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1.  Risk of necrotizing enterocolitis in very-low-birth-weight infants with isolated atrial and ventricular septal defects 
Objective
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is associated with significant morbidity and mortality in premature infants. We sought to identify the frequency of NEC in very-low-birth-weight infants with isolated ventricular septal defects (VSD) or atrial septal defects (ASD) using a large multicenter database.
Methods
We identified a cohort of infants with birth weight <1500 g cared for in 312 neonatal intensive care units managed by the Pediatrix Medical Group between 1997 and 2010. We examined the association between presence of an ASD or a VSD with development of NEC using logistic regression to control for small-for-gestational-age status, antenatal steroid use, antenatal antibiotic use, gestational age, sex, race, Apgar score at 5 minutes, and method of delivery.
Results
Of the 98,523 infants who met inclusion criteria, 1,904 (1.9%) had an ASD, 1943 (2.0%) had a VSD, and 146 (0.1%) had both. The incidence of NEC was 6.2% in infants without septal defects, 9.3% in those with an ASD, 7.8% in those with a VSD, and 10.3% in infants with both an ASD and a VSD. Compared to infants without septal defects, the adjusted odds ratios for developing NEC for each group—ASD alone, VSD alone, and ASD with VSD—were 1.26 (95% confidence interval 1.06–1.49), 1.27 (1.08–1.52), and 1.80 (1.03–3.12), respectively.
Conclusion
The presence of an ASD or a VSD was associated with NEC in this cohort of premature infants.
doi:10.1038/jp.2013.174
PMCID: PMC3969778  PMID: 24434778
necrotizing enterocolitis; atrial septal defect; ventricular septal defect
2.  Antifungal Therapy and Outcomes in Infants with Invasive Candida Infections 
Background
Invasive candidiasis is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in neonatal intensive care units. Treatment recommendations are limited by a lack of comparative outcomes data.
Methods
We identified all infants ≤120 days of age with positive blood, urine, or cerebrospinal fluid cultures for Candida sp. who received amphotericin B deoxycholate, fluconazole, amphotericin B lipid products, or combination therapy admitted to 1 of 192 neonatal intensive care units in the United States between 1997 and 2003. Primary outcome measures included overall mortality and therapeutic failure (combined outcome of duration of infection >7 days, need for additional antifungal therapy, or death prior to discharge). We compared outcomes by antifungal therapy using logistic regression, controlling for gestational age, day of life at start of antifungal therapy, delay in therapy, and site of infection.
Results
Overall, 138/730 (19%) infants died. On multivariable logistic regression, we observed higher overall mortality for infants receiving amphotericin B lipid products compared with infants receiving amphotericin B deoxycholate (OR 1.96 [95% CI: 1.16, 3.33]; p=0.01) or fluconazole (OR 2.39 [1.18, 4.83]; p=0.02).
Conclusions
Infants treated with amphotericin B lipid products had higher mortality than infants treated with either amphotericin B deoxycholate or fluconazole. This finding may be related to inadequate penetration of amphotericin B lipid products into the kidneys, inappropriate dosing in premature infants, or unknown differences in acuity of illness in infants treated with amphotericin B lipid products.
doi:10.1097/INF.0b013e3182467a72
PMCID: PMC3329577  PMID: 22189522
invasive candidiasis; infants; amphotericin B deoxycholate; fluconazole; amphotericin B lipid products
3.  Very Late Onset Infections in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit 
Early Human Development  2011;88(4):217-225.
OBJECTIVE
We sought to determine the risk factors, incidence, and mortality of very late onset bacterial infection (blood, urine, or cerebrospinal fluid culture positive occurring after day of life 120) in preterm infants.
STUDY DESIGN
A retrospective observational cohort study of all very low birth weight infants cared for between day of life 120 and 365 in 292 neonatal intensive care units in the United States from 1997 to 2008.
RESULTS
We identified 3918 infants who were hospitalized beyond 120 days of life. Of these, 1027 (26%) were evaluated with at least 1 culture (blood, urine, or cerebrospinal fluid), and 276 (27%) of the evaluated infants had 414 episodes of culture-positive infection. Gram-positive organisms caused most of the infections (48%). The risk of death was higher in infants with positive cultures (odds ratio; 10.5, 95% confidence interval [7.2–15.5]) or negative cultures (4.8, [3.5–6.7]) compared to infants that were never evaluated with a culture (p<0.001). Mortality was highest with fungal infections (8/24, 33%) followed by Gram-positive cocci (40/142, 28%).
