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1.  Association of Chorioamnionitis with Aberrant Neonatal Gut Colonization and Adverse Clinical Outcomes 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0162734.
Objective
Chorioamnionitis (inflammation of the placenta and fetal membranes) and abnormal gastrointestinal colonization have been associated with an increased risk of sepsis and death in preterm infants, but whether chorioamnionitis causes abnormal pioneering gastrointestinal colonization in infants is not known. We determined the relationship between chorioamnionitis, altered infant fecal microbiome indicating abnormal gastrointestinal colonization, and adverse outcomes.
Study Design
Preterm infants ≤ 28 weeks at birth were enrolled from 3 level III NICUs in Cincinnati, Ohio and Birmingham, Alabama. Sequencing for 16S microbial gene was performed on stool samples in the first 3 weeks of life. Chorioamnionitis was diagnosed by placental histology. Late onset sepsis and death outcomes were analyzed in relation to fecal microbiota and chorioamnionitis with or without funisitis (inflammation of the umbilical cord).
Results
Of the 106 enrolled infants, 48 infants had no chorioamnionitis, 32 infants had chorioamnionitis but no funisitis (AC), and 26 infants had chorioamnionitis with funisitis (ACF). The fecal samples from ACF infants collected by day of life 7 had higher relative abundance of family Mycoplasmataceae (phylum Tenericutes), genus Prevotella (phylum Bacteroidetes) and genus Sneathia (phylum Fusobacteria). Further, AC and ACF infants had higher incidence of late-onset sepsis/death as a combined outcome. Presence of specific clades in fecal samples, specifically, order Fusobacteria, genus Sneathia or family Mycoplasmataceae, were significantly associated with higher risk of sepsis or death.
Conclusion
The results support the hypothesis that specific alterations in the pioneering infant gastrointestinal microbiota induced by chorioamnionitis predispose to neonatal sepsis or death.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0162734
PMCID: PMC5033323  PMID: 27658190
2.  Metagenomic Sequencing with Strain-Level Resolution Implicates Uropathogenic E. coli in Necrotizing Enterocolitis and Mortality in Preterm Infants 
Cell reports  2016;14(12):2912-2924.
SUMMARY
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) afflicts approximately 10% of extremely preterm infants with high fatality. Inappropriate bacterial colonization with Enterobacteriaceae is implicated, but no specific pathogen has been identified. We identify uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) colonization as a significant risk factor for the development of NEC and subsequent mortality. We describe a large-scale deep shotgun metagenomic sequence analysis of the early intestinal microbiome of 144 preterm and 22 term infants. Using a pan-genomic approach to functionally subtype the E. coli, we identify genes associated with NEC and mortality that indicate colonization by UPEC. Metagenomic multilocus sequence typing analysis further defined NEC-associated strains as sequence types often associated with urinary tract infections, including ST69, ST73, ST95, ST127, ST131, and ST144. Although other factors associated with prematurity may also contribute, this report suggests a link between UPEC and NEC and indicates that further attention to these sequence types as potential causal agents is needed.
Graphical abstract
doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2016.03.015
PMCID: PMC4819403  PMID: 26997279
3.  Trends in Care Practices, Morbidity, and Mortality of Extremely Preterm Neonates, 1993–2012 
JAMA  2015;314(10):1039-1051.
Importance
Extremely preterm infants contribute disproportionately to neonatal morbidity and mortality.
Objective
To review 20-year trends in maternal/neonatal care, complications, and mortality among extremely preterm infants born at Neonatal Research Network centers.
Design, Setting, Participants
Prospective registry of 34,636 infants 22–28 weeks’ gestational age (GA) and 401–1500 gram birthweight born at 26 Network centers, 1993–2012.
Exposure
Extremely preterm birth.
Main Outcomes
Maternal/neonatal care, morbidities, and survival. Major morbidities, reported for infants who survived more than 12 hours, were: severe necrotizing enterocolitis, infection, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, severe intracranial hemorrhage, cystic periventricular leukomalacia, and/or severe retinopathy of prematurity. Regression models assessed yearly changes, adjusting for study center, race/ethnicity, GA, birthweight for GA, and sex.
