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1.  Cloxacillin versus vancomycin for presumed late-onset sepsis in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the impact upon outcome of coagulase negative staphylococcal bacteremia: a retrospective cohort study 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:49.
Background
Coagulase negative staphylococcus (CONS) is the main cause of late-onset sepsis in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU). Although CONS rarely causes fulminant sepsis, vancomycin is frequently used as empiric therapy. Indiscriminate use of vancomycin has been linked to the emergence of vancomycin resistant organisms. The objective of this study was to compare duration of CONS sepsis and mortality before and after implementation of a policy of selective vancomycin use and compare use of vancomycin between the 2 time periods.
Methods
A retrospective study was conducted of infants ≥4 days old, experiencing signs of sepsis with a first positive blood culture for CONS, during two 12-month periods. Late-onset sepsis was treated empirically with vancomycin and gentamicin during period 1, and cloxacillin and gentamicin during period 2. The confidence interval method was used to assess non-inferiority of the outcomes between the two study groups.
Results
There were 45 episodes of CONS sepsis during period 1 and 37 during period 2. Duration of sepsis was similar between periods (hazard ratio of 1.00, 95%CI: 0.64, 1.57). One death during period 2 was possibly related to CONS sepsis versus none in period 1. Vancomycin was used in 97.8% of episodes in period 1 versus 81.1% of episodes in period 2.
Conclusion
Although we failed to show non-inferiority of duration of sepsis in the cloxacillin and gentamicin group compared to the vancomycin and gentamicin group, duration of sepsis was clinically similar. Restricting vancomycin for confirmed cases of CONS sepsis resistant to oxacillin appears effective and safe, and significantly reduces vancomycin use in the NICU.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-49
PMCID: PMC1343548  PMID: 16375769
2.  Prevalence of overweight in children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorders: a chart review 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:48.
Background
The condition of obesity has become a significant public health problem in the United States. In children and adolescents, the prevalence of overweight has tripled in the last 20 years, with approximately 16.0% of children ages 6–19, and 10.3% of 2–5 year olds being considered overweight. Considerable research is underway to understand obesity in the general pediatric population, however little research is available on the prevalence of obesity in children with developmental disorders. The purpose of our study was to determine the prevalence of overweight among a clinical population of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Methods
Retrospective chart review of 140 charts of children ages 3–18 years seen between 1992 and 2003 at a tertiary care clinic that specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children with developmental, behavioral, and cognitive disorders. Diagnostic, medical, and demographic information was extracted from the charts. Primary diagnoses of either ADHD or ASD were recorded, as was information on race/ethnicity, age, gender, height, and weight. Information was also collected on medications that the child was taking. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from measures of height and weight recorded in the child's chart. The Center for Disease Control's BMI growth reference was used to determine an age- and gender-specific BMI z-score for the children.
Results
The prevalence of at-risk-for-overweight (BMI >85th%ile) and overweight (BMI > 95th%ile) was 29% and 17.3% respectively in children with ADHD. Although the prevalence appeared highest in the 2–5 year old group (42.9%ile), differences among age groups were not statistically significant. Prevalence did not differ between boys and girls or across age groups (all p > 0.05). For children with ASD, the overall prevalence of at-risk-for-overweight was 35.7% and prevalence of overweight was 19%.
Conclusion
When compared to an age-matched reference population (NHANES 1999–2002), our estimates indicate that children with ADHD and with ASD have a prevalence of overweight that is similar to children in the general population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-48
PMCID: PMC1352356  PMID: 16371155
3.  Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis: Results of the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program and review of the literature 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:47.
Background
Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis (SSPE) is so rare in developed countries with measles immunization programs that national active surveillance is now needed to capture sufficient number of cases for meaningful analysis of data. Through the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program (CPSP), the SSPE study was able to document a national incidence and determine the epidemiology of affected Canadian children.
