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1.  Nasal high-frequency ventilation for premature infants 
Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992)  2008;97(11):1518-1522.
To assess the use of nasal high-frequency ventilation (HFV) to provide noninvasive ventilatory support for very low birthweight (VLBW) infants.
Study Design
VLBW infants, >7 days of age on nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), were placed on nasal HFV for 2 h using the Infant Star high-frequency ventilator (Mallinckrodt, Inc., St. Louis, MO, USA). Mean airway pressure was set to equal the previous level of CPAP, and amplitude was adjusted to obtain chest wall vibration. Capillary blood was sampled before starting HFV and after 2 h to determine change in pH and partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2).
Fourteen subjects were studied, 10 males and 4 females. Gestational age was 26–30 weeks (median 27). Age at study was 18–147 days (median 30). Median birth weight was 955 g; median weight at study was 1605 g. Nasal CPAP pressure was 4–7 cm H2O (mean 5). Amplitude was 30–60 (median 50). After 2 h, PCO2 (mean 45 torr) was significantly lower than initial PCO2 (mean 50 torr) (p = 0.01), and pH had increased significantly (7.40 vs. 7.37, p = 0.04).
Nasal HFV is effective in decreasing pCO2 in stable premature infants requiring nasal CPAP support. Long-term use of nasal HFV requires further study.
PMCID: PMC3976963  PMID: 18549418
CPAP; High-frequency ventilation; Nasal ventilation; Premature infant
2.  Memory Processes in Learning Disability Subtypes of Children Born Preterm 
The purpose of this study was to evaluate immediate auditory and visual memory processes in learning disability subtypes of 40 children born preterm. Three subgroups of children were examined: (a) primary language disability group (n = 13), (b) perceptual-motor disability group (n = 14), and (c) no learning disability diagnosis group without identified language or perceptual-motor learning disability (n = 13). Between-group comparisons indicate no significant differences in immediate auditory or visual memory performances between language and perceptual-motor learning disability groups. Within-group comparisons revealed that both learning disability groups performed significantly lower on a task of immediate memory when the mode of stimulus presentation and mode of response were visual.
PMCID: PMC3968320  PMID: 22375897
3.  Outcome of Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants with Congenital Heart Defects in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD Neonatal Research Network 
Pediatric cardiology  2012;33(8):1415-1426.
Little is known about the outcomes of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) preterm infants with congenital heart defects (CHDs). The aim of this study was to assess the mortality, morbidity, and early childhood outcomes of ELBW infants with isolated CHD compared with infants with no congenital defects. Participants were 401–1,000 g infants cared for at National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network centers between January 1, 1998 and December 31, 2005. Neonatal morbidities and 18–22 months’ corrected age outcomes were assessed. Neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) was defined as moderate to severe cerebral palsy, Bayley II mental or psychomotor developmental index < 70, bilateral blindness, or hearing impairment requiring aids. Poisson regression models were used to estimate relative risks for outcomes while adjusting for gestational age, small for gestational-age status, and other variables. Of 14,457 ELBW infants, 110 (0.8 %) had isolated CHD, and 13,887 (96 %) had no major birth defect. The most common CHD were septal defects, tetralogy of Fallot, pulmonary valve stenosis, and coarctation of the aorta. Infants with CHD experienced increased mortality (48 % compared with 35 % for infants with no birth defect) and poorer growth. Surprisingly, the adjusted risks of other short-term neonatal morbidities associated with prematurity were not significantly different. Fifty-seven (52 %) infants with CHD survived to 18–22 months’ corrected age, and 49 (86 %) infants completed follow-up. A higher proportion of surviving infants with CHD were impaired compared with those without birth defects (57 vs. 38 %, p = 0.004). Risk of death or NDI was greater for ELBW infants with CHD, although 20% of infants survived without NDI.
PMCID: PMC3687358  PMID: 22644414
heart defects; congenital; follow-up studies
4.  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
5.  Spontaneous Intestinal Perforation in Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants: Association with Indometacin Therapy and Effects on Neurodevelopmental Outcomes at 18-22 months Corrected Age 
Spontaneous intestinal perforation (SIP) is associated with the use of postnatal glucocorticoids and indometacin in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants. We hypothesized: 1) an association of SIP with the use of antenatal steroids (ANS) and indometacin either as prophylaxis for IVH (P Indo) or for treatment of PDA (Indo/PDA) and 2) an increased risk of death or abnormal neurodevelopmental outcomes in infants with SIP at 18-22 months corrected age.