CONCLUSIONS
Important predictive risk factors for early and late onset sepsis (birth weight and gestational age) did not contribute to risk of developing very late onset infection. Evaluation for infection (whether positive or negative) was a significant risk factor for death. GPC and fungal infections were associated with high mortality.
doi:10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2011.08.009
PMCID: PMC3248995  PMID: 21924568
Neonate; VLBW; sepsis; late onset
4.  Use of the Complete Blood Cell Count in Early-Onset Neonatal Sepsis 
Background
Early-onset sepsis is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in neonates, and its diagnosis remains challenging. The complete blood cell count and differential have been previously evaluated as diagnostic tools for early-onset sepsis in small, single-center reports. We evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of the complete blood count and differential in early-onset sepsis in a large, multicenter population of neonates admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit.
Methods
Using a cohort of 166,092 neonates with suspected early-onset sepsis with cultures admitted to 293 neonatal intensive care units, we calculated odds ratios and receiver operating characteristic curves for complete blood cell count indices and prediction of a positive culture. We determined sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratios for various commonly used cut-off values from the complete blood cell count.
Results
Low white blood cell counts, low absolute neutrophil counts, and high immature-to-total neutrophil ratios were associated with increasing odds of infection (highest odds ratios: 5.38, 6.84, and 7.97, respectively). Specificity and negative predictive values were high (73.7–99.9% and >99.8%). However, sensitivities were low (0.3–54.5%) for all complete blood cell count indices analyzed.
Conclusion
Low white blood cell count, absolute neutrophil count, and high immature-to-total neutrophil ratio were associated with increasing odds of infection, but no complete blood cell count-derived index possesses the sensitivity to rule out reliably early-onset sepsis in neonates.
doi:10.1097/INF.0b013e318256905c
PMCID: PMC3399972  PMID: 22531231
neonatal; early-onset sepsis; blood cell count
5.  Use of the Complete Blood Cell Count in Late-Onset Neonatal Sepsis 
Background
Late-onset sepsis is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in infants. Diagnosis of late-onset sepsis can be challenging. The complete blood cell count and differential have been previously evaluated as diagnostic tools for late-onset sepsis in small, single-center reports.
Objective
We evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of the complete blood count and differential in late-onset sepsis in a large multicenter population.
Study design
Using a cohort of all infants with cultures and complete blood cell count data from a large administrative database, we calculated odds ratios for infection, as well as sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, and likelihood ratios for various commonly used cut-off values.
Results
High and low white blood cell counts, high absolute neutrophil counts, high immature-to-total neutrophil ratios, and low platelet counts were associated with late-onset sepsis. Associations were weaker with increasing postnatal age at the time of the culture. Specificity was highest for white blood cell counts <1000/mm3 and >50,000/mm3 (>99%). Positive likelihood ratios were highest for white blood cell counts <1000/mm3 (4.1) and platelet counts <50,000/mm3 (3.5).
Conclusion
No complete blood count index possessed adequate sensitivity to reliably rule out late-onset sepsis in this population.
doi:10.1097/INF.0b013e31825691e4
PMCID: PMC3399981  PMID: 22531232
neonatal; late-onset sepsis; blood cell count
6.  Group B Streptococcal Meningitis: Cerebrospinal Fluid Parameters in the Era of Intrapartum Antibiotic Prophylaxis 
Early human development  2009;85(10 Suppl):S5-S7.
Objective
Describe cerebrospinal fluid parameters in infants with culture-proven Group B streptococcal meningitis in the era of intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis.
Study Design
Cohort study of the first lumbar puncture from 13,495 infants cared for at 150 neonatal intensive care units. We compared cerebrospinal fluid parameters [white blood cell count, red blood cell count, glucose, and protein], demographics, and outcomes between infants with and without Group B streptococcal meningitis.
Results
We identified 46 infants with Group B streptococcal meningitis. The median cerebrospinal fluid white blood cell count was 271 cells/mm3 for infants with Group B streptococcal meningitis and 6 cells/mm3 for infants without meningitis (p=0.0001). Of the infants with Group B streptococcal meningitis, 9/46 (20%) had negative blood cultures. Meningitis complicated 22/145 (15%) of episodes of early onset Group B streptococcal sepsis and 13/23 (57%) of episodes of late onset Group B streptococcal sepsis.
