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1.  The Relationship Between Brain Structure and Cognition in Transfused Preterm Children at School Age 
Developmental neuropsychology  2014;39(3):226-232.
Examine the relationship between brain structure and cognition in preterm children randomly assigned to a liberal red blood cell (RBC) transfusion strategy as neonates.
Intelligence, achievement, and neuropsychological measures were assessed and structural imaging was obtained (n = 26; 38% male).
Global brain volumes were related to cognitive outcome. Additionally, Females performed lower on verbal fluency; lower performance was related to temporal white matter volume.
Findings provide possible evidence of adverse effect of liberal RBC transfusion strategy in which females had decreased temporal lobe white matter directly related to poor verbal fluency.
PMCID: PMC4071071  PMID: 24742312
2.  Mortality and Morbidity of VLBW Infants With Trisomy 13 or Trisomy 18 
Pediatrics  2014;133(2):226-235.
Little is known about how very low birth weight (VLBW) affects survival and morbidities among infants with trisomy 13 (T13) or trisomy 18 (T18). We examined the care plans for VLBW infants with T13 or T18 and compared their risks of mortality and neonatal morbidities with VLBW infants with trisomy 21 and VLBW infants without birth defects.
Infants with birth weight 401 to 1500 g born or cared for at a participating center of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network during the period 1994–2009 were studied. Poisson regression models were used to examine risk of death and neonatal morbidities among infants with T13 or T18.
Of 52 262 VLBW infants, 38 (0.07%) had T13 and 128 (0.24%) had T18. Intensity of care in the delivery room varied depending on whether the trisomy was diagnosed before or after birth. The plan for subsequent care for the majority of the infants was to withdraw care or to provide comfort care. Eleven percent of infants with T13 and 9% of infants with T18 survived to hospital discharge. Survivors with T13 or T18 had significantly increased risk of patent ductus arteriosus and respiratory distress syndrome compared with infants without birth defects. No infant with T13 or T18 developed necrotizing enterocolitis.
In this cohort of liveborn VLBW infants with T13 or T18, the timing of trisomy diagnosis affected the plan for care, survival was poor, and death usually occurred early.
PMCID: PMC3904274  PMID: 24446439
trisomy 13; trisomy 18; trisomy 21; very low birth weight; preterm infants
3.  Serum Tocopherol Levels in Very Preterm Infants After a Single Dose of Vitamin E at Birth 
Pediatrics  2013;132(6):e1626-e1633.
Our aim was to examine the impact of a single enteral dose of vitamin E on serum tocopherol levels. The study was undertaken to see whether a single dose of vitamin E soon after birth can rapidly increase the low α-tocopherol levels seen in very preterm infants. If so, this intervention could be tested as a means of reducing the risk of intracranial hemorrhage.
Ninety-three infants <27 weeks’ gestation and <1000 g were randomly assigned to receive a single dose of vitamin E or placebo by gastric tube within 4 hours of birth. The vitamin E group received 50 IU/kg of vitamin E as dl-α-tocopheryl acetate (Aquasol E). The placebo group received sterile water. Blood samples were taken for measurement of serum tocopherol levels by high-performance liquid chromatography before dosing and 24 hours and 7 days after dosing.
Eighty-eight infants received the study drug and were included in the analyses. The α-tocopherol levels were similar between the groups at baseline but higher in the vitamin E group at 24 hours (median 0.63 mg/dL vs 0.42 mg/dL, P = .003) and 7 days (2.21 mg/dL vs 1.86 mg/dL, P = .04). There were no differences between groups in γ-tocopherol levels. At 24 hours, 30% of vitamin E infants and 62% of placebo infants had α-tocopherol levels <0.5 mg/dL.
A 50-IU/kg dose of vitamin E raised serum α-tocopherol levels, but to consistently achieve α-tocopherol levels >0.5 mg/dL, a higher dose or several doses of vitamin E may be needed.
PMCID: PMC3838534  PMID: 24218460
vitamin E; preterm infants
4.  Individual and Center-Level Factors Affecting Mortality Among Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants 
Pediatrics  2013;132(1):e175-e184.
To examine factors affecting center differences in mortality for extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants.
We analyzed data for 5418 ELBW infants born at 16 Neonatal Research Network centers during 2006–2009. The primary outcomes of early mortality (≤12 hours after birth) and in-hospital mortality were assessed by using multilevel hierarchical models. Models were developed to investigate associations of center rates of selected interventions with mortality while adjusting for patient-level risk factors. These analyses were performed for all gestational ages (GAs) and separately for GAs <25 weeks and ≥25 weeks.