We retrospectively identified ELBW infants with SIP in the Neonatal Research Network’s generic database. Unadjusted analysis identified the differences in maternal, neonatal and clinical variables between infants with and without SIP. Logistic regression analysis identified the adjusted odds ratio for SIP with reference to ANS, P Indo and Indo/PDA. Neurodevelopmental outcomes were assessed among survivors at 18 to 22 months corrected age.
Indo/PDA was associated with an increased risk of SIP (adjusted OR 1.61; 95% CI 1.25,2.08), while P Indo and ANS were not. SIP was independently associated with an increased risk of death or NDI (adjusted OR−1.85; 95% CI 1.32,2.60) and NDI among survivors (adjusted OR−1.75, 95% CI 1.20,2.55).
Indometacin used for IVH prophylaxis and ANS were not associated with the occurrence of SIP in ELBW infants. Indometacin used for treatment of symptomatic PDA was however associated with an increased risk of SIP. ELBW infants with SIP have an increased risk of poor neurodevelopmental outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3753803  PMID: 22684157
extremely low birth weight infant; intestinal perforation; indometacin; cerebral palsy
6.  Risk Factors for Post-NICU Discharge Mortality Among Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants 
The Journal of Pediatrics  2012;161(1):70-74.e2.
To evaluate maternal and neonatal risk factors associated with post-neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) discharge mortality among ELBW infants.
Study design
This is a retrospective analysis of extremely low birth weight (<1,000 g) and <27 weeks' gestational age infants born in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Neonatal Research Network sites from January 2000 to June 2007. Infants were tracked until death or 18–22 months corrected age. Infants who died between NICU discharge and the 18–22 month follow-up visit were classified as post-NICU discharge mortality. Association of maternal and infant risk factors with post-NICU discharge mortality was determined using logistic regression analysis. A prediction model with six significant predictors was developed and validated.
5,364 infants survived to NICU discharge. 557 (10%) infants were lost to follow-up, and 107 infants died following NICU discharge. Post-NICU discharge mortality rate was 22.3 per 1000 ELBW infants. In the prediction model, African-American race, unknown maternal health insurance, and hospital stay ≥120 days significantly increased risk, and maternal exposure to intra-partum antibiotics was associated with decreased risk of post-NICU discharge mortality.
We identified African-American race, unknown medical insurance and prolonged NICU stay as risk factors associated with post-NICU discharge mortality among ELBW infants.
PMCID: PMC3366175  PMID: 22325187
extremely preterm infants; discharge; mortality; predictive model
7.  Outcomes of Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants with Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia: Impact of the Physiologic Definition 
Early human development  2012;88(7):509-515.
We compared neurodevelopmental outcomes of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants with and without bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), using the physiologic definition.
Study Design
ELBW (birth weights <1000 grams) infants admitted to the Neonatal Research Network centers and hospitalized at 36 weeks postmenstrual age (n=1,189) were classified using the physiologic definition of BPD. Infants underwent Bayley III assessment at 18-22 months corrected age. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the association between physiologic BPD and cognitive impairment (score < 70).
BPD by the physiologic definition was diagnosed in 603 (52%) infants, 537 of whom were mechanically ventilated or on FiO2 > 30% and 66 who failed the room air challenge. Infants on room air (n=505) and those who passed the room air challenge (n=51) were classified as “no BPD” (n=556). At follow up, infants with BPD had significantly lower mean weight and head circumference. Moderate to severe cerebral palsy (7 vs. 2.1%) and spastic diplegia (7.8 vs. 4.1%) and quadriplegia (3.9 vs. 0.9%) phenotypes as well as cognitive (12.8 vs. 4.6%) and language scores < 70 (24.2 vs. 12.3%) were significantly more frequent in those with BPD compared to those without BPD. BPD was independently associated (adjusted OR 2.4; 95% CI 1.40-4.13) with cognitive impairment.
Rates of adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in early childhood were significantly higher in those with BPD. BPD by the physiologic definition was independently associated with cognitive impairment using Bayley Scales III. These findings have implications for targeted post-discharge surveillance and early intervention.