Methods
Between 1997 and 2000, the CPSP surveyed monthly 1978 to 2294 Canadian pediatricians and sub-specialists for SSPE cases. The response rate varied from 82–86% over those years.
Results
Altogether, four SSPE cases were reported to the CPSP: one case before, two during and one after the study period. The incidence of SSPE in Canadian children was 0.06/million children/year. Of the four cases, diagnosed between ages four and 17 years, three children had measles infection in infancy. All children showed a progressive course of dementia, loss of motor skills and epilepsy. Two children were treated with isoprinosine and intraventricular interferon but died in less than three years from disease onset. One child did not have any treatment and died after seven years of illness. One child received intraventricular ribavirin and remains alive, but markedly impaired, nine years following diagnosis.
Conclusion
The CPSP has demonstrated that Canadian paediatricians and paediatric neurologists may encounter cases of SSPE. This report highlights the clinical course of affected Canadian children and provides a review of the disease and its management.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-47
PMCID: PMC1343569  PMID: 16356180
4.  Accuracy of clinical pallor in the diagnosis of anaemia in children: a meta-analysis 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:46.
Background
Anaemia is highly prevalent in children of developing countries. It is associated with impaired physical growth and mental development. Palmar pallor is recommended at primary level for diagnosing it, on the basis of few studies. The objective of the study was to systematically assess the accuracy of clinical signs in the diagnosis of anaemia in children.
Methods
A systematic review on the accuracy of clinical signs of anaemia in children. We performed an Internet search in various databases and an additional reference tracking. Studies had to be on performance of clinical signs in the diagnosis of anaemia, using haemoglobin as the gold standard. We calculated pooled diagnostic likelihood ratios (LR's) and odds ratios (DOR's) for each clinical sign at different haemoglobin thresholds.
Results
Eleven articles met the inclusion criteria. Most studies were performed in Africa, in children underfive. Chi-square test for proportions and Cochran Q for DOR's and for LR's showed heterogeneity. Type of observer and haemoglobin technique influenced the results. Pooling was done using the random effects model. Pooled DOR at haemoglobin <11 g/dL was 4.3 (95% CI 2.6–7.2) for palmar pallor, 3.7 (2.3–5.9) for conjunctival pallor, and 3.4 (1.8–6.3) for nailbed pallor. DOR's and LR's were slightly better for nailbed pallor at all other haemoglobin thresholds. The accuracy did not vary substantially after excluding outliers.
Conclusion
This meta-analysis did not document a highly accurate clinical sign of anaemia. In view of poor performance of clinical signs, universal iron supplementation may be an adequate control strategy in high prevalence areas. Further well-designed studies are needed in settings other than Africa. They should assess inter-observer variation, performance of combined clinical signs, phenotypic differences, and different degrees of anaemia.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-46
PMCID: PMC1325025  PMID: 16336667
5.  The impact of national and international guidelines on newborn care in the nurseries of Piedmont and Aosta Valley, Italy 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:45.
Background
Care procedures for preventing neonatal diseases are carried out according to nurseries' traditions and may be not consistent with the evidence based medicine issues.
Methods
A multi-centric survey was conducted in 2 Regions located in NW Italy (Piedmont and Aosta Valley) in order to collect information on some healthy newborn care procedures. During 2001, a questionnaire was sent to the chief pediatrician in charge to the all 33 nurseries of the region asking the methods used during 2000 as prevention of ophthalmia neonatorum, early and late hemorrhagic disease of newborn, umbilical cord care and recommendations of vitamin D administration. Thereafter, during 2004 the same questionnaire was sent to the 34 chief pediatrician of nurseries to evaluate if the procedures were changed during 2003 according to guidelines. The nurseries care for 32,516 newborns in 2000 and 37,414 in 2003.