Early and in-hospital mortality rates among centers were 5% to 36% and 11% to 53% for all GAs, 13% to 73% and 28% to 90% for GAs <25 weeks, and 1% to 11% and 7% to 26% for GAs ≥25 weeks, respectively. Center intervention rates significantly predicted both early and in-hospital mortality for infants <25 weeks. For infants ≥25 weeks, intervention rates did not predict mortality. The variance in mortality among centers was significant for all GAs and outcomes. Center use of interventions and patient risk factors explained some but not all of the center variation in mortality rates.
Center intervention rates explain a portion of the center variation in mortality, especially for infants born at <25 weeks’ GA. This finding suggests that deaths may be prevented by standardizing care for very early GA infants. However, differences in patient characteristics and center intervention rates do not account for all of the observed variability in mortality; and for infants with GA ≥25 weeks these differences account for only a small part of the variation in mortality.
PMCID: PMC3691533  PMID: 23753096
mortality rates; outcome; NICU; preterm infants; extremely preterm infants
5.  Late-Onset Sepsis in Very Low Birth Weight Infants from Singleton and Multiple Gestation Births 
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;162(6):1120-1124.e1.
To describe and compare incidence of late-onset sepsis (LOS) and demographic and clinical characteristics associated with LOS in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants from singleton and multiple births and to examine the heritability in susceptibility to LOS among VLBW twins by comparing same-sex with unlike-sex twin pairs.
Study design
We studied infants with birth weight 401–1500 grams cared for at clinical centers of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network 2002–2008. Only the first episode of LOS was examined. Stepwise logistic regression models were fitted separately for singleton and multiple pregnancies to examine the maternal and neonatal factors associated with LOS. LOS due to only gram-negative bacteria among singleton and multiple pregnancies was also examined in separate models. The heritability of LOS was estimated by examining concordance of LOS between twins from same-sex and unlike-sex pairs.
LOS occurred in 25.0% (3797/15,178) of singleton and 22.6% (1196/5294) of multiple VLBW infants. Coagulase-negative staphylococci were the most common infecting organisms, accounting for 53.2% of all LOS episodes in singletons and 49.2% in multiples. E. coli and Klebsiella species were the most commonly isolated gram-negative organisms, and Candida albicans was the most commonly isolated fungus. Concordance of LOS was not significantly different between same-sex and unlike-sex twin pairs.
LOS remains a common problem in VLBW infants. The incidence of LOS is similar for singleton and multiple infants. Similar concordance of LOS in same-sex and unlike-sex twin pairs provided no evidence that susceptibility to LOS among VLBW infants is genetically determined.
PMCID: PMC3633723  PMID: 23324523
Heredity; preterm infants; twins
6.  Infantile Hemangiomas and Retinopathy of Prematurity: Clues to the Regulation of Vasculogenesis 
European journal of pediatrics  2013;172(6):803-809.
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and infantile hemangiomas are vascular disorders that may share common mechanisms. This study examined a potential clinical association between these disorders in populations of preterm infants at two hospitals in the U.S. and Hungary. Clinically collected data from infants with gestational ages less than 32 weeks born between May 1, 2007 and December 31, 2010 seen in the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital or the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Pécs, were abstracted from electronic medical records and entered into a study database. Demographic and clinical variables were examined as potential covariates to the disorders of interest. Data were initially analyzed by center and then combined through meta-analysis. Six hundred eighty-four subjects were studied, 236 from Pécs and 448 from Iowa. There were no significant demographic differences between populations. Univariate analysis on each study population yielded covariates to ROP in each population, including infantile hemangioma, which were entered into a logistic regression model. These models were combined through random effects meta-analysis and demonstrated a significant relationship between infantile hemangioma and ROP (odds ratio=1.84, 95% confidence interval 1.08–3.12).
Infantile hemangioma and ROP co-occur in premature infant populations. Further studies are needed to investigate the pathogenesis of both disorders.
PMCID: PMC3664111  PMID: 23408311
Angiogenesis; Hemangioma; Preterm infants; Retinopathy of prematurity; Vascular endothelial growth factor; Vasculogenesis
7.  Surgery and Neurodevelopmental Outcome of Very Low Birth Weight Infants 
JAMA pediatrics  2014;168(8):746-754.
Reduced death and neurodevelopmental impairment among infants is a goal of perinatal medicine.
To assess the association between surgery during the initial hospitalization and death or neurodevelopmental impairment of very low birth weight infants.
Retrospective cohort analysis of patients enrolled in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network Generic Database from 1998–2009 and evaluated at 18–22 months’ corrected age.
22 academic neonatal intensive care units.
Inclusion criteria were: birth weight 401–1500 g; survival to 12 hours; available for follow-up. Some conditions were excluded. 12 111 infants were included in analyses, 87% of those eligible.