PMCID: PMC3686277  PMID: 22236557
Outcome; preterm; bronchopulmonary dysplasia; physiologic definition
8.  Approach to Infants Born at 22 to 24 Weeks’ Gestation: Relationship to Outcomes of More-Mature Infants 
Pediatrics  2012;129(6):e1508-e1516.
We sought to determine if a center’s approach to care of premature infants at the youngest gestational ages (22–24 weeks’ gestation) is associated with clinical outcomes among infants of older gestational ages (25–27 weeks’ gestation).
Inborn infants of 401 to 1000 g birth weight and 22 0/7 to 27 6/7 weeks’ gestation at birth from 2002 to 2008 were enrolled into a prospectively collected database at 20 centers participating in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network. Markers of an aggressive approach to care for 22- to 24-week infants included use of antenatal corticosteroids, cesarean delivery, and resuscitation. The primary outcome was death before postnatal day 120 for infants of 25 to 27 weeks’ gestation. Secondary outcomes were the combined outcomes of death or a number of morbidities associated with prematurity.
Our study included 3631 infants 22 to 24 weeks’ gestation and 5227 infants 25 to 27 weeks’ gestation. Among the 22- to 24-week infants, use of antenatal corticosteroids ranged from 28% to 100%, cesarean delivery from 13% to 65%, and resuscitation from 30% to 100% by center. Centers with higher rates of antenatal corticosteroid use in 22- to 24-week infants had reduced rates of death, death or retinopathy of prematurity, death or late-onset sepsis, death or necrotizing enterocolitis, and death or neurodevelopmental impairment in 25- to 27-week infants.
This study suggests that physicians’ willingness to provide care to extremely low gestation infants as measured by frequency of use of antenatal corticosteroids is associated with improved outcomes for more-mature infants.
PMCID: PMC3362905  PMID: 22641761
low-birth weight infant; NICUs; treatment; patient outcome assessment
9.  Long-term Outcome of Brain Structure in Premature Infants 
To assess the long-term outcome of brain structure in preterm infants, at an average age of 12 years, who received a red blood cell transfusion for anemia of prematurity.
As neonates, this cohort of infants participated in a clinical trial in which they received red blood cell transfusions based on a high pretransfusion hematocrit threshold (liberal group) or a low hematocrit threshold (restricted group). These 2 preterm groups were compared with a group of full-term healthy control children.
Tertiary care hospital.
Magnetic resonance imaging scans for 44 of the original 100 subjects were obtained.
Liberal vs restricted transfusion.
Main Outcome Measures
Intracranial volume, total brain tissue, total cerebrospinal fluid, cerebral cortex and cerebral white matter volume, subcortical nuclei volume, and cerebellum volume.
Intracranial volume was substantially smaller in the liberal group compared with controls. Intracranial volume in the restricted group was not different from controls. Whole-cortex volume was not different in either preterm group compared with controls. Cerebral white matter was substantially reduced in both preterm groups, more so for the liberal group. The subcortical nuclei were substantially decreased in volume, equally so for both preterm groups compared with controls. When sex effects were evaluated, the girls in the liberal group had the most significant abnormalities.
Red blood cell transfusions affected the long-term outcome of premature infants as indicated by reduced brain volumes at 12 years of age for neonates who received transfusions using liberal guidelines.
PMCID: PMC3622941  PMID: 21199970
10.  Methicillin-Resistant and Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia and Meningitis in Preterm Infants 
Pediatrics  2012;129(4):e914-e922.
Data are limited on the impact of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on morbidity and mortality among very low birth weight (VLBW) infants with S aureus (SA) bacteremia and/or meningitis (B/M).
Neonatal data for VLBW infants (birth weight 401–1500 g) born January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2008, who received care at centers of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network were collected prospectively. Early-onset (≤72 hours after birth) and late-onset (>72 hours) infections were defined by blood or cerebrospinal fluid cultures and antibiotic treatment of ≥5 days (or death <5 days with intent to treat). Outcomes were compared for infants with MRSA versus methicillin-susceptible S aureus (MSSA) B/M.