Results
Aminoglycoside eyes drops as prevention of ophthalmia neonatorum were the first choice in both periods (23 out 33 nurseries in 2000 and 24 out 34 in 2003 p > 0.05; the corresponding figures for newborns were18,984 out 32,516 newborns vs. 28,180 out of 37,414 p < 0.05). The umbilical cord care was carried out with alcohol in 12/33 centers (13,248 newborns) and dry gauze in 3/33 centers (2,130 newborns) in 2000, the corresponding figures in 2003 were 6/34 centers (p > 0.05), (6,380 newborns, p < 0.05) and 12/34 centers (p < 0.05), (18,123 newborns, p < 0.05). The percentage of newborns receiving of i.m. vitamin K. at birth increased during the study period (15,923/32,104 in 2000 vs. 19,684/37,414 in 2003, p < 0.01), but not the number of nurseries (16 in 2000 and 17 in 2003 p > 0.05). The numbers of parents of newborns who receive the recommendations of oral vitamin K during the first months life decreased from 2000 (25,516/30,606) to 2003 (29,808/37,414, p < 0.01) as well as for Vitamin D recommendation (14,582/30,616 in 2000 vs. 11,051/37,414 in 2003, p < 0.01). Oral vitamin K during the first months of life was recommended by 25 nurseries in 2000 and 27 in 2003 (p > 0.05), the corresponding figures for Vitamin D were 15 and 14 (p > 0.05).
Conclusion
In the present study a large variability of procedures among the nurseries was observed. During the study periods, guidelines and evidence based medicine issues have only partially modified the neonatal care procedures In Piedmont and Aosta Valley nurseries. These observations suggest to implement local forum/consensus conference to standardized procedures as much as possible.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-45
PMCID: PMC1315318  PMID: 16329760
6.  How do caregivers know when to take their child for immunizations? 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:44.
Background
Childhood vaccinations help reduce and eliminate many causes of morbidity and mortality among children. The objective of this study was to compare 4:3:1:3:3 (4+ doses of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis vaccine, 3+ doses of poliovirus vaccine, 1+ doses of measles-containing vaccine, 3+ doses of Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine, and 3+ doses of hepatitis B vaccine) coverage among children whose caregivers learned by different methods when their child's most recent immunization was needed.
Methods
Between July 2001 and December 2002, a portion of households receiving the National Immunization Survey were asked how they knew when to take the child in for his/her most recent immunization. Responses were post-coded into several categories: 'Doctor/nurse reminder at previous immunization visit', 'Shot card/record', 'Reminder/recall', and 'Other'. Respondents could give more than one answer. Children who did not receive any vaccines, had ≤ 1 visits for vaccinations, or whose caregiver did not provide an answer to the question were excluded from analyses. Chi-square analyses were used to compare 4:3:1:3:3 coverage among 19–35 month old children.
Results
Children whose caregivers indicated that a doctor/nurse told them at a previous immunization visit when to return for the next immunization had significantly greater 4:3:1:3:3 coverage than those who did not choose the response (77.2% vs. 70.1%, p < 0.01). However, no significant difference in coverage was found between households that did/did not indicate that reminder/recalls (71.0% vs. 75.5%, p = 0.24) helped them remember when to take their child for their most recent immunization visit; only borderline significance was found between those that did/did not choose shot cards (70.6% vs. 76.2%, p = 0.07).
Conclusion
A doctor or nurse's reminder during an immunization visit of the next scheduled immunization visit effectively encourages caregivers to bring children in for immunizations, providing an inexpensive and easy way to effectively increase immunization coverage.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-44
PMCID: PMC1314897  PMID: 16316458
7.  Impact of the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine on immunization coverage among infants 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:43.
Background
The introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) to the U.S. recommended childhood immunization schedule in the year 2000 added three injections to the number of vaccinations a child is expected to receive during the first year of life. Surveys have suggested that the addition of PCV has led some immunization providers to move other routine childhood vaccinations to later ages, which could increase the possibility of missing these vaccines. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether introduction of PCV affected immunization coverage for recommended childhood vaccinations among 13-month olds in four large provider groups.