Surgical procedures; surgery also classified by expected anesthesia type as major (general anesthesia) or minor surgery (non-general anesthesia).
Multivariable logistic regression analyses planned a priori were performed for the primary outcome of death or neurodevelopmental impairment and for the secondary outcome of neurodevelopmental impairment among survivors. Multivariable linear regression analyses were performed as planned for the adjusted means of Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Second Edition, Mental Developmental Index and Psychomotor Developmental Index for patients born before 2006.
There were 2186 major, 784 minor and 9141 no surgery patients. The risk-adjusted odds ratio of death or neurodevelopmental impairment for all surgery patients compared with those who had no surgery was 1.29 (95% confidence interval 1.08–1.55). For patients who had major surgery compared with those who had no surgery the risk-adjusted odds ratio of death or neurodevelopmental impairment was 1.52 (95% confidence interval 1.24–1.87). Patients classified as having minor surgery had no increased adjusted risk. Among survivors who had major surgery compared with those who had no surgery the adjusted odds ratio for neurodevelopmental impairment was 1.56 (95% confidence interval 1.26–1.93) and the adjusted mean Mental Developmental Index and mean Psychomotor Developmental Index values were lower.
Major surgery in very low birth weight infants is independently associated with a greater than 50% increased risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment and of neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months’ corrected age. The role of general anesthesia is implicated but remains unproven.
PMCID: PMC4142429  PMID: 24934607
8.  Causes and Timing of Death in Extremely Premature Infants from 2000 through 2011 
The New England journal of medicine  2015;372(4):331-340.
Understanding the causes and timing of death in extremely premature infants may guide research efforts and inform the counseling of families.
We analyzed prospectively collected data on 6075 deaths among 22,248 live births, with gestational ages of 22 0/7 to 28 6/7 weeks, among infants born in study hospitals within the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network. We compared overall and cause-specific in-hospital mortality across three periods from 2000 through 2011, with adjustment for baseline differences.
The number of deaths per 1000 live births was 275 (95% confidence interval [CI], 264 to 285) from 2000 through 2003 and 285 (95% CI, 275 to 295) from 2004 through 2007; the number decreased to 258 (95% CI, 248 to 268) in the 2008–2011 period (P = 0.003 for the comparison across three periods). There were fewer pulmonary-related deaths attributed to the respiratory distress syndrome and bronchopulmonary dysplasia in 2008–2011 than in 2000–2003 and 2004–2007 (68 [95% CI, 63 to 74] vs. 83 [95% CI, 77 to 90] and 84 [95% CI, 78 to 90] per 1000 live births, respectively; P = 0.002). Similarly, in 2008–2011, as compared with 2000–2003, there were decreases in deaths attributed to immaturity (P = 0.05) and deaths complicated by infection (P = 0.04) or central nervous system injury (P<0.001); however, there were increases in deaths attributed to necrotizing enterocolitis (30 [95% CI, 27 to 34] vs. 23 [95% CI, 20 to 27], P = 0.03). Overall, 40.4% of deaths occurred within 12 hours after birth, and 17.3% occurred after 28 days.
We found that from 2000 through 2011, overall mortality declined among extremely premature infants. Deaths related to pulmonary causes, immaturity, infection, and central nervous system injury decreased, while necrotizing enterocolitis–related deaths increased. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health.)
PMCID: PMC4349362  PMID: 25607427
9.  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
10.  Acute Physiological Effects of Packed Red Blood Cell Transfusion in Preterm Infants with Different Degrees of Anemia 
The safe lower limit of hematocrit or hemoglobin that should trigger a red blood cell (RBC) transfusion has not been defined. The objective of this study was to examine the physiological effects of anemia and compare the acute responses to transfusion in preterm infants who were transfused at higher or lower hematocrit thresholds.
We studied 41 preterm infants with birth weights 500-1300 g, who were enrolled in a clinical trial comparing high (“liberal”) and low (“restrictive”) hematocrit thresholds for transfusion. Measurements were performed before and after a packed RBC transfusion of 15 ml/kg, which was administered because the infant's hematocrit had fallen below the threshold defined by study protocol. Hemoglobin, hematocrit, red blood cell count, reticulocyte count, lactic acid, and erythropoietin were measured before and after transfusion using standard methods. Cardiac output was measured by echocardiography. Oxygen consumption was determined using indirect calorimetry. Systemic oxygen transport and fractional oxygen extraction were calculated.
Systemic oxygen transport rose in both groups following transfusion. Lactic acid was lower after transfusion in both groups. Oxygen consumption did not change significantly in either group. Cardiac output and fractional oxygen extraction fell after transfusion in the low hematocrit group only.