Of 8444 infants who survived >3 days, 316 (3.7%) had SA B/M. Eighty-eight had MRSA (1% of all infants, 28% of infants with SA); 228 had MSSA (2.7% of all infants, 72% of infants with SA). No infant had both MRSA and MSSA B/M. Ninety-nine percent of MRSA infections were late-onset. The percent of infants with MRSA varied by center (P < .001) with 9 of 20 centers reporting no cases. Need for mechanical ventilation, diagnosis of respiratory distress syndrome, necrotizing enterocolitis, and other morbidities did not differ between infants with MRSA and MSSA. Mortality was high with both MRSA (23 of 88, 26%) and MSSA (55 of 228, 24%).
Few VLBW infants had SA B/M. The 1% with MRSA had morbidity and mortality rates similar to infants with MSSA. Practices should provide equal focus on prevention and management of both MRSA and MSSA infections among VLBW infants.
PMCID: PMC3313632  PMID: 22412036
Staphylococcus aureus; methicillin resistant; infant; newborn
11.  International Survey of Transfusion Practices for Extremely Premature Infants 
Seminars in perinatology  2012;36(4):244-247.
Our objective was to survey neonatologists regarding international practice of red cell transfusion thresholds for premature infants with <1000-g birth weight and/or <28-week gestation. An invitation to fill out an 11-question web-based survey was distributed to neonatologists through their professional societies in 22 countries. Physicians were asked about which specific factors, in addition to hemoglobin levels, influenced their decisions about transfusing premature infants. These factors included gestational age, postnatal age, oxygen need, respiratory support, reticulocyte count, and inotropic support. Physicians were presented with 5 scenarios and asked to identify hemoglobin cutoff values for transfusing infants with <1000-g birth weight and/or <28-week gestation. One thousand eighteen neonatologists responded: the majority were from the United States (67.5%), followed by Germany (10.7%), Japan (8.0%), the United Kingdom (4.9%), Spain (3.9%), Italy (2.6%), Colombia (0.6%), Argentina (0.4%), Canada (0.4%), Belgium (0.1%), and the Netherlands (0.1%). Half of the respondents (51.1%) reported having a written policy with specific red cell transfusion guidelines in their unit. Factors considered “very important” regarding the need to administer blood transfusions included degree of oxygen requirement (44.7%) and need for respiratory support (44.1%). Erythropoietin was routinely used to treat anemia by 26.0% of respondents. Delayed cord clamping or cord milking was practiced by 29.1% of respondents. The main finding was of a wide variation in the hemoglobin values used to transfuse infants, regardless of postnatal age. Step-wise increments in the median hemoglobin cutoffs directly paralleled an increase in the need for levels of respiratory support. In the first week of life, there was a wider range in the distribution of hemoglobin transfusion thresholds for infants requiring no respiratory support and full mechanical ventilation compared with the thresholds used in the second, third, and fourth weeks of life. An international survey using hypothetical scenarios shows that red blood cell transfusion practices vary widely among practicing neonatologists in participating countries.
PMCID: PMC3579510  PMID: 22818544
infant; extremely premature infant; extremely low birth weight; red blood cell transfusion; erythrocyte transfusion; international practices
12.  Association of antenatal corticosteroids with mortality and neurodevelopmental outcomes among infants born at 22–25 weeks gestation 
Current guidelines, initially published in 1995, recommend antenatal corticosteroids for mothers with preterm labor from 24–34 weeks gestational age, but not before 24 weeks because of lack of data. However, many infants born before 24 weeks are provided intensive care now.
To determine if antenatal corticosteroids are associated with improvement in major outcomes in infants born at 22 and 23 weeks.
Design, Setting, Participants
Data for this cohort study were collected prospectively on 401–1000 gram inborn infants (N=10,541) of 22–25 weeks gestation born between 1993–2009 at 23 academic perinatal centers in the United States. Certified examiners unaware of exposure to antenatal corticosteroids performed follow-up examinations on 4,924 (86.5%) of the infants born in 1993–2008 who survived to 18–22 months. Logistic regression models generated adjusted odds ratios, controlling for maternal and neonatal variables.