Results
Use of antenatal corticosteroids increased from 1993 to 2012 (348/1431 [24%] to 1674/1919 [87%], p<0.001), as did cesarean delivery (625/1431 [44%] to 1227/1921 [64%], p<0.001). Delivery room intubation decreased from 1144/1433 (80%) in 1993 to 1253/1922 (65%) in 2012 (p<0.001). After increasing in the 1990s, postnatal steroid use declined to 141/1757 (8%) in 2004 (p<0.001), with no significant change thereafter. Although most infants were ventilated, continuous positive airway pressure without ventilation increased from 120/1666 (7%) in 2002 to 190/1756 (11%) in 2012 (p<0.001). Despite no improvement from 1993 to 2004, rates of late-onset sepsis declined between 2005 and 2012 for infants of each GA (median GA 26 weeks, 109/296 [37%] to 85/320 [27%], adjusted relative risk [aRR]: 0.93 [95% CI, 0.92–0.94]). Rates of other morbidities declined, but bronchopulmonary dysplasia increased between 2009 and 2012 for infants 26–27 weeks (26 weeks, 130/258 [50%] to 164/297 [55%], p<0.001). Survival increased between 2009 and 2012 for infants 23 weeks (41/152 [27%] to 50/150 [33%], aRR: 1.09 [95% CI, 1.05–1.14]) and 24 weeks (156/248 [63%] to 174/269 [65%], aRR: 1.05 [95% CI, 1.03–1.07]), with smaller relative increases for infants 25 and 27 weeks and no change for infants 22, 26 and 28 weeks. Survival without major morbidity increased approximately 2% per year for infants 25–28 weeks with no change for infants 22–24 weeks.
Conclusions and Relevance
Among extremely preterm infants born at US academic centers over the last 20 years, changes in maternal and infant care practices and modest reductions in several morbidities were observed, although bronchopulmonary dysplasia increased. Survival increased most markedly for infants born at 23 and 24 weeks and survival without major morbidity increased for infants 25–28 weeks. These findings may be valuable in counselling families and developing novel interventions.
doi:10.1001/jama.2015.10244
PMCID: PMC4787615  PMID: 26348753
4.  Definitions of cardiovascular insufficiency and relation to outcomes in critically ill newborn infants 
American journal of perinatology  2015;32(11):1024-1030.
Background
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.
Objective
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1055/s-0035-1547321
PMCID: PMC4689139  PMID: 25825962
blood pressure; cardiovascular insufficiency; outcomes; newborn; infant
5.  Respiratory Outcomes of the Surfactant Positive Pressure and Oximetry Randomized Trial 
The Journal of pediatrics  2014;165(2):240-249.e4.
Objective
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.02.054
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
6.  Early empiric antibiotic use in preterm infants is associated with lower bacterial diversity and higher relative abundance of Enterobacter 
The Journal of pediatrics  2014;165(1):23-29.
Objectives
To determine the impact of empiric ampicillin and gentamicin use in the first week of life on microbial colonization and diversity in preterm infants.
Study design
16s rDNA community profiling was used to compare the microbiota of 74 infants born ≤32 weeks gestational age by degree of antibiotic use in the first week of life. The degree of antibiotic use was classified as 0 days, 1-4 days and 5-7 days of antibiotic administration. . All of the antibiotic use was empiric, defined as treatment based solely on clinical suspicion of infection without a positive culture result.
Results
Infants who received 5-7 days of empiric antimicrobial agents in the first week had increased relative abundance of Enterobacter (p=0.016) and lower bacterial diversity in the second and third weeks of life. Infants receiving early antibiotics also experienced more cases of NEC, sepsis or death than those not exposed to antibiotics.
Conclusions
Early empiric antibiotics have sustained effects on the intestinal microbiota of preterm infants. Intestinal dysbiosis in this population has been found to be associated with elevated risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, sepsis, or death.
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.01.010
PMCID: PMC4074569  PMID: 24529620
diversity; empiric antibiotics; microbiome; necrotizing enterocolitis; preterm infant
7.  Center Variation in Intestinal Microbiota Prior to Late-Onset Sepsis in Preterm Infants 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0130604.