Our results demonstrate no acute physiological benefit of transfusion in the high hematocrit group. The fall in cardiac output with transfusion in the low hematocrit group shows that these infants had increased their cardiac output to maintain adequate tissue oxygen delivery in response to anemia and, therefore, may have benefitted from transfusion.
PMCID: PMC3114194  PMID: 21097838
Neonatology; haematology; circulatory; physiology; clinical procedures
11.  Effect of Depth and Duration of Cooling on Deaths in the NICU Among Neonates With Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy 
JAMA  2014;312(24):2629-2639.
Hypothermia at 33.5°C for 72 hours for neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy reduces death or disability to 44% to 55%; longer cooling and deeper cooling are neuroprotective in animal models.
To determine if longer duration cooling (120 hours), deeper cooling (32.0°C), or both are superior to cooling at 33.5°C for 72 hours in neonates who are full-term with moderate or severe hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
Arandomized, 2 × 2 factorial design clinical trial performed in 18 US centers in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Neonatal Research Network between October 2010 and November 2013.
Neonates were assigned to 4 hypothermia groups; 33.5°C for 72 hours, 32.0°C for 72 hours, 33.5°C for 120 hours, and 32.0°C for 120 hours.
The primary outcome of death or disability at 18 to 22 months is ongoing. The independent data and safety monitoring committee paused the trial to evaluate safety (cardiac arrhythmia, persistent acidosis, major vessel thrombosis and bleeding, and death in the neonatal intensive care unit [NICU]) after the first 50 neonates were enrolled, then after every subsequent 25 neonates. The trial was closed for emerging safety profile and futility analysis after the eighth review with 364 neonates enrolled (of 726 planned). This report focuses on safety and NICU deaths by marginal comparisons of 72 hours’ vs 120 hours’ duration and 33.5°C depth vs 32.0°C depth (predefined secondary outcomes).
The NICU death rates were 7 of 95 neonates (7%) for the 33.5°C for 72 hours group, 13 of 90 neonates (14%) for the 32.0°C for 72 hours group, 15 of 96 neonates (16%) for the 33.5°C for 120 hours group, and 14 of 83 neonates (17%) for the 32.0°C for 120 hours group. The adjusted risk ratio (RR) for NICU deaths for the 120 hours group vs 72 hours group was 1.37 (95% CI, 0.92–2.04) and for the 32.0°C group vs 33.5°C group was 1.24 (95% CI, 0.69–2.25). Safety outcomes were similar between the 120 hours group vs 72 hours group and the 32.0°C group vs 33.5°C group, except major bleeding occurred among 1% in the 120 hours group vs 3% in the 72 hours group (RR, 0.25 [95% CI, 0.07–0.91]). Futility analysis determined that the probability of detecting a statistically significant benefit for longer cooling, deeper cooling, or both for NICU death was less than 2%.
Among neonates who were full-term with moderate or severe hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, longer cooling, deeper cooling, or both compared with hypothermia at 33.5°C for 72 hours did not reduce NICU death. These results have implications for patient care and design of future trials.
PMCID: PMC4335311  PMID: 25536254
12.  Possible roles of bilirubin and breast milk in protection against retinopathy of prematurity 
To explore the association of serum bilirubin level and breast milk feeding with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in preterm infants.
We conducted a case-control study to examine the independent and combined effects of serum bilirubin and breast milk feeding on ROP risk in infants <32 weeks gestation or with birth weight <1500 grams. Cases (66 infants with ROP) were matched with controls (66 infants without ROP) based on factors know to affect ROP risk.
When analyzed using the paired t test, the peak bilirubin levels were lower in ROP cases than in controls (mean 7.2 vs 7.9 mg/dl; P=0.045). Using conditional logistic regression, we found a negative association between highest serum bilirubin level and risk of ROP (OR=0.82 per 1-mg/dl change in bilirubin (P=0.06). There was no significant association between breast milk feeding and risk of ROP.
Bilirubin may help to protect preterm infants against ROP.
PMCID: PMC3033479  PMID: 20969622
bilirubin; breast milk; preterm; retinopathy of prematurity
13.  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
14.  Chorioamnionitis and Early Childhood Outcomes among Extremely Low-Gestational-Age Neonates 
JAMA pediatrics  2014;168(2):137-147.
Chorioamnionitis is strongly linked to preterm birth and to neonatal infection. The association between histological and clinical chorioamnionitis and cognitive, behavioral and neurodevelopmental outcomes among extremely preterm neonates is less clear. We evaluated the impact of chorioamnionitis on 18-22 month neurodevelopmental outcomes in a contemporary cohort of extremely preterm neonates.