Conclusions
Group B streptococcal meningitis occurs in the presence of negative blood cultures. In hospitalized infants who undergo a lumbar puncture, Group B streptococcal sepsis is frequently complicated by GBS meningitis.
doi:10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2009.08.003
PMCID: PMC2783609  PMID: 19767158
Group B streptococcus; intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis; meningitis
7.  Early and Late Onset Sepsis in Late Preterm Infants 
Background
Preterm birth is increasing worldwide, and late preterm births, which comprise more than 70% of all preterm births, account for much of the increase. Early and late onset sepsis results in significant mortality in extremely preterm infants, but little is known about sepsis outcomes in late preterm infants.
Methods
This is an observational cohort study of infants < 121 days of age (119,130 infants less than or equal to 3 days of life and 106,142 infants between 4 and 120 days of life) with estimated gestational age at birth between 34 and 36 weeks, admitted to 248 neonatal intensive care units in the United States between 1996 and 2007.
Results
During the study period, the cumulative incidence of early and late onset sepsis was 4.42 and 6.30 episodes per 1000 admissions, respectively. Gram-positive organisms caused the majority of early and late onset sepsis episodes. Infants with early onset sepsis caused by Gram-negative rods and infants with late onset sepsis were more likely to die than their peers with sterile blood cultures (OR 4.39, 95% CI 1.71–11.23, P=0.002; and OR 3.37, 95% CI 2.35–4.84, P<0.001, respectively).
Conclusion
Late preterm infants demonstrate specific infection rates, pathogen distribution, and mortality associated with early and late onset sepsis. The results of this study are generalizable to late preterm infants admitted to the special care nursery or neonatal intensive care unit.
PMCID: PMC2798577  PMID: 19953725
blood culture; neonate; prematurity; infection; near term
8.  Total Lymphocyte Count and World Health Organization Pediatric Clinical Stage as Markers to Assess Need to Initiate Antiretroviral Therapy among Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Children in Moshi, Northern Tanzania 
Background
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the use of clinical staging alone and with total lymphocyte count to identify HIV infected children in need of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in resource-limited settings, when CD4 cell count is not available.
Methods
We prospectively enrolled children obtaining care for HIV infection at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre Pediatric Infectious Diseases Clinic in Moshi, Tanzania between March 2004 and May 2006 for this cohort study.
Results
192 (89.7%) of 214 children met WHO ART initiation criteria based on clinical staging or CD4 cell count. Several low-cost measures identified individuals who met WHO ART initiation criteria to the following degree: WHO stages 3 or 4 had 87.5% (95% CI; 82.8 – 92.1) sensitivity and, by definition, 100% (CI; 100 – 100) specificity; WHO recommended advance disease TLC cutoffs: sensitivity = 23.9% (95% CI; 17.3 – 30.5) specificity = 78.2% (95% CI: 67.3 – 89.1). Low TLC was a common finding, (50/214; 23%); however, it did not improve the sensitivity or specificity of clinical staging in identifying the severely immunosuppressed stage 2 children. Growth failure or use of total lymphocyte counts in isolation were not reliable indicators of severe immunosuppression or need to initiate ART.
Conclusion
The use of total lymphocyte count does not improve the ability to identify children in need of ART compared to clinical staging alone. Low absolute lymphocyte count did not correlate with severe immunosuppression based on CD4 cell count in this cohort.
doi:10.1097/INF.0b013e3181950b7f
PMCID: PMC2724760  PMID: 19436238
HIV/AIDS; ART; TLC; pediatrics; immunosuppression; CD4
9.  Safety and Pharmacokinetic Profiles of Repeated-Dose Micafungin in Children and Adolescents Treated for Invasive Candidiasis 
The Pediatric infectious disease journal  2013;32(11):10.1097/INF.0b013e31829efd14.
Background
Micafungin is an echinocandin with proven efficacy against a broad range of fungal infections, including those caused by Candida species.
Objective
To evaluate the safety and pharmacokinetics of once-daily 3 mg/kg and 4.5 mg/kg micafungin in children with proven, probable, or suspected invasive candidiasis.
Methods
Micafungin safety and pharmacokinetics were assessed in two Phase I, open-label, repeat-dose trials. In Study 2101, children aged 2–16 years were grouped by weight to receive 3 mg/kg (≥25 kg) or 4.5 mg/kg (<25 kg) intravenous micafungin for 10–14 days. In Study 2102, children aged 4 months to <2 years received 4.5 mg/kg micafungin. Study protocols were otherwise identical.