Objective
Late onset sepsis (LOS) contributes to mortality and morbidity in preterm infants. We tested the hypotheses that microbes causing LOS originate from the gut, and that distortions in the gut microbial community increases subsequent risk of LOS.
Study Design
We examined the gut microbial community in prospectively collected stool samples from preterm infants with LOS and an equal number of age-matched controls at two sites (Cincinnati, OH and Birmingham, AL), by sequencing the bacterial 16S rDNA. We confirmed our findings in a subset of infants by whole genome shotgun sequencing, and analyzed the data using R and LEfSe.
Results
Infants with LOS in Cincinnati, as compared to controls, had less abundant Actinobacteria in the first samples after birth (median 18 days before sepsis onset), and less abundant Pseudomonadales in the last samples collected prior to LOS (median 8 days before sepsis onset). Infants with LOS in Birmingham, as compared to controls, had no differences identified in the first sample microbial communities, but Lactobacillales was less abundant in the last samples prior to LOS (median 4 days before sepsis onset). Sequencing identified detectable levels of the sepsis-causative organism in stool samples prior to disease onset for 82% of LOS cases.
Conclusions
Translocation of gut microbes may account for the majority of LOS cases. Distortions in the fecal microbiota occur prior to LOS, but the form of distortion depends on timing and site. The microbial composition of fecal samples does not predict LOS onset in a generalizable fashion.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0130604
PMCID: PMC4482142  PMID: 26110908
8.  Effect of Depth and Duration of Cooling on Deaths in the NICU Among Neonates With Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy 
JAMA  2014;312(24):2629-2639.
IMPORTANCE
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.
OBJECTIVE
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.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS
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.
INTERVENTIONS
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.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES
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).
RESULTS
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%.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
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.
doi:10.1001/jama.2014.16058
PMCID: PMC4335311  PMID: 25536254
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.
Objective
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)
Results
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).
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1055/s-0034-1368089
PMCID: PMC4127379  PMID: 24515617
blood pressure; cardiovascular insufficiency; mechanical ventilation; inotrope; fluid bolus; glucocorticoid; outcomes; newborn
Objective
To determine if current retinopathy of prematurity screening guidelines1 adequately identify treatable ROP in a contemporary cohort of extremely low gestation infants.
Study Design
Data from the Surfactant, Positive Pressure, and Pulse Oximetry Randomized Trial were used. Inborn infants 24 0/7 to 27 6/7 weeks gestational age with consent prior to delivery were enrolled in 2005-2009. Severe retinopathy of prematurity (Type 1 retinopathy of prematurity or treatment with laser, cryotherapy, or bevacizumab) or death was the primary outcome for the randomized trial. Examinations followed then current American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) screening recommendations, beginning by 31-33 weeks postmenstrual age.2,3
Results
1316 infants were enrolled in the trial. 997 of the 1121 who survived to first eye exam had final retinopathy of prematurity outcome determined. 137 (14% of 997) met criteria for severe retinopathy of prematurity and 128 (93%) of those had sufficient data (without missing or delayed exams) to determine age of onset of severe retinopathy of prematurity. Postmenstrual age at onset was 32.1 to 53.1 wks. In this referral center cohort, 1.4% (14/997) developed severe retinopathy of prematurity after discharge.
Conclusion
Our contemporary data support the 2013 AAP screening guidelines for ROP for infants 24 0/7 to 27 6/7 weeks gestational age.1 Some infants do not meet treatment criteria until after discharge home. Post-discharge follow-up of infants who are still at risk for severe ROP is crucial for timely detection and treatment.
doi:10.1038/jp.2014.12
PMCID: PMC3969774  PMID: 24503911
extremely premature infant
Microbiome  2014;2:36.
Background
Intestinal microbiota are implicated in risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and sepsis, major diseases of preterm infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Rates of these diseases vary over time and between NICUs, but time and NICU comparisons of the intestinal microbiota of preterm infants are lacking.