To compare the neonatal and neurodevelopmental outcomes of three groups of extremely-low-gestational-age infants with increasing exposure to perinatal inflammation: no chorioamnionitis, histological chorioamnionitis alone, or histological plus clinical chorioamnionitis.
Longitudinal observational study.
Sixteen centers of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network.
2390 extremely preterm infants born <27 weeks' gestational age between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008 with placental histopathology and 18-22 months' corrected age follow-up data were eligible.
Main exposure
Main Outcome Measures
Outcomes included cerebral palsy, gross motor functional limitation, behavioral scores (according to the Brief Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment), cognitive and language scores (according to the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, 3rd-Edition) and composite measures of death/neurodevelopmental impairment. Multivariable logistic and linear regression models were developed to assess the association between chorioamnionitis and outcomes while controlling for important variables known at birth.
Neonates exposed to chorioamnionitis had a lower gestational age (GA) and had higher rates of early-onset sepsis and severe periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage as compared with unexposed neonates. In multivariable models evaluating death and neurodevelopmental outcomes, inclusion of gestational age in the model diminished the association between chorioamnionitis and adverse outcomes. Still, histological+clinical chorioamnionitis was associated with increased risk of cognitive impairment as compared with no chorioamnionitis (Adjusted OR 2.4, [1.3- 4.3] without GA; Adjusted OR 2.0, [1.1-3.6] with GA as a covariate). Histological chorioamnionitis alone was associated with lower odds of death/neurodevelopmental impairment as compared with histological+clinical chorioamnionitis (Adjusted OR 0.68, [0.52-0.89] without GA; 0.66, [0.49-0.89] with GA). Risk of behavioral problems did not differ statistically between groups.
Conclusions and Relevance
Antenatal exposure to chorioamnionitis is associated with altered odds of cognitive impairment and death/neurodevelopmental impairment in extremely preterm infants.
PMCID: PMC4219500  PMID: 24378638
chorioamnionitis; preterm; neurodevelopmental impairment; outcome
15.  Survival and Morbidity Outcomes of Very Low Birth Weight Infants with Down Syndrome 
Pediatrics  2010;126(6):1132-1140.
Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) are at increased risk of several morbidities with lifelong health consequences. Little is known about mortality or morbidity risks in early infancy among very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants with DS. Our objective was to compare survival and neonatal morbidities between VLBW infants with DS and VLBW infants with other non-DS chromosomal anomalies, other non-chromosomal birth defects, and VLBW infants without major birth defects.
Data were collected prospectively for infants weighing 401-1500 grams born and/or cared for at one of the study centers participating in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network from 1994 through 2008. Risk of death and morbidities including patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), late onset sepsis (LOS), retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), were compared between VLBW infants with DS and infants in the other groups.
Infants with DS were at increased risk of death (adjusted relative risk [RR] 2.47, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.00-3.07), PDA, NEC, LOS, and BPD relative to infants with no birth defects. Decreased risk of death (RR 0.40, 95% CI 0.31-0.52) and increased risks of NEC and LOS were observed when comparing infants with DS to infants with other non-DS chromosomal anomalies. Relative to infants with non-chromosomal birth defects, infants with DS were at increased risk of PDA and NEC.
The increased risk of morbidities among VLBW infants with DS provides useful information for counseling parents and for caretakers in anticipating the need for enhanced surveillance for prevention of these morbidities.
PMCID: PMC3059605  PMID: 21098157
neonatal mortality; neonatal morbidity; preterm infants; Down syndrome; trisomy 21
16.  Impact of Timing of Birth and Resident Duty-Hour Restrictions on Outcome of Small Preterm Infants 
Pediatrics  2010;126(2):222-231.
To examine the impact of birth at night, on the weekend, and during July or August – the first months of the academic year – and the impact of resident duty-hour restrictions on mortality and morbidity of VLBW infants.
Outcomes were analyzed for 11,137 infants with birth weight 501–1250 grams enrolled in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network registry 2001–2005. Approximately half were born before the introduction of resident duty-hour restrictions in 2003. Follow-up assessment at 18–22 months was completed for 4,508 infants. Mortality (7-day and 28-day), short-term morbidities, and neurodevelopmental outcome were examined with respect to the timing of birth: night vs day, weekend vs weekday, and July or August vs other months, and after vs before implementation of resident duty-hour restrictions.
