objective of our study was to examine the relationship between brain injury and outcome following neonatal hypoxic–ischaemic encephalopathy treated with hypothermia.
Design and patients
Neonatal MRI scans were evaluated in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) randomised controlled trial of whole-body hypothermia and each infant was categorised based upon the pattern of brain injury on the MRI findings. Brain injury patterns were assessed as a marker of death or disability at 18–22 months of age.
Scans were obtained on 136 of 208 trial participants (65%); 73 in the hypothermia and 63 in the control group. Normal scans were noted in 38 of 73 infants (52%) in the hypothermia group and 22 of 63 infants (35%) in the control group. Infants in the hypothermia group had fewer areas of infarction (12%) compared to infants in the control group (22%). Fifty-one of the 136 infants died or had moderate or severe disability at 18 months. The brain injury pattern correlated with outcome of death or disability and with disability among survivors. Each point increase in the severity of the pattern of brain injury was independently associated with a twofold increase in the odds of death or disability.
Fewer areas of infarction and a trend towards more normal scans were noted in brain MRI following whole-body hypothermia. Presence of the NICHD pattern of brain injury is a marker of death or moderate or severe disability at 18–22 months following hypothermia for neonatal encephalopathy.
PMCID: PMC3722585  PMID: 23080477
3.  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
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.  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
6.  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
7.  Association of antenatal corticosteroids with mortality and neurodevelopmental outcomes among infants born at 22–25 weeks gestation 
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
8.  Neonatal Candidiasis: Epidemiology, Risk Factors, and Clinical Judgment 
Pediatrics  2010;126(4):e865-e873.
Invasive candidiasis is a leading cause of infection-related morbidity and mortality in extremely low-birth-weight (<1000 g) infants. We quantify risk factors predicting infection in high-risk premature infants and compare clinical judgment with a prediction model of invasive candidiasis.
The study involved a prospective observational cohort of infants <1000 g birth weight at 19 centers of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network. At each sepsis evaluation, clinical information was recorded, cultures obtained, and clinicians prospectively recorded their estimate of the probability of invasive candidiasis. Two models were generated with invasive candidiasis as their outcome: 1) potentially modifiable risk factors and 2) a clinical model at time of blood culture to predict candidiasis.
Invasive candidiasis occurred in 137/1515 (9.0%) infants and was documented by positive culture from ≥ 1 of these sources: blood (n=96), cerebrospinal fluid (n=9), urine obtained by catheterization (n=52), or other sterile body fluid (n=10). Mortality was not different from infants who had positive blood culture compared to those with isolated positive urine culture. Incidence varied from 2–28% at the 13 centers enrolling ≥ 50 infants. Potentially modifiable risk factors (model 1) included central catheter, broad-spectrum antibiotics (e.g., third-generation cephalosporins), intravenous lipid emulsion, endotracheal tube, and antenatal antibiotics. The clinical prediction model (model 2) had an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.79, and was superior to clinician judgment (0.70) in predicting subsequent invasive candidiasis. Performance of clinical judgment did not vary significantly with level of training.
Prior antibiotics, presence of a central catheter, endotracheal tube, and center were strongly associated with invasive candidiasis. Modeling was more accurate in predicting invasive candidiasis than clinical judgment.
PMCID: PMC3045840  PMID: 20876174
Candidiasis; premature infant; risk factors
The heptavalent pneumococcal-CRM197 conjugate vaccine (PCV-7) has been incompletely studied in very-low-birth-weight (VLBW, ≤1500 grams) infants.
To assess PCV-7 immunogenicity in VLBW, premature infants. We hypothesized that the frequency of post-vaccine antibody concentrations ≥0.15 µg/mL would vary directly with birth weight.
This was a multi-center observational study. Infants 401–1500 grams birth weight and <32 0/7 weeks gestation, stratified by birth weight, were enrolled from 9 NICHD Neonatal Research Network centers. Infants received PCV-7 at 2, 4 and 6 months after birth and had blood drawn 4–6 weeks following the third dose. Antibodies against the 7 vaccine serotypes were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Of 369 enrolled infants, 244 completed their primary vaccine series by 8 months and had serum obtained. Subjects were 27.8 ± 2.2 (mean ± standard deviation) weeks gestation and 1008 ± 282 grams birth weight. Twenty-six percent had bronchopulmonary dysplasia and 16% had received postnatal glucocorticoids. Infants 1001–1500 grams birth weight were more likely than those 401–1000 grams to achieve antibody concentrations ≥0.15 µg/mL against the least two immunogenic serotypes (6B: 96% v. 85%, P = 0.003 and 23F: 97% v. 88%, P = 0.009). In multiple logistic regression analysis, lower birth weight, postnatal glucocorticoid use, lower weight at blood draw and Caucasian race were each independently associated with antibody concentrations <0.35 µg/mL against serotypes 6B and/or 23F.
When compared with larger premature infants, infants weighing ≤1000 grams at birth have similar antibody responses to most, but not all, PCV-7 vaccine serotypes.
PMCID: PMC2949965  PMID: 20234331
Infant, premature; infant, very low birth weight; pneumococcal vaccines; immunization; vaccines
10.  Acyclovir Suppression to Prevent Clinical Recurrences at Delivery After First Episode Genital Herpes in Pregnancy: An Open-Label Trial 
Objective: To continue evaluation of the use of acyclovir suppression in late pregnancy after first episode genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection, using an open-label study design.
Methods: Ninety-six women diagnosed with genital herpes for the first time in the index pregnancy were prescribed suppressive acyclovir 400 mg orally three times daily from 36 weeks until delivery in an open-label fashion. Herpes cultures were obtained when patients presented for delivery. Vaginal delivery was permitted if no clinical recurrence was present; otherwise a Cesarean delivery was performed. NeonatalHSV cultures were obtained and infants were followed clinically. Rates of clinical and asymptomatic genital herpes recurrences and Cesarean delivery for genital herpes were measured, and 95% confidence intervals were calculated.
Results: In 82 patients (85%) compliant with therapy, only 1% had clinical HSV recurrences at delivery. In an intent to treat analysis of the entire cohort, 4% had clinical recurrences (compared with 18–37% in historical controls). Asymptomatic shedding occurred in 1% of women without lesions at delivery. Two of the four clinical recurrences were HSV-culture positive. No significant maternal or fetal side-effects were observed.
Conclusions: In clinical practice the majority of patients are compliant with acyclovir suppression at term. The therapy appears to be effective at reducing clinical recurrences after a first episode of genital herpes complicating a pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC1784644  PMID: 11495557

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