Main Outcome Measures
Mortality and neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months corrected age
Death or neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months was lower for infants whose mothers received antenatal corticosteroids born at 23 weeks (antenatal corticosteroids, 83.4% vs no antenatal corticosteroids, 90.5%; adjusted odds ratio 0.58; 95% CI, 0.42–0.80), at 24 weeks (antenatal corticosteroids, 68.4% vs no antenatal corticosteroids, 80.3%; adjusted odds ratio 0.62; 95% CI, 0.49–0.78), and at 25 weeks (antenatal corticosteroids, 52.7% vs no antenatal corticosteroids, 67.9%; adjusted odds ratio 0.61; 95% CI, 0.50–0.74) but not at 22 weeks (antenatal corticosteroids, 90.2% vs no antenatal corticosteroids, 93.1%; adjusted odds ratio 0.80; 95% CI, 0.29–12.21). Death by 18–22 months, hospital death, death/intraventricular hemorrhage/periventricular leukomalacia, and death/necrotizing enterocolitis were significantly lower for infants born at 23, 24, and 25 weeks gestational age if the mothers had received antenatal corticosteroids but the only outcome significantly lower at 22 weeks was death/necrotizing enterocolitis (antenatal corticosteroids, 73.5% vs no antenatal corticosteroids, 84.5%; adjusted odds ratio 0.54; 95% CI, 0.30–0.97).
Among infants born at 23–25 weeks gestation, use of antenatal corticosteroids compared to non-use was associated with a lower rate of death or neurodevelopmental impairment at 18–22 months.
PMCID: PMC3565238  PMID: 22147379
prematurity; infant mortality; neonatal intensive care; neurodevelopmental impairment; lung maturation; limits of viability
13.  Bloodstream infections in very low birth weight infants with intestinal failure 
The Journal of pediatrics  2011;160(1):54-9.e2.
To examine pathogens and other characteristics associated with late-onset bloodstream infections (BSI) in infants with intestinal failure (IF) as a consequence of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
Study design
Infants 401–1500 grams at birth who survived >72 hours and received care at NICHD Neonatal Research Network centers were studied. Frequency of culture positive BSI and pathogens were compared for infants with medical NEC, NEC managed surgically without IF, and surgical IF. Among infants with IF, duration of parenteral nutrition (PN) and other outcomes were evaluated.
932 infants were studied (IF, n=78; surgical NEC without IF, n=452; medical NEC, n=402). The proportion with BSI after NEC diagnosis was higher in infants with IF than with surgical NEC (p=0.007) or medical NEC (p<0.001). Gram positive pathogens were most frequent. Among infants with IF, increased number of infections was associated with longer hospitalization and duration on PN (0, 1, ≥2 infections; median stay (days): 172, 188, 260, p=0.06; median days on PN: 90, 112, 115, p=0.003), and the proportion who achieved full feeds during hospitalization decreased (87%, 67%, 50%, p=0.03).
Recurrent BSIs are common in VLBW infants with IF. Gram positive bacteria were most commonly identified in these infants.
PMCID: PMC3419271  PMID: 21840538
Short bowel syndrome; Bloodstream infections; Late onset sepsis; Very low birth weight; Nutrition; Intestinal failure
14.  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
15.  Neurocognitive Profiles of Preterm Infants Randomly Assigned to Lower or Higher Hematocrit Thresholds for Transfusion 
Preterm infants are frequently transfused with red blood cells based on standardized guidelines or clinical concern that anemia taxes infants’ physiological compensatory mechanisms and thereby threatens their health and well-being. The impact of various transfusion guidelines on long-term neurocognitive outcome is not known. The purpose of this study is to evaluate long-term neurocognitive outcome on children born prematurely and treated at birth with different transfusion guidelines.
Neurocognitive outcomes were examined at school age for 56 preterm infants randomly assigned to a liberal (n = 33) or restrictive (n = 23) transfusion strategy. Tests of intelligence, achievement, language, visual-spatial/motor, and memory skills were administered. Between-group differences were assessed.
Those in the liberal transfusion group performed more poorly than those in the restrictive group on measures of associative verbal fluency, visual memory, and reading.
Findings highlight possible long-term neurodevelopmental consequences of maintaining higher hematocrit levels.
PMCID: PMC3115491  PMID: 21360360
Preterm; Neuropsychology; Red Blood Cell Transfusion; Hematocrit; Longitudinal
16.  Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Triplets or Higher-Order Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants 
Pediatrics  2011;127(3):e654-e660.