There was no effect of hour, day, or month of birth on mortality and no impact on the risks of short-term morbidities except the risk of ROP requiring operative treatment was lower for infants born during the late night hours than during the day. There was no impact of timing of birth on neurodevelopmental outcome except the risk of hearing impairment or death was slightly lower among infants born in July or August compared with other months. The introduction of resident and fellow duty-hour restrictions had no impact on mortality or neurodevelopmental outcome. The only change in short-term morbidity after duty-hour restrictions were introduced was an increase in the risk of ROP (stage 2 or higher).
In this network of academic centers, the timing of birth and the introduction of duty-hour restrictions had little effect on the risks of mortality and morbidity of VLBW infants, suggesting that staffing patterns were adequate to provide consistent care.
PMCID: PMC2924191  PMID: 20643715
Neonatal; preterm infants; morbidity/mortality; resident education/training; workforce
17.  Outcomes of Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants with Acidosis at Birth 
To test the hypothesis that acidosis at birth is associated with the combined primary outcome of death or neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants, and to develop a predictive model of death/NDI exploring perinatal acidosis as a predictor variable.
The study population consisted of ELBW infants born between 2002-2007 at NICHD Neonatal Research Network hospitals. Infants with cord blood gas data and documentation of either mortality prior to discharge or 18-22 month neurodevelopmental outcomes were included. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to determine the contribution of perinatal acidosis, defined as a cord blood gas with a pH<7 or base excess (BE)<-12, to death/NDI in ELBW infants. In addition, a multivariable model predicting death/NDI was developed.
3979 patients were identified of whom 249 had a cord gas pH<7 or BE<-12 mEq/L. 2124 patients (53%) had the primary outcome of death/NDI. After adjustment for confounding variables, pH<7 and BE<-12 mEq/L were each significantly associated with death/NDI (OR=2.5[1.6,4.2]; and OR=1.5[1.1,2.0], respectively). However, inclusion of pH or BE did not improve the ability of the multivariable model to predict death/NDI.
Perinatal acidosis is significantly associated with death/NDI in ELBW infants. Perinatal acidosis is infrequent in ELBW infants, however, and other factors are more important in predicting death/NDI.
PMCID: PMC4274605  PMID: 24554564
Cord blood gas; Premature infant; Preterm infant; Neurodevelopmental impairment
18.  Incidence, management and outcomes of cardiovascular insufficiency in critically ill term and late preterm newborn infants 
American journal of perinatology  2014;31(11):947-956.
To characterize the incidence, management and short term outcomes of cardiovascular insufficiency (CVI) in mechanically ventilated newborns, evaluating 4 separate pre-specified definitions.
Study Design
Multicenter, prospective cohort study of infants ≥34 weeks gestational age (GA) and on mechanical ventilation during the first 72 hours. CVI was prospectively defined as either (1) mean arterial pressure (MAP)
Of 647 who met inclusion criteria, 419 (65%) met ≥1 definition of CVI. Of these, 98% received fluid boluses, 36% inotropes and 17% corticosteroids. Of treated infants, 46% did not have CVI as defined by a MAP < GA ± signs of inadequate perfusion. Inotrope therapy was associated with increased mortality (11.1% vs. 1.3%; P < 0.05).
More than half of the infants met at least one definition of CVI. However, almost half of the treated infants met none of the definitions. Inotropic therapy was associated with increased mortality. These findings can help guide the design of future studies of CVI in newborns.
PMCID: PMC4127379  PMID: 24515617
blood pressure; cardiovascular insufficiency; mechanical ventilation; inotrope; fluid bolus; glucocorticoid; outcomes; newborn
Severe intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) is an important prognostic variable in extremely preterm (EPT) infants. We examined imaging and clinical variables that predict outcomes in EPT infants with severe ICH.
Study design
Retrospective analysis of 353 EPT infants with severe ICH. Outcomes were compared by examining: i) unilateral vs. bilateral ICH; and ii) presence vs. absence of hemorrhagic parenchymal infarction (HPI). Regression analyses identified variables associated with death or neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI).
Bilateral ICH and HPI had higher rates of adverse outcomes and were independently associated with death/NDI. HPI was the most important variable for infants of lower birth weight, and bilateral ICH for larger infants. For infants surviving to 36 weeks, shunt placement was most associated with death/NDI.
Bilateral ICH and the presence of HPI in EPT infants with severe ICH are associated with death/NDI, though the importance depends on birth weight and survival to 36 weeks.
PMCID: PMC4143234  PMID: 24370654
intraventricular hemorrhage; neurodevelopmental impairment; extremely low birth weight; cranial ultrasound
Pediatrics  2013;132(1):49-61.
Birth defects (BDs) are an important cause of infant mortality and disproportionately occur among low birth weight infants. We determined the prevalence of BDs in a cohort of very low birth weight (VLBW) infants cared for at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network (NRN) centers over a 10-year period and examined the relationship between anomalies, neonatal outcomes, and surgical care.