Results
Safety was analyzed in seventy-eight and nine children in Studies 2101 and 2102, respectively. Although adverse events were experienced by most children (2101: n = 62; 2102: n = 9), micafungin-related adverse events were less common (2101: n = 28; 2102: n = 1), and the number of patients discontinuing due to adverse events was low (2101: n = 4; 2102: n = 1). The most common micafungin-related adverse events were infusion-associated symptoms, pyrexia, and hypomagnesemia (Study 2101), and liver function abnormalities (Study 2102). The micafungin pharmacokinetic profile was similar to that seen in other studies conducted in children, but different than that observed in adults.
Conclusions
In this small cohort of children, once-daily doses of 3 mg/kg and 4.5 mg/kg micafungin were well tolerated. Pharmacokinetic data will be combined in a population pharmacokinetic analysis to support U.S. dosing recommendations in children.
doi:10.1097/INF.0b013e31829efd14
PMCID: PMC3818701  PMID: 23958810
candidiasis; children; micafungin; pharmacokinetics; safety
10.  Old and new: Appropriate dosing for neonatal antifungal drugs in the nursery 
Early human development  2013;89(0 1):S25-S27.
Candida infections are a source of significant mortality and morbidity in the neonatal intensive care unit. Treatment strategies continue to change as additional antifungals become available and studies in neonates are performed. Amphotericin B deoxycholate has been favored for many years, but fluconazole has the most data supporting its use in neonatal Candida infections and is often employed for prophylaxis as well as treatment. Voriconazole and posaconazole have limited utility in the nursery and are rarely used. The echinocandins are increasingly administered for invasive Candida infections, although higher doses are required in neonates than in older children and adults.
doi:10.1016/S0378-3782(13)70009-4
PMCID: PMC3806495  PMID: 23809344
11.  Sildenafil Exposure and Hemodynamic Effect after Fontan Surgery 
Objective
Determine sildenafil exposure and hemodynamic effect in children after Fontan single-ventricle surgery.
Design
Prospective, dose-escalation trial.
Setting
Single-center, pediatric catheterization laboratory.
Patients
9 children post Fontan single-ventricle surgical palliation and undergoing elective cardiac catheterization: Median (range) age and weight: 5.2 years (2.5–9.4) and 16.3 kg (9.5–28.1). Five children (55%) were male, and 6/9 (67%) had a systemic right ventricle.
Interventions
Catheterization and echocardiography performed before and immediately after single-dose intravenous sildenafil (0.25, 0.35, or 0.45 mg/kg over 20 minutes).
Measurements
Peak sildenafil and des-methyl sildenafil concentration, change in hemodynamic parameters measured by cardiac catheterization and echocardiography.
Main Results
Maximum sildenafil concentrations ranged from 124–646 ng/ml and were above the in vitro threshold needed for 77% phosphodiesterase type-5 (PDE-5) inhibition in 8/9 children and 90% inhibition in 7/7 of children with doses ≥0.35 mg/kg. Sildenafil improved stroke volume (+22%, p=0.05) and cardiac output (+10%, p=0.01) with no significant change in heart rate in 8/9 children. Sildenafil also lowered systemic (-16%, p=0.01) and pulmonary vascular resistance index (PVRI) in all 9 children (median baseline PVRI 2.4 [range: 1.3, 3.7]; decreased to 1.9 [0.8, 2.7] WU x m2; p=0.01) with no dose-response effect. Pulmonary arterial pressures decreased (−10%, p=0.02) and pulmonary blood flow increased (9%, p=0.02). There was no change in myocardial performance index and no adverse events.
Conclusions
After Fontan surgery, sildenafil infusion acutely improves cardiopulmonary hemodynamics, increasing cardiac index. For the range of doses studied, exposure was within the acute safety range reported in adult subjects.
doi:10.1097/PCC.0000000000000007
PMCID: PMC3887448  PMID: 24201857
single ventricle; sildenafil; Fontan; pulmonary hypertension; pulmonary vascular resistance; pharmacokinetics
12.  Population Pharmacokinetics of Intravenous Acyclovir in Preterm and Term Infants 
Background
Acyclovir is used to treat herpes infections in preterm and term infants; however, the influence of maturation on drug disposition and dosing requirements is poorly characterized in this population.