Extremely low birth weight twins have a higher rate of death or neurodevelopmental impairment than singletons. Higher-order extremely low birth weight multiple births may have an even higher rate of death or neurodevelopmental impairment.
Extremely low birth weight (birth weight 401–1000 g) multiple births born in participating centers of the Neonatal Research Network between 1996 and 2005 were assessed for death or neurodevelopmental impairment at 18 to 22 months' corrected age. Neurodevelopmental impairment was defined by the presence of 1 or more of the following: moderate to severe cerebral palsy; mental developmental index score or psychomotor developmental index score less than 70; severe bilateral deafness; or blindness. Infants who died within 12 hours of birth were excluded. Maternal and infant demographic and clinical variables were compared among singleton, twin, and triplet or higher-order infants. Logistic regression analysis was performed to establish the association between singletons, twins, and triplet or higher-order multiples and death or neurodevelopmental impairment, controlling for confounding variables that may affect death or neurodevelopmental impairment.
Our cohort consisted of 8296 singleton, 2164 twin, and 521 triplet or higher-order infants. The risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment was increased in triplets or higher-order multiples when compared with singletons (adjusted odds ratio: 1.7 [95% confidence interval: 1.29–2.24]), and there was a trend toward an increased risk when compared with twins (adjusted odds ratio: 1.27 [95% confidence: 0.95–1.71]).
Triplet or higher-order births are associated with an increased risk of death or neurodevelopmental impairment at 18 to 22 months' corrected age when compared with extremely low birth weight singleton infants, and there was a trend toward an increased risk when compared with twins.
PMCID: PMC3304548  PMID: 21357334
extremely low birth weight; triplets; neurodevelopmental outcomes
17.  Early-Childhood Neurodevelopmental Outcomes Are Not Improving for Infants Born at <25 Weeks' Gestational Age 
Pediatrics  2011;127(1):62-70.
We compared neurodevelopmental outcomes at 18 to 22 months' corrected age of infants born with extremely low birth weight at an estimated gestational age of <25 weeks during 2 periods: 1999–2001 (epoch 1) and 2002–2004 (epoch 2).
We conducted a multicenter, retrospective analysis of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network. Perinatal and neonatal variables and outcomes were compared between epochs. Neurodevelopmental outcomes at 18 to 22 months' corrected age were evaluated with neurologic exams and Bayley Scales of Infant Development II. Logistic regression analyses determined the independent risk of epoch for adverse outcomes.
Infant survival was similar between epochs (epoch 1, 35.4%, vs epoch 2, 32.3%; P = .09). A total of 411 of 452 surviving infants in epoch 1 and 405 of 438 surviving infants in epoch 2 were evaluated at 18 to 22 months' corrected age. Cesarean delivery (P = .03), surgery for patent ductus arteriosus (P = .004), and late sepsis (P = .01) were more common in epoch 2, but postnatal steroid use was dramatically reduced (63.5% vs 32.8%; P < .0001). Adverse outcomes at 18 to 22 months' corrected age were common in both epochs. Moderate-to-severe cerebral palsy was diagnosed in 11.1% of surviving infants in epoch 1 and 14.9% in epoch 2 (adjusted odds ratio [OR]: 1.52 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.86–2.71]; P = .15), the Mental Developmental Index was <70 in 44.9% in epoch 1 and 51% in epoch 2 (OR: 1.30 [95% CI: 0.91–1.87]; P = .15), and neurodevelopmental impairment was diagnosed in 50.1% of surviving infants in epoch 1 and 58.7% in epoch 2 (OR: 1.4 [95% CI: 0.98–2.04]; P = .07).
Early-childhood outcomes for infants born at <25 weeks' estimated gestational age were unchanged between the 2 periods.
PMCID: PMC3375467  PMID: 21187312
extremely preterm; neurodevelopmental; outcome; cerebral palsy; Bayley Scales of Infant Development II
18.  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
19.  Seizures in Extremely Low Birth Weight Infants Are Associated with Adverse Outcome 
The Journal of pediatrics  2010;157(5):720-725.e2.
To examine risk factors for neonatal clinical seizures and to determine the independent association with death or neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants.