Infant and maternal data were collected prospectively for infants weighing 401 to 1500 g at NRN sites between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2007. Poisson regression models were used to compare risk of outcomes for infants with versus without BDs while adjusting for gestational age and other characteristics.
A BD was present in 1776 (4.8%) of the 37 262 infants in our VLBW cohort. Yearly prevalence of BDs increased from 4.0% of infants born in 1998 to 5.6% in 2007, P < .001. Mean gestational age overall was 28 weeks, and mean birth weight was 1007 g. Infants with BDs were more mature but more likely to be small for gestational age compared with infants without BDs. Chromosomal and cardiovascular anomalies were most frequent with each occurring in 20% of affected infants. Mortality was higher among infants with BDs (49% vs 18%; adjusted relative risk: 3.66 [95% confidence interval: 3.41–3.92]; P < .001) and varied by diagnosis. Among those surviving >3 days, more infants with BDs underwent major surgery (48% vs 13%, P < .001).
Prevalence of BDs increased during the 10 years studied. BDs remain an important cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality among VLBW infants.
PMCID: PMC3691532  PMID: 23733791
birth defects; prematurity; Neonatal Research Network; low birth weight
To determine if extremely low birth weight infants with surgical necrotizing enterocolitis have a higher risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment and neurodevelopmental impairment among survivors (secondary outcome) at 18–22 months corrected age compared to infants with spontaneous intestinal perforation and infants without necrotizing enterocolitis or spontaneous intestinal perforation.
Study Design
Retrospective analysis of the Neonatal Research Network very low birth weight registry, evaluating extremely low birth weight infants born between 2000–2005. The study infants were designated into 3 groups: 1) Spontaneous intestinal perforation without necrotizing enterocolitis; 2) Surgical necrotizing enterocolitis (Bell's stage III); and 3) Neither spontaneous intestinal perforation nor necrotizing enterocolitis. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate the association between the clinical group and death or neurodevelopmental impairment, controlling for multiple confounding factors including center.
Infants with surgical necrotizing enterocolitis had the highest rate of death prior to hospital discharge (53.5%) and death or neurodevelopmental impairment (82.3%) compared to infants in the spontaneous intestinal perforation group (39.1% and 79.3%) and no necrotizing enterocolitis/no spontaneous intestinal perforation group (22.1% and 53.3%; p<0.001). Similar results were observed for neurodevelopmental impairment among survivors. On logistic regression analysis, both spontaneous intestinal perforation and surgical necrotizing enterocolitis were associated with increased risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment (adjusted OR 2.21, 95% CI: 1.5, 3.2 and adjusted OR 2.11, 95% CI: 1.5, 2.9 respectively) and neurodevelopmental impairment among survivors (adjusted OR 2.17, 95% CI: 1.4, 3.2 and adjusted OR 1.70, 95% CI: 1.2, 2.4 respectively).
Spontaneous intestinal perforation and surgical necrotizing enterocolitis are associated with a similar increase in the risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment and neurodevelopmental impairment among extremely low birth weight survivors at 18–22 months corrected age.
PMCID: PMC3877158  PMID: 24135709
spontaneous intestinal perforation; necrotizing enterocolitis; extremely low birth weight; neurodevelopmental impairment
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;163(1):55-60.e1-3.
To determine whether small for gestational age (SGA) infants <27 weeks gestation is associated with mortality, morbidity, growth and neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months’ corrected age (CA).
Study design
This was a retrospective cohort study from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network’s Generic Database and Follow-up Studies. Infants born at <27 weeks’ gestation from January 2006 to July 2008 were included. SGA was defined as birth weight <10th percentile for gestational age by the Olsen growth curves. Infants with birth weight ≥10th percentile for gestational age were classified as non-SGA. Maternal and infant characteristics, neonatal outcomes and neurodevelopmental data were compared between the groups. Neurodevelopmental impairment was defined as any of the following: cognitive score <70 on BSID III, moderate or severe cerebral palsy, bilateral hearing loss (+/− amplification) or blindness (vision <20/200). Logistic regression analysis evaluated the association between SGA status and death or neurodevelopmental impairment.
There were 385 SGA and 2586 non-SGA infants. Compared with the non-SGA group, mothers of SGA infants were more likely to have higher level of education, prenatal care, cesarean delivery, pregnancy-induced hypertension and antenatal corticosteroid exposure. SGA infants were more likely to have postnatal growth failure, a higher mortality and to have received prolonged mechanical ventilation and postnatal steroids. SGA status was associated with higher odds of death or neurodevelopmental impairment [OR 3.91 (95% CI: 2.91–5.25), P<0.001].