Methods
We administered intravenous acyclovir to preterm and term infants <31 days postnatal age and collected plasma samples. We performed a population pharmacokinetic analysis. The primary pharmacodynamic target was acyclovir concentration ≥3 mg/L for ≥50% of the dosing interval. The final model was simulated using infant data from a clinical database.
Results
The analysis included 28 infants (median 30 weeks gestation). Acyclovir pharmacokinetics was described by a 1-compartment model: clearance (L/h/kg) = 0.305 × (postmenstrual age [PMA]/31.3 weeks)3.02. This equation predicts a 4.5-fold increase in clearance from 25 to 41 weeks PMA. With proposed dosing, the pharmacodynamic target was achieved in 91% of infants: 20 mg/kg every 12 hours in infants <30 weeks PMA; 20 mg/kg every 8 hours in infants 30 to <36 weeks PMA; 20 mg/kg every 6 hours in infants 36–41 weeks PMA.
Conclusions
Acyclovir clearance increased with infant maturation. A dosing strategy based on PMA accounted for developmental changes in acyclovir disposition to achieve the surrogate pharmacodynamic target in the majority of infants.
doi:10.1097/01.inf.0000435509.75114.3d
PMCID: PMC3904301  PMID: 24346595
herpes simplex virus; preterm infants; acyclovir
13.  Intestinal Fatty-Acid Binding Protein and Metronidazole Response in Premature Infants 
Objectives
In premature infants with suspected intra-abdominal infection, biomarkers for treatment response to antimicrobial therapy are lacking. Intestinal fatty acid-binding protein (I-FABP) is specific to the enterocyte and is released in response to intestinal mucosal injury. I-FABP has not been evaluated as a surrogate marker of disease response to antimicrobial therapy. We examined the relationship between metronidazole exposure and urinary I-FABP concentrations in premature infants with suspected intra-abdominal infection.
Study design
We conducted an intravenous metronidazole pharmacokinetic study, collecting ≤3 urine samples per infant for I-FABP concentration measurements. We analyzed the relationship between I-FABP concentrations and measures of metronidazole exposure and pharmacokinetics, maturational factors, and other covariates.
Results
Twenty-six samples from 19 premature infants were obtained during metronidazole treatment. When analyzed without regard to presence of necrotic gastrointestinal disease, there were no significant associations between predictor variables and I-FABP concentrations. However, when the sample was limited to premature infants with necrotic gastrointestinal disease, an association was found between average predicted metronidazole concentration and I-FABP concentration (p=0.006).
Conclusion
While a predictive association between urinary I-FABP and metronidazole systemic exposure was not observed, the data suggest the potential of this endogenous biomarker to serve as a pharmacodynamic surrogate for antimicrobial treatment of serious abdominal infections in neonates and infants.
doi:10.3233/NPM-1477013
PMCID: PMC4225165  PMID: 25318626
necrotizing enterocolitis; biomarkers; pharmacokinetics; premature infants; antimicrobial agents
14.  Characterization of the Population Pharmacokinetics of Ampicillin in Neonates Using an Opportunistic Study Design 
Although ampicillin is the most commonly used drug in neonates, developmental pharmacokinetic (PK) data to guide dosing are lacking. Ampicillin is primarily renally eliminated, and developmental changes are expected to influence PK. We conducted an open-label, multicenter, opportunistic, prospective PK study of ampicillin in neonates stratified by gestational age (GA) (≤34 or >34 weeks) and postnatal age (PNA) (≤7 or >7 days). Drug concentrations were measured by tandem mass spectrometry. PK data were analyzed using population nonlinear mixed-effects modeling in NONMEM 7.2. Monte Carlo simulations were conducted to determine the probability of target attainment for the time in which the total steady-state ampicillin concentrations remained above the MIC (T>MIC) for 50%, 75%, and 100% of the dosing interval. A total of 142 PK samples from 73 neonates were analyzed (median [range] GA, 36 [24 to 41] weeks; PNA, 5 [0 to 25] days). The median ampicillin dose was 200 (100 to 350) mg/kg/day. Postmenstrual age and serum creatinine were covariates for ampicillin clearance (CL). A simplified dosing regimen of 50 mg/kg every 12 h for GA of ≤34 weeks and PNA of ≤7 days, 75 mg/kg every 12 h for GA of ≤34 weeks and PNA of ≥8 and ≤28 days, and 50 mg/kg every 8 h for GA of >34 weeks and PNA of ≤28 days achieved the prespecified surrogate efficacy target in 90% of simulated subjects. Ampicillin CL was associated with neonatal development. A simplified dosing regimen stratified by GA and PNA achieves the desired surrogate therapeutic target in the vast majority of neonates.
doi:10.1128/AAC.02374-13
PMCID: PMC4068432  PMID: 24614374
15.  Risk Factors for Invasive Candidiasis in Infants >1500 g Birth Weight 
Background
We describe the incidence, risk factors, and outcomes of invasive candidiasis in infants >1500 g birth weight.