Study design
A total of 6499 ELBW infants (401–1000 g) surviving to 36 weeks postmenstrual age (PMA) were included in this retrospective study. Unadjusted comparisons were performed between infants with (n=414) and without (n=6085) clinical seizures during the initial hospitalization. Multivariate logistic regression modeling examined the independent association of seizures with late death (after 36 weeks PMA) or NDI after controlling for multiple demographic, perinatal, and neonatal variables.
Infants with clinical seizures had a greater proportion of neonatal morbidities associated with poor outcome, including severe intraventricular hemorrhage, sepsis, meningitis, and cystic periventricular leukomalacia (all P < .01). Survivors were more likely to have NDI or moderate-severe cerebral palsy at 18 to 22 months corrected age (both P < .01). After adjusting for multiple confounders, clinical seizures remained significantly associated with late death or NDI (odds ratio 3.15 [95% confidence interval 2.37–4.19]).
ELBW infants with clinical seizures are at increased risk for adverse neurodevelopmental outcome, independent of multiple confounding factors.
PMCID: PMC2939969  PMID: 20542294
preterm; neurodevelopmental impairment; electroencephalography
20.  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
21.  Neonatal Outcomes of Extremely Preterm Infants From the NICHD Neonatal Research Network 
Pediatrics  2010;126(3):443-456.
This report presents data from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network on care of and morbidity and mortality rates for very low birth weight infants, according to gestational age (GA).
Perinatal/neonatal data were collected for 9575 infants of extremely low GA (22–28 weeks) and very low birth weight (401–1500 g) who were born at network centers between January 1, 2003, and December 31, 2007.
Rates of survival to discharge increased with increasing GA (6% at 22 weeks and 92% at 28 weeks); 1060 infants died at ≤ 12 hours, with most early deaths occurring at 22 and 23 weeks (85% and 43%, respectively). Rates of prenatal steroid use (13% and 53%, respectively), cesarean section (7% and 24%, respectively), and delivery room intubation (19% and 68%, respectively) increased markedly between 22 and 23 weeks. Infants at the lowest GAs were at greatest risk for morbidities. Overall, 93% had respiratory distress syndrome, 46% patent ductus arteriosus, 16% severe intraventricular hemorrhage, 11% necrotizing enterocolitis, and 36% late-onset sepsis. The new severity-based definition of bronchopulmonary dysplasia classified more infants as having bronchopulmonary dysplasia than did the traditional definition of supplemental oxygen use at 36 weeks (68%, compared with 42%). More than one-half of infants with extremely low GAs had undetermined retinopathy status at the time of discharge. Center differences in management and outcomes were identified.
Although the majority of infants with GAs of ≥24 weeks survive, high rates of morbidity among survivors continue to be observed.
PMCID: PMC2982806  PMID: 20732945
extremely low gestation; very low birth weight; morbidity; death
22.  Role of Polymorphic Variants as Genetic Modulators of Infection in Neonatal Sepsis 
Pediatric research  2010;68(4):323-329.
This study is a retrospective, case-control study involving 535 preterm infants examining the roles of sequence polymorphisms in genes that mediate host immune responses to bacterial infection in newborn infants. A total of 49 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 19 candidate genes including inflammatory cytokines (IL6, IL10, IL1B, TNF), cytokine receptors (IL1RN), toll-like receptors (TLR2, TLR4, TLR5) and cell surface receptors (CD14) were genotyped. Subjects were stratified into 3 groups (sepsis, suspected sepsis, control). The data were analyzed using a family-based transmission disequilibrium test. We found that birth weight, gestational age, duration of rupture of membranes, and presence of clinical chorioamnionitis were strongly associated with sepsis. Polymorphisms in TLR2 (rs3804099), TLR5 (rs5744105), IL10 (rs1800896), and PLA2G2A (rs1891320) genes were associated with sepsis. Allelic variants in PLA2G2A and TLR2 were associated with Gram-positive infections, while IL10 was associated with Gram-negative infections (p< 0.05). We conclude allelic variations in PLA2G2A, TLR2, TLR5, and IL10 may moderate the predisposition to sepsis in preterm infants.
PMCID: PMC2940937  PMID: 20463618
23.  A randomized clinical trial comparing immediate versus delayed clamping of the umbilical cord in preterm infants: short-term clinical and laboratory endpoints 
Transfusion  2008;48(4):658-665.