SGA status among infants <27 weeks’ gestation was associated with an increased risk for postnatal steroid use, mortality, growth failure and neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months’ CA.
PMCID: PMC3947828  PMID: 23415614
extremely preterm infants; neurodevelopmental follow-up
Pediatrics  2013;131(6):e1865-e1873.
To investigate the relationships among blood pressure (BP) values, antihypotensive therapies, and in-hospital outcomes to identify a BP threshold below which antihypotensive therapies may be beneficial.
Prospective observational study of infants 230/7 to 266/7 weeks’ gestational age. Hourly BP values and antihypotensive therapy use in the first 24 hours were recorded. Low BP was investigated by using 15 definitions. Outcomes were examined by using regression analysis controlling for gestational age, the number of low BP values, and illness severity.
Of 367 infants enrolled, 203 (55%) received at least 1 antihypotensive therapy. Treated infants were more likely to have low BP by any definition (P < .001), but for the 15 definitions of low BP investigated, therapy was not prescribed to 3% to 49% of infants with low BP and, paradoxically, was administered to 28% to 41% of infants without low BP. Treated infants were more likely than untreated infants to develop severe retinopathy of prematurity (15% vs 8%, P = .03) or severe intraventricular hemorrhage (22% vs 11%, P < .01) and less likely to survive (67% vs 78%, P = .02). However, with regression analysis, there were no significant differences between groups in survival or in-hospital morbidity rates.
Factors other than BP contributed to the decision to use antihypotensive therapies. Infant outcomes were not improved with antihypotensive therapy for any of the 15 definitions of low BP investigated.
PMCID: PMC3666108  PMID: 23650301
extremely preterm infant; antihypotensive therapy; blood pressure; hypotension
Pediatric research  2013;74(6):721-729.
Myo-inositol given to preterm infants with respiratory distress has reduced death, increased survival without bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and reduced severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in 2 randomized trials. Pharmacokinetic (PK) studies in extremely preterm infants are needed prior to efficacy trials.
Infants of 23–29 weeks gestation were randomized to a single intravenous (IV) dose of inositol at 60 or 120 mg/kg or placebo. Over 96 h, serum levels (sparse sampling population PK) and urine inositol excretion were determined. Population PK models were fit using a nonlinear mixed effects approach. Safety outcomes were recorded.
A 1-compartment model that included factors for endogenous inositol production, allometric size based on weight, gestational age (GA) strata and creatinine clearance fit the data best. The central volume of distribution was 0.5115 l/kg, the clearance 0.0679 l/kg/h, endogenous production 2.67 mg/kg/h and the half life 5.22 h when modeled without the covariates. During the first 12 h renal inositol excretion quadrupled in the 120 mg/kg group, returning to near baseline after 48 h. There was no diuretic side-effect. No significant differences in adverse events occurred between the 3 groups (p > 0.05).
A single compartment model accounting for endogenous production satisfactorily described the PK of IV inositol.
PMCID: PMC3962781  PMID: 24067395
The Journal of pediatrics  2013;162(5):942-948.e3.
To examine whether preterm very low birth weight (VLBW) infants have an increased risk of late-onset sepsis (LOS) following early-onset sepsis (EOS).
Study design
Retrospective analysis of VLBW infants (401-1500 g) born September 1998 through December 2009 who survived >72 hours and were cared for within the NICHD Neonatal Research Network. Sepsis was defined by growth of bacteria or fungi in a blood culture obtained ≤72 hr of birth (EOS) or >72 hr (LOS) and antimicrobial therapy for ≥5 days or death <5 d while receiving therapy. Regression models were used to assess risk of death or LOS by 120d and LOS by 120d among survivors to discharge or 120d, adjusting for gestational age and other covariates.
Of 34,396 infants studied 504 (1.5%) had EOS. After adjustment, risk of death or LOS by 120d did not differ overall for infants with EOS compared with those without EOS [RR:0.99 (0.89-1.09)] but was reduced in infants born at <25wk gestation [RR:0.87 (0.76-0.99), p=0.048]. Among survivors, no difference in LOS risk was found overall for infants with versus without EOS [RR:0.88 (0.75-1.02)], but LOS risk was shorter in infants with BW 401-750 g who had EOS [RR:0.80 (0.64-0.99), p=0.047].
Risk of LOS after EOS was not increased in VLBW infants. Surprisingly, risk of LOS following EOS appeared to be reduced in the smallest, most premature infants, underscoring the need for age-specific analyses of immune function.
PMCID: PMC3622770  PMID: 23295144
Very low birth weight; early-onset sepsis; late-onset sepsis

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