Methods
We included 66 singleton infants <29 weeks gestational age with stool samples collected between postnatal days 3 to 21 of life who survived free of NEC and sepsis. Infants were enrolled during 2010 and 2011. Twenty-six infants were enrolled at hospital 1 in Cincinnati, OH, and 40 infants were enrolled at hospital 2 in Birmingham, AL. Samples collected from days 3–9 (“week 1”) and days 10–16 (“week 2”) were compared between years and hospitals. Microbial succession was compared between hospitals in 28 infants with samples from the first 3 weeks of life. DNA extracted from stool was used to sequence the 16S rRNA gene by Illumina MiSeq using universal primers. Resulting operational taxonomic unit tables were analyzed for differences between years and hospitals using linear discriminant analysis effect size algorithm (LEfSe; significance, p < 0.05).
Results
Significant variation was observed in infant microbiota by year and hospital. Among hospital 1 infants, week 1 samples had more phylum Firmicutes (class Bacilli, families Clostridiaceae and Enterococcaceae) in 2010 and more phylum Proteobacteria (family Enterobacteriaceae) in 2011; week 2 samples did not significantly vary over time. However, among hospital 2 infants, the week 1 shift was nearly opposite, with more Proteobacteria (Enterobacteriaceae) in 2010 and more Firmicutes (Bacilli) in 2011; week 2 samples exhibited the same pattern. Regression analysis of clinical covariates found that antibiotic use had an important influence but did not explain these observed shifts in microbiota over time and between hospitals. Microbial succession also differed by hospital, with greater change in microbiota in hospital 1 than hospital 2 infants (p < 0.01, Jaccard distance).
Conclusion
Colonizing microbiota differ over time and between NICUs in ways that could be relevant to disease. Multi-site, longitudinal studies are needed to reliably define the impact of intestinal microbiota on adverse outcomes of preterm infants.
doi:10.1186/2049-2618-2-36
PMCID: PMC4203463  PMID: 25332767
Infants; Premature; Microbiome; Geo-temporal analysis; Microbial succession
Pediatric research  2013;75(3):424-430.
Background
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).
Methods
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/-
Results
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.
Conclusion
Disability was not associated with APOE genotype in this cohort of HIE survivors.
doi:10.1038/pr.2013.235
PMCID: PMC4095992  PMID: 24322171
The New England journal of medicine  2012;367(26):2495-2504.
BACKGROUND
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.
METHODS
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.
RESULTS
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).
CONCLUSIONS
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 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00233324.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1208506
PMCID: PMC4140695  PMID: 23268664
Background
Currently used biomarkers for acute kidney injury (AKI), namely Ngal, SCr, and BUN, are inadequate for timely detection of AKI in preterm infants.
Methods
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy-based metabolic profiling was conducted on urines from 20 preterm infants to determine if novel metabolic biomarkers could be identified for early detection of AKI. Urines were collected from every patient each day for the first 14 days of life. NMR spectra were measured for all urines and metabolic profiling analysis conducted.
Results
One metabolite, carnitine, increased significantly in urines of three extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants starting on day five of life. The three affected infants either received prolonged antibiotic treatment, extended treatment with indomethacin, or both. One ELBW patient who received both treatments and reached the highest urinary carnitine level died on day 10 of life due to localized gut perforation complicated by suspected AKI.
Conclusions
It was concluded that carnitine increased in the three neonates in part due to antibiotic- and/or indomethacin-induced AKI. It is hypothesized that combined antibiotic and indomethacin treatment promoted AKI resulting in reduced proximal renal tubule reabsorption of carnitine and that β-lactam antibiotics blocked renal carnitine uptake by human organic cation transporter, hOCTN2.
doi:10.4172/2155-9929.S3-001
PMCID: PMC4096988  PMID: 25035813
Acute kidney injury; Preterm infant; Necrotizing enterocolitis; NMR; Metabonomics; Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (Ngal); Carnitine; Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
Pediatrics  2013;131(6):e1865-e1873.
OBJECTIVE:
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.
METHODS:
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.
RESULTS:
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.
CONCLUSIONS:
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.
doi:10.1542/peds.2012-2779
PMCID: PMC3666108  PMID: 23650301
extremely preterm infant; antihypotensive therapy; blood pressure; hypotension
American journal of perinatology  2012;30(3):179-184.