Methods
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of infants >1500 g birth weight discharged from 305 NICUs in the Pediatrix Medical Group from 2001–2010. Using multivariable logistic regression, we identified risk factors for invasive candidiasis.
Results
Invasive candidiasis occurred in 330/530,162 (0.06%) infants. These were documented from positive cultures from ≥1 of these sources: blood (n=323), cerebrospinal fluid (n=6), or urine from catheterization (n=19). Risk factors included day of life >7 (OR 25.2; 95% CI 14.6–43.3), vaginal birth (OR 1.6 [1.2–2.3]), exposure to broad-spectrum antibiotics (OR 1.6 [1.1–2.4]), central venous line (OR 1.8 [1.3–2.6]), and platelet count <50,000/mm3 (OR 3.7 [2.1–6.7]). All risk factors had poor sensitivities, low positive likelihood ratios, and low positive predictive values. The combination of broad-spectrum antibiotics and low platelet count had the highest positive likelihood ratio (46.2), but the sensitivity of this combination was only 4%. Infants with invasive candidiasis had increased mortality (OR 2.2 [1.3–3.6]).
Conclusions
Invasive candidiasis is uncommon in infants >1500 g birth weight. Infants at greatest risk are those exposed to broad-spectrum antibiotics and with platelet counts of <50,000/mm3.
doi:10.1097/INF.0b013e3182769603
PMCID: PMC3578110  PMID: 23042050
candidiasis; candidemia; neonates; neonatal intensive care unit
16.  Triazole use in the nursery: fluconazole, voriconazole, posaconazole, and ravuconazole 
Current drug metabolism  2013;14(2):193-202.
Invasive fungal infections in infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit are common and often fatal. The mainstay of therapy against invasive fungal infections is antifungal agents. Over the last two decades, the development and approval of these drugs evolved tremendously, and the azole class emerged as important agents in the treatment and prevention of invasive fungal infections. Among the azoles, fluconazole has been used extensively due to its favorable pharmacokinetics, excellent activity against Candida spp, and safety profile. This drug has been well studied in children but data for its use in infants are largely limited to Candida prophylaxis studies. Voriconazole, a second generation triazole, has excellent activity against Candida and Aspergillus spp. However, data on its use in neonates are extremely limited. Posaconazole and Ravuconazole are the newest agents of the triazole family. The antimicrobial spectrum of posaconazole is similar to voriconazole, but with additional activity against zygomycetes. Experience with posaconazole in children is very limited, and there are no reports of its use in infants. Ravuconazole is not approved for use by the FDA but studies in animals and humans show that it is often fungicidal and has favorable pharmacokinetics. In conclusion, the management of invasive fungal infections has progressed greatly over the last two decades with the azole antifungals playing a significant role. Related to this class, future research is needed in order to better assess dosing, safety, schedules and areas of use of these agents in infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit.