Methods
In this retrospective cohort study, we analyzed computerized data on vaccinations for 33,319 children in four large provider groups before and after the introduction of PCV. The primary outcome was whether the child was up to date for all non-PCV recommended vaccinations at 13 months of age. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between PCV introduction and the primary outcome. The secondary outcome was the number of days spent underimmunized by 13 months. The association between PCV introduction and the secondary outcome was evaluated using a two-part modelling approach using logistic and negative binomial regression.
Results
Overall, 93% of children were up-to-date at 13 months, and 70% received all non-PCV vaccinations without any delay. Among the entire study population, immunization coverage was maintained or slightly increased from the pre-PCV to post-PCV periods. After multivariate adjustment, children born after PCV entered routine use were less likely to be up-to-date at 13 months in one provider group (Group C: OR = 0.5; 95% CI: 0.3 – 0.8) and were less likely to have received all vaccine doses without any delay in two Groups (Group B: OR = 0.4, 95% CI: 0.3 – 0.6; Group C: OR = 0.5, 95% CI: 0.4 – 0.7). This represented 3% fewer children in Group C who were up-to-date and 14% (Group C) to 16% (Group B) fewer children who spent no time underimmunized at 13 months after PCV entered routine use compared to the pre-PCV baseline. Some disruptions in immunization delivery were also observed concurrent with temporary recommendations to suspend the birth dose of hepatitis B vaccine, preceding the introduction of PCV.
Conclusion
These findings suggest that the introduction of PCV did not harm overall immunization coverage rates in populations with good access to primary care. However, we did observe some disruptions in the timely delivery of other vaccines coincident with the introduction of PCV and the suspension of the birth dose of hepatitis B vaccine. This study highlights the need for continued vigilance in coming years as the U.S. introduces new childhood vaccines and policies that may change the timing of existing vaccines.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-43
PMCID: PMC1314888  PMID: 16313673
8.  Opportunistic screening for iron-deficiency in 6–36 month old children presenting to the paediatric emergency department 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:42.
Background
The Complete Blood Count (CBC) is a test frequently performed on children presenting to the Pediatric Emergency Department (PED), usually for the evaluation of an infectious illness. The CBC also allows for screening for Iron-deficiency Anemia. This study aims to determine the prevalence of a low Mean Cell Volume (MCV) in children having a CBC performed during a PED visit and whether physicians acted upon the abnormal value.
Methods
We present a retrospective cohort study. We reviewed the PED charts of all children 6–36 months of age who had a CBC performed during a 4-month period and the red blood cell mean cell volume was low. Our main outcome variable was whether or not the possible iron deficiency was addressed through documentation of either iron therapy or further investigation.
Results
938 children had a CBC performed during the two periods. Of these, 78 (8%) had an abnormal MCV or Hemoglobin with no previously identified explanation. Physicians documented either treatment or follow-up investigations in 27 cases (35%, 95% CI: 24–46%). Factors associated with the physician documenting either treatment or investigation plan were the following: hemoglobin level (OR 12.6; 95%CI: 4.0, 39) and age ≤ 18 months (OR 4.2; 95%CI: 1.4, 13).
Conclusion
Children who have had a CBC in the PED can be screened for iron deficiency at no additional cost. Physicians may be under-utilizing this information.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-42
PMCID: PMC1322220  PMID: 16300683
9.  Case-control study of sudden infant death syndrome in Lithuania, 1997–2000 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:41.
Background
To identify risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome relevant in Lithuania.
Methods
A nationwide case-control study surveying parents of 35 infants who died from sudden infant death syndrome during the period of 1997–2000 and parents of 145 control infants matched with SIDS infants for date of birth and for region of birth was carried out.