Nosocomial (hospital-associated or NICU-associated) infections occur in as many as 10–36% of very low birth weight infants cared for in newborn intensive care units (NICU).
Objective
To determine the potentially avoidable, incremental costs of care associated with NICU-associated bloodstream infections.
Study Design
This is a retrospective study that included all NICU admissions of infants 401–1500 grams birth weight in the greater Cincinnati region from January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2007. Non-physician costs of care were compared between infants who developed at least one bacterial bloodstream infection prior to NICU discharge or death and infants who did not. Costs were adjusted for clinical and demographic characteristics that are present in the first three days of life and are known associates of infection.
Results
Among 900 study infants with no congenital anomaly and no major surgery, 82 (9.1%) developed at least one bacterial bloodstream infection. On average, the cost of NICU care was $16,800 greater per infant who experienced NICU-associated bloodstream infection.
Conclusions
Potentially avoidable costs of care associated with bloodstream infection can be used to justify investments in the reliable implementation of evidence-based interventions designed to prevent these infections.
doi:10.1055/s-0032-1322516
PMCID: PMC3789586  PMID: 22836823
quality improvement; investment case; nosocomial infection
The Journal of pediatrics  2011;159(1):152-154.e3.
The pharmacokinetics of levetiracetam were determined prospectively in 18 neonates with seizures. Neonates were found to have lower clearance, higher volume of distribution, and a longer half-life as compared with older children and adults. Mild somnolence was the only adverse effect.
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2011.03.057
PMCID: PMC3789844  PMID: 21592494
The Journal of Pediatrics  2012;161(2):264-269.e2.
Objective
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).
Results
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.
Conclusions
Emperic antifungal therapy was associated with increased survival without NDI. A prospective randomized trial of this strategy is warranted.
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.01.053
PMCID: PMC3380169  PMID: 22424952
Candida; neonate; mortality; neurodevelopmental impairment
Microbiome  2013;1:13.
Background
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating intestinal disease that afflicts 10% of extremely preterm infants. The contribution of early intestinal colonization to NEC onset is not understood, and predictive biomarkers to guide prevention are lacking. We analyzed banked stool and urine samples collected prior to disease onset from infants <29 weeks gestational age, including 11 infants who developed NEC and 21 matched controls who survived free of NEC. Stool bacterial communities were profiled by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Urinary metabolomic profiles were assessed by NMR.
Results
During postnatal days 4 to 9, samples from infants who later developed NEC tended towards lower alpha diversity (Chao1 index, P = 0.086) and lacked Propionibacterium (P = 0.009) compared to controls. Furthermore, NEC was preceded by distinct forms of dysbiosis. During days 4 to 9, samples from four NEC cases were dominated by members of the Firmicutes (median relative abundance >99% versus <17% in the remaining NEC and controls, P < 0.001). During postnatal days 10 to 16, samples from the remaining NEC cases were dominated by Proteobacteria, specifically Enterobacteriaceae (median relative abundance >99% versus 38% in the other NEC cases and 84% in controls, P = 0.01). NEC preceded by Firmicutes dysbiosis occurred earlier (onset, days 7 to 21) than NEC preceded by Proteobacteria dysbiosis (onset, days 19 to 39). All NEC cases lacked Propionibacterium and were preceded by either Firmicutes (≥98% relative abundance, days 4 to 9) or Proteobacteria (≥90% relative abundance, days 10 to 16) dysbiosis, while only 25% of controls had this phenotype (predictive value 88%, P = 0.001). Analysis of days 4 to 9 urine samples found no metabolites associated with all NEC cases, but alanine was positively associated with NEC cases that were preceded by Firmicutes dysbiosis (P < 0.001) and histidine was inversely associated with NEC cases preceded by Proteobacteria dysbiosis (P = 0.013). A high urinary alanine:histidine ratio was associated with microbial characteristics (P < 0.001) and provided good prediction of overall NEC (predictive value 78%, P = 0.007).