Most neonates less than 1.0 kg birth weight need red blood cell (RBC) transfusions. Delayed clamping of the umbilical cord 1 minute after delivery transfuses the neonate with autologous placental blood to expand blood volume and provide 60 percent more RBCs than after immediate clamping. This study compared hematologic and clinical effects of delayed versus immediate cord clamping.
Study Design and Methods
After parental consent, neonates not more than 36 weeks' gestation were randomly assigned to cord clamping immediately or at 1 minute after delivery. The primary endpoint was an increase in RBC volume/mass, per biotin labeling, after delayed clamping. Secondary endpoints were multiple clinical and laboratory comparisons over the first 28 days including Score for Neonatal Acute Physiology (SNAP).
Problems with delayed clamping techniques prevented study of neonates of less than 30 weeks' gestation, and 105 neonates 30 to 36 weeks are reported. Circulating RBC volume/mass increased (p = 0.04) and weekly hematocrit (Hct) values were higher (p < 0.005) after delayed clamping. Higher Hct values did not lead to fewer RBC transfusions (p ≥ 0.70). Apgar scores after birth and daily SNAP scores were not significantly different (p ≥ 0.22). Requirements for mechanical ventilation with oxygen were similar. More (p = 0.03) neonates needed phototherapy after delayed clamping, but initial bilirubin levels and extent of phototherapy did not differ.
Although a 1-minute delay in cord clamping significantly increased RBC volume/mass and Hct, clinical benefits were modest. Clinically significant adverse effects were not detected. Consider a 1-minute delay in cord clamping to increase RBC volume/mass and RBC iron, for neonates 30 to 36 weeks' gestation, who do not need immediate resuscitation.
PMCID: PMC2883857  PMID: 18194383
24.  Randomized Trial of Liberal Versus Restrictive Guidelines for Red Blood Cell Transfusion in Preterm Infants 
Pediatrics  2005;115(6):1685-1691.
Although many centers have introduced more restrictive transfusion policies for preterm infants in recent years, the benefits and adverse consequences of allowing lower hematocrit levels have not been systematically evaluated. The objective of this study was to determine if restrictive guidelines for red blood cell (RBC) transfusions for preterm infants can reduce the number of transfusions without adverse consequences.
Design, Setting, and Patients
We enrolled 100 hospitalized preterm infants with birth weights of 500 to 1300 g into a randomized clinical trial comparing 2 levels of hematocrit threshold for RBC transfusion.
The infants were assigned randomly to either the liberal- or the restrictive-transfusion group. For each group, transfusions were given only when the hematocrit level fell below the assigned value. In each group, the transfusion threshold levels decreased with improving clinical status.
Main Outcome Measures
We recorded the number of transfusions, the number of donor exposures, and various clinical and physiologic outcomes.
Infants in the liberal-transfusion group received more RBC transfusions (5.2 ± 4.5 [mean ± SD] vs 3.3 ± 2.9 in the restrictive-transfusion group). However, the number of donors to whom the infants were exposed was not significantly different (2.8 ± 2.5 vs 2.2 ± 2.0).
There was no difference between the groups in the percentage of infants who avoided transfusions altogether (12% in the liberal-transfusion group versus 10% in the restrictive-transfusion group). Infants in the restrictive-transfusion group were more likely to have intraparenchymal brain hemorrhage or periventricular leukomalacia, and they had more frequent episodes of apnea, including both mild and severe episodes.
Although both transfusion programs were well tolerated, our finding of more frequent major adverse neurologic events in the restrictive RBC-transfusion group suggests that the practice of restrictive transfusions may be harmful to preterm infants.
PMCID: PMC2866196  PMID: 15930233
25.  Periventricular Leukomalacia and Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure: A Case Report 
American journal of perinatology  2007;24(2):123-126.
Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) is a complication of prematurity that carries a high risk of long-term neurologic morbidity. We report the first case, to our knowledge, of unexpected PVL associated with in utero methamphetamine exposure in a 30-week gestation premature infant with a benign hospital course, who subsequently developed cerebral palsy by 24 months of life.
PMCID: PMC2754823  PMID: 17304420
Periventricular leukomalacia; methamphetamine; prematurity; cerebral palsy; prenatal drug abuse

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