Results
Deaths incidence was greater in the warm period (60%) vs. cold period (40%). Prone and side sleeping positions both carried no increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome compared with supine because of a rare prone sleeping (4.1% of controls vs. 0% of dead infants) and more prevalent side than supine sleeping (84.8% of controls vs. 94.3% of dead infants) in the controls as well as the cases. Bed sharing for the whole night as a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome has not been confirmed, either, as bed sharing was common only for the controls (13.8% of controls vs. 0% of dead infants). Routine sleeping environment factors such as heavy wrapping (≥4 togs) of an infant (odds ratio 8.49; 95% confidence interval 2.38 to 30.32), sleeping in a bassinet (4.22; 1.16 to 15.38) and maternal factors such as maternal education ≤12 years (4.48; 1.34 to 14.94), unplanned pregnancy (5.22; 1.49 to 18.18) and ≥2 previous live births (3.90; 1.00 to 15.10) were significantly associated with sudden infant death syndrome on multivariate analysis.
Conclusion
The results of this first population-based case-control study have shed some light on the epidemiology of the syndrome in Lithuania. Although the mortality of sudden infant death syndrome in Lithuania is not high, it might be lowered moreover by public informing about sudden infant death syndrome and related risk factors. Special attention must be paid to mothers with low education on potentially modifiable risk factors such as routine heavy wrapping of an infant during sleep, routine sleeping in a bassinet and unplanned pregnancy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-41
PMCID: PMC1308821  PMID: 16283946
10.  Actuarial survival of a large Canadian cohort of preterm infants 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:40.
Background
The increased survival of preterm and very low birth weight infants in recent years has been well documented but continued surveillance is required in order to monitor the effects of new therapeutic interventions. Gestation and birth weight specific survival rates most accurately reflect the outcome of perinatal care. Our aims were to determine survival to discharge for a large Canadian cohort of preterm infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and to examine the effect of gender on survival and the effect of increasing postnatal age on predicted survival.
Methods
Outcomes for all 19,507 infants admitted to 17 NICUs throughout Canada between January 1996 and October 1997 were collected prospectively. Babies with congenital anomalies were excluded from the study population. Gestation and birth weight specific survival for all infants with birth weight <1,500 g (n = 3419) or gestation ≤30 weeks (n = 3119) were recorded. Actuarial survival curves were constructed to show changes in expected survival with increasing postnatal age.
Results
Survival to discharge at 24 weeks gestation was 54%, compared to 82% at 26 weeks and 95% at 30 weeks. In infants with birth weights 600–699, survival to discharge was 62%, compared to 79% at 700–799 g and 96% at 1,000–1,099 g. In infants born at 24 weeks gestational age, survival was higher in females but there were no significant gender differences above 24 weeks gestation. Actuarial analysis showed that risk of death was highest in the first 5 days. For infants born at 24 weeks gestation, estimated survival probability to 48 hours, 7 days and 4 weeks were 88 (CI 84,92)%, 70 (CI 64, 76)% and 60 (CI 53,66)% respectively. For smaller birth weights, female survival probabilities were higher than males for the first 40 days of life.
Conclusion
Actuarial analysis provides useful information when counseling parents and highlights the importance of frequently revising the prediction for long term survival particularly after the first few days of life.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-40
PMCID: PMC1315360  PMID: 16280080
11.  Massive lung collapse with partial resolution after several years: a case report 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:39.
Background
Bronchitis obliterans is a severe and extremely rare complication of respiratory tract infections in children and is characterized by massive atelectasis and collapse of the affected lung. Of the rare cases reported in the literature all surviving children underwent surgical resection of the collapsed lung.
Case presentation
We report an infant with bronchitis obliterans that was treated conservatively. 5 years after the initial event, partial lung re-expansion was documented.
Conclusion
This case therefore supports a conservative treatment whenever possible with pneumonectomy only as a last treatment option.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-39
PMCID: PMC1276800  PMID: 16242028
12.  Children in reviews: Methodological issues in child-relevant evidence syntheses 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:38.
Background
The delivery of optimal medical care to children is dependent on the availability of child relevant research. Our objectives were to: i) systematically review and describe how children are handled in reviews of drug interventions published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR); and ii) determine when effect sizes for the same drug interventions differ between children and adults.