Conclusions
Early dysbiosis is strongly involved in the pathobiology of NEC. These striking findings require validation in larger studies but indicate that early microbial and metabolomic signatures may provide highly predictive biomarkers of NEC.
doi:10.1186/2049-2618-1-13
PMCID: PMC3971624  PMID: 24450576
Microbiome; Premature infants; Necrotizing enterocolitis; Dysbiosis
Pediatrics  2012;129(3):480-484.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:
The Surfactant Positive Airway Pressure and Pulse Oximetry Randomized Trial (SUPPORT) antenatal consent study demonstrated that mothers of infants enrolled in the SUPPORT trial had significantly different demographics and exposure to antenatal steroids compared with mothers of eligible, but not enrolled infants. The objective of this analysis was to compare the outcomes of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, severe retinopathy of prematurity, severe intraventricular hemorrhage or periventricular leukomalacia (IVH/PVL), death, and death/severe IVH/PVL for infants enrolled in SUPPORT in comparison with eligible, but not enrolled infants.
METHODS:
Perinatal characteristics and neonatal outcomes were compared for enrolled and eligible but not enrolled infants in bivariate analyses. Models were created to test the effect of enrollment in SUPPORT on outcomes, controlling for perinatal characteristics.
RESULTS:
There were 1316 infants enrolled in SUPPORT; 3053 infants were eligible, but not enrolled. In unadjusted analyses, enrolled infants had significantly lower rates of death before discharge, severe IVH/PVL, death/severe IVH/PVL (all < 0.001), and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (P = .003) in comparison with eligible, but not enrolled infants. The rate of severe retinopathy of prematurity was not significantly different. After adjustment for perinatal factors, enrollment in the trial was not a significant predictor of any of the tested clinical outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS:
The results of this analysis demonstrate significant outcome differences between enrolled and eligible but not enrolled infants in a trial using antenatal consent, which were likely due to enrollment bias resulting from the antenatal consent process. Additional research and regulatory review need to be conducted to ensure that large moderate-risk trials that require antenatal consent can be conducted in such a way as to ensure the generalizability of results.
doi:10.1542/peds.2011-2121
PMCID: PMC3289530  PMID: 22371462
antenatal steroids; clinical research/trials; informed consent; neonatal
Context
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.
Objective
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
RESULTS
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).
CONCLUSIONS
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.
doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1752
PMCID: PMC3565238  PMID: 22147379
prematurity; infant mortality; neonatal intensive care; neurodevelopmental impairment; lung maturation; limits of viability
The Journal of pediatrics  2011;159(5):720-725.
Objective
To investigate the outcomes following prolonged empirical antibiotic administration to premature infants in the first week of life, concluding subsequent late onset sepsis (LOS), necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), and death.
Study design
Study infants were ≤32 weeks gestational age and ≤ 1500 grams birth weight who survived free of sepsis and NEC for 7 days. Multivariable logistic regression was conducted to determine independent relationships between prolonged initial empirical antibiotic therapy (≥ 5 days) and study outcomes controlling for birth weight, gestational age, race, prolonged premature rupture of membranes, days on high frequency ventilation in 7 days, and the amount of breast milk received in the first 14 days of life.
Results
Of the 365 premature infants surviving 7 days free of sepsis or NEC, 36% received prolonged initial empirical antibiotics, which was independently associated with subsequent outcomes: LOS (odds ratio [OR] 2.45, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.28–4.67) and the combination of LOS, NEC, or death (OR 2.66, 95% CI 1.12–6.3).
Conclusions
Prolonged administration of empirical antibiotics to premature infants with sterile cultures in the first week of life is associated with subsequent severe outcomes. Judicious restriction of antibiotic use should be investigated as a strategy to reduce severe outcomes for premature infants.
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2011.05.033
PMCID: PMC3193552  PMID: 21784435
prolonged antibiotic treatment; death; human milk; late-onset sepsis; necrotizing enterocolitis; premature infant
Aims
To determine whether extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants with bilateral compared to unilateral intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) have worse neurodevelopmental outcomes at 18–22 months.