PMCID: PMC3541435  PMID: 22935068
antifungal agents; triazole; prematurity; infection; candida; aspergillosis
17.  Developmental Pharmacokinetics of Piperacillin and Tazobactam Using Plasma and Dried Blood Spots from Infants 
Piperacillin-tazobactam is often given to infants with severe infection in spite of limited pharmacokinetics (PK) data. We evaluated piperacillin-tazobactam PK in premature and term infants of ages <61 days with suspected systemic infection. Infants received intravenous piperacillin-tazobactam (80 to 100 mg/kg of body weight every 8 h [q 8 h]) based on gestational and postnatal age. Sparse plasma samples were obtained after first and multiple doses. Drug concentrations were measured by tandem mass spectrometry. PK data were analyzed using population nonlinear mixed-effect modeling. Target attainment rates for the time unbound piperacillin concentrations remained above the MIC for 50% and 75% of the dosing interval at steady state were evaluated. Bias in population PK parameter estimates was assessed for dried blood spot (DBS) samples, and a comparability analysis was performed for DBS and plasma drug concentrations using linear regression. We obtained 128 plasma samples from 32 infants, median gestational age of 30 weeks (range, 23 to 40 weeks) and postnatal age of 8 days (range, 1 to 60). Piperacillin and tazobactam PK models included body weight (WT) and postmenstrual age (PMA) as covariates for clearance and WT for volume of distribution and were used to optimize dosing in infants. DBS drug concentrations were 50 to 60% lower than those in plasma, but when combined with plasma concentrations and a matrix effect, the data generated PK model parameters similar to those for plasma alone. With PMA-based dosing (100 mg/kg q 8 h, 80 mg/kg q 6 h, and 80 mg/kg q 4 h for PMA of ≤30, 30 to 35, and 35 to 49 weeks, respectively), 90% of simulated infants achieved the surrogate therapeutic target of time above the MIC (≤32 mg/liter) for 75% of the dosing interval.
doi:10.1128/AAC.02139-13
PMCID: PMC3993246  PMID: 24614369
18.  Treatment and Prophylaxis of Invasive Candidiasis 
Seminars in perinatology  2012;36(6):416-423.
Invasive candidiasis (IC) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in preterm infants. Even if successfully treated, IC can cause significant neurodevelopmental impairment. Preterm infants are at increased risk for hematogenous Candida meningoencephalitis owing to increased permeability of the blood–brain barrier, so antifungal treatment should have adequate central nervous system penetration. Amphotericin B deoxycholate, lipid preparations of amphotericin B, fluconazole, and micafungin are first-line treatments of IC. Fluconazole prophylaxis reduces the incidence of IC in extremely premature infants, but its safety has not been established for this indication, and as yet, the product has not been shown to reduce mortality in neonates. Targeted prophylaxis may have a role in reducing the burden of disease in this vulnerable population.
doi:10.1053/j.semperi.2012.06.003
PMCID: PMC3582379  PMID: 23177800
invasive candidiasis; preterm infants; antifungals
19.  Safety and Effectiveness of Meropenem in Infants With Suspected or Complicated Intra-abdominal Infections 
The safety and effectiveness of meropenem in young infants with suspected or confirmed intra-abdominal infections were evaluated. was well tolerated in this cohort of critically-ill infants, and the majority of infants treated with meropenem (84%) met the definition of therapeutic success.
Background. Intra-abdominal infections are common in young infants and lead to significant morbidity and mortality. Meropenem is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial with excellent activity against pathogens associated with intra-abdominal infections. The purpose of this study was to determine the safety and effectiveness of meropenem in young infants with suspected or complicated intra-abdominal infections.
Methods. Preterm and term infants <91 days of age with suspected or confirmed intra-abdominal infections hospitalized in 24 neonatal intensive care units were studied in an open-label, multiple-dose study. Adverse events and serious adverse events were collected through 3 and 30 days following the last meropenem dose, respectively. Effectiveness was assessed by 3 criteria: death, bacterial cultures, and presumptive clinical cure score.
Results. Of 200 subjects enrolled in the study, 99 (50%) experienced an adverse event, and 34 (17%) had serious adverse events; no adverse events were probably or definitely related to meropenem. The most commonly reported adverse events were sepsis (6%), seizures (5%), elevated conjugated bilirubin (5%), and hypokalemia (5%). Only 2 of the serious adverse events were determined to be possibly related to meropenem (isolated ileal perforation and an episode of fungal sepsis). Effectiveness was evaluable in 192 (96%) subjects, and overall treatment success was 84%.
Conclusions. Meropenem was well tolerated in this cohort of critically ill infants, and the majority of infants treated with meropenem met the definition of therapeutic success.
Clinical Trials Registration. NCT00621192.
doi:10.1093/cid/cis758
PMCID: PMC3491861  PMID: 22955430
20.  Neurodevelopmental Outcome of Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants with Candida Infection 
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;163(4):961-967.e3.
Objective
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.
Results
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).
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.04.034
PMCID: PMC3786056  PMID: 23726546
Candida; Neonatal sepsis; Neurodevelopmental and Prematurity
21.  Determining Population and Developmental Pharmacokinetics of Metronidazole Using Plasma and Dried Blood Spot Samples from Premature Infants 
Background
Limited pharmacokinetic (PK) data of metronidazole in premature infants has led to various dosing recommendations. Surrogate efficacy targets for metronidazole are ill-defined and therefore aimed to exceed minimum inhibitory concentration of organisms responsible for intra-abdominal infections.