Methods
We systematically identified all of the reviews relevant to child health in the CDSR 2002, Issue 4. Reviews were included if they investigated the efficacy or effectiveness of a drug intervention for a condition that occurs in both children and adults. Information was extracted on review characteristics including study methods, results, and conclusions.
Results
From 1496 systematic reviews, 408 (27%) were identified as relevant to both adult and child health; 52% (213) of these included data from children. No significant differences were found in effect sizes between adults and children for any of the drug interventions or conditions investigated. However, all of the comparisons lacked the power to detect a clinically significant difference and wide confidence intervals suggest important differences cannot be excluded. A large amount of data was unavailable due to inadequate reporting at the trial and systematic review level.
Conclusion
Overall, the findings of this study indicate there is a paucity of child-relevant and specific evidence generated from evidence syntheses of drug interventions. The results indicate a need for a higher standard of reporting for participant populations in studies of drug interventions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-38
PMCID: PMC1261269  PMID: 16176579
13.  Comparison of air displacement plethysmography to hydrostatic weighing for estimating total body density in children 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:37.
Background
The purpose of this study was to examine the accuracy of total body density and percent body fat (% fat) using air displacement plethysmography (ADP) and hydrostatic weighing (HW) in children.
Methods
Sixty-six male and female subjects (40 males: 12.4 ± 1.3 yrs, 47.4 ± 14.8 kg, 155.4 ± 11.9 cm, 19.3 ± 4.1 kg/m2; 26 females: 12.0 ± 1.9 yrs, 41.4 ± 7.7 kg, 152.1 ± 8.9 cm, 17.7 ± 1.7 kg/m2) were tested using ADP and HW with ADP always preceding HW. Accuracy, precision, and bias were examined in ADP with HW serving as the criterion method. Lohman's equations that are child specific for age and gender were used to convert body density to % fat. Regression analysis determined the accuracy of ADP and potential bias between ADP and HW using Bland-Altman analysis.
Results
For the entire group (Y = 0.835x + 0.171, R2 = 0.84, SEE = 0.007 g/cm3) and for the males (Y = 0.837x + 0.174, R2 = 0.90, SEE = 0.006 g/cm3) the regression between total body density by HW and by ADP significantly deviated from the line of identity. However in females, the regression between total body density by HW and ADP did not significantly deviate from the line of identity (Y = 0.750x + 0.258, R2 = 0.55, SEE = 0.008 g/cm3). The regression between % fat by HW and ADP for the group (Y = 0.84x + 3.81, R2 = 0.83, SEE = 3.35 % fat) and for the males (Y = 0.84x + 3.25, R2 = 0.90, SEE = 3.00 % fat) significantly deviated from the line of identity. However, in females the regression between % fat by HW and ADP did not significantly deviate from the line of identity (Y = 0.81x + 5.17, R2 = 0.56, SEE = 3.80 % fat). Bland-Altman analysis revealed no bias between HW total body density and ADP total body density for the entire group (R = 0.-22; P = 0.08) or for females (R = 0.02; P = 0.92), however bias existed in males (R = -0.37; P ≤ 0.05). Bland-Altman analysis revealed no bias between HW and ADP % fat for the entire group (R = 0.21; P = 0.10) or in females (R = 0.10; P = 0.57), however bias was indicated for males by a significant correlation (R = 0.36; P ≤ 0.05), with ADP underestimating % fat at lower fat values and overestimating at the higher % fat values.
Conclusion
A significant difference in total body density and % fat was observed between ADP and HW in children 10–15 years old with a potential gender difference being detected. Upon further investigation it was revealed that the study was inadequately powered, thus we recommend that larger studies that are appropriately powered be conducted to better understand this potential gender difference.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-37
PMCID: PMC1236934  PMID: 16153297
14.  Differences in tidal breathing between