Methods
166 ELBW infants (<1000 g) admitted to a Cincinnati NICU from 1998–2005 with a head ultrasound showing Grade I–IV IVH and neurodevelopmental assessment at 18–22 months corrected age were included. Multivariable linear and logistic regression models were developed to determine the impact of laterality and grade of IVH and other clinical variables to predict scores on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Second Edition, Mental Development Index (MDI) and Psychomotor Development Index (PDI) and the combined outcome of neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI).
Results
Infants with bilateral grade IV IVH had lower adjusted mean Bayley scores compared with infants with unilateral grade IV IVH. For grades I, II, and III IVH, bilaterality of IVH was not associated with lower mean Bayley scores. Infants with grade IV IVH had the highest odds of NDI. The probability of NDI increased with sepsis and postnatal steroid use.
Conclusions
ELBW infants with bilateral compared to those with unilateral grade IV IVH had worse neurodevelopmental outcomes. Infants with grades I–III IVH had similar outcomes whether they had unilateral or bilateral IVH.
doi:10.1111/j.1651-2227.2011.02584.x
PMCID: PMC3475499  PMID: 22220735
premature; sepsis; steroids; Bayley; cognitive; motor
The Journal of pediatrics  2011;158(5):745-751.
Objective
To investigate secretor gene fucosyltransferase2 (FUT2) polymorphism and secretor phenotype in relation to outcomes of prematurity.
Study design
Study infants were ≤32 weeks gestational age. Secretor genotype was determined from salivary DNA. Secretor phenotype was measured by H antigen, the carbohydrate produced by secretor gene enzymes, in saliva samples collected on day 9±5. The optimal predictive cut-point in salivary H values was identified by Classification and Regression Tree analysis. Study outcomes were death, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC, Bell’s stage II/III), and confirmed sepsis.
Results
There were 410 study infants, 26 deaths, 30 cases of NEC, and 96 cases of sepsis. Analyzed by genotype, 13% of 95 non-secretors, 5% of 203 heterozygotes, and 2% of 96 infants who were secretor dominant died (p=0.01). Analyzed by phenotype, 15% of 135 infants with low secretor phenotype died, compared with 2% of 248 infants with high secretor phenotype (predictive value=76%, p<0.001). Low secretor phenotype was associated (P<.05) with NEC, and non-secretor genotype was associated (P=.05) with gram negative sepsis. Secretor status remained significant after controlling for multiple clinical factors.
Conclusions
Secretor genotype and phenotype may provide strong predictive biomarkers of adverse outcomes in premature infants.
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.10.043
PMCID: PMC3412418  PMID: 21256510
Rationale: Benefits of identifying risk factors for bronchopulmonary dysplasia in extremely premature infants include providing prognostic information, identifying infants likely to benefit from preventive strategies, and stratifying infants for clinical trial enrollment.
Objectives: To identify risk factors for bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and the competing outcome of death, by postnatal day; to identify which risk factors improve prediction; and to develop a Web-based estimator using readily available clinical information to predict risk of bronchopulmonary dysplasia or death.
Methods: We assessed infants of 23–30 weeks' gestation born in 17 centers of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network and enrolled in the Neonatal Research Network Benchmarking Trial from 2000–2004.
Measurements and Main Results: Bronchopulmonary dysplasia was defined as a categorical variable (none, mild, moderate, or severe). We developed and validated models for bronchopulmonary dysplasia risk at six postnatal ages using gestational age, birth weight, race and ethnicity, sex, respiratory support, and FiO2, and examined the models using a C statistic (area under the curve). A total of 3,636 infants were eligible for this study. Prediction improved with advancing postnatal age, increasing from a C statistic of 0.793 on Day 1 to a maximum of 0.854 on Day 28. On Postnatal Days 1 and 3, gestational age best improved outcome prediction; on Postnatal Days 7, 14, 21, and 28, type of respiratory support did so. A Web-based model providing predicted estimates for bronchopulmonary dysplasia by postnatal day is available at https://neonatal.rti.org.
Conclusions: The probability of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in extremely premature infants can be determined accurately using a limited amount of readily available clinical information.
doi:10.1164/rccm.201101-0055OC
PMCID: PMC3136997  PMID: 21471086
bronchopulmonary dysplasia; prematurity; low-birth-weight infant

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