Methods
We evaluated the PK of metronidazole using plasma and dried blood spot (DBS) samples from infants ≤32 weeks gestational age in an open-label, PK, multicenter (N=3) study using population PK modeling (NONMEM). Monte Carlo simulations (N=1000 virtual subjects) were used to evaluate the surrogate efficacy target. Metabolic ratios of parent and metabolite were calculated.
Results
Twenty-four premature infants (111 plasma and 51 DBS samples) were enrolled: median (range) gestational age at birth 25 (23–31) weeks, postnatal age 27 (1–82) days, postmenstrual age (PMA) 31 (24–39) weeks, and weight 740 (431–1466) g. Population clearance (CL, L/h/kg) was 0.038 × (PMA/30)2.45 and volume of distribution (L/kg) of 0.93. PK parameter estimates and precision were similar between plasma and DBS samples. Metabolic ratios correlated with CL.
Conclusion
Simulations suggested the majority of infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (>80%) would meet the surrogate efficacy target using PMA-based dosing.
doi:10.1097/INF.0b013e3182947cf8
PMCID: PMC3769518  PMID: 23587979
neonate; drug; pharmacokinetics; metronidazole; dried blood spots
23.  Therapeutic Monitoring of Voriconazole in Children Less Than 3 Years of Age: A Case Report and Summary of Voriconazole Concentrations for 10 Children 
Voriconazole is the treatment of choice for invasive aspergillosis and its use is increasing in pediatrics. Minimal pharmacokinetic data exist in young children. We report voriconazole concentrations for 10 children less than <3 years of age and pharmacokinetic parameters for one infant who had therapeutic drug monitoring performed. Trough concentrations were unpredictable based on dose, highlighting the need to follow values during therapy.
doi:10.1097/INF.0b013e31824acc33
PMCID: PMC3356483  PMID: 22301479
invasive aspergillosis; pediatric; voriconazole; pharmacokinetic; therapeutic drug monitoring
24.  Neonatal fungal infections: when to treat? 
Early human development  2012;88(Suppl 2):S6-S10.
Candida infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in neonatal intensive care units. Mortality following Candida bloodstream infections is as high as 40%, and neurodevelopmental impairment is common among survivors. Because invasive fungal infections are common and extremely difficult to diagnose, empirical treatment with antifungal therapy should be considered in high-risk, low-birth-weight infants who fail to quickly respond to empirical antibacterial treatment. Risk factors to consider when deciding to administer empirical antifungal therapy include: prior exposure to third-generation cephalosporins, extreme prematurity, and presence of central venous catheters.
doi:10.1016/S0378-3782(12)70004-X
PMCID: PMC3512570  PMID: 22633516
neonatal intensive care unit; empirical; Candida; infection; antifungal therapy
25.  Adverse Events Associated with Meropenem versus Imipenem/Cilastatin Therapy in a Large Retrospective Cohort of Hospitalized Infants 
Background
Carbapenems are commonly used in hospitalized infants despite a lack of complete safety data and associations with seizures in older children. We compared the incidence of adverse events in hospitalized infants receiving meropenem versus imipenem/cilastatin.
Methods
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 5566 infants treated with meropenem or imipenem/cilastatin in neonatal intensive care units managed by the Pediatrix Medical Group between 1997 and 2010. Multivariable conditional logistic regression was performed to evaluate the association between carbapenem therapy and adverse events, controlling for infant factors and severity of illness.
Results
Adverse events were more common with use of meropenem compared with imipenem/cilastatin (62.8/1000 infant days vs. 40.7/1000 infant days, P<0.001). There was no difference in seizures with meropenem vs. imipenem/cilastatin (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.96; 95% confidence interval 0.68, 1.32). The incidence of death, as well as the combined outcome of death or seizure, was lower with meropenem use—OR 0.68 (0.50, 0.88) and OR 0.77 (0.62, 0.95), respectively.
Conclusion
In this cohort of infants, meropenem was associated with more frequent but less severe adverse events when compared with imipenem/cilastatin.
doi:10.1097/INF.0b013e31828be70b
PMCID: PMC3708263  PMID: 23838776
meropenem; imipenem/cilastatin; adverse events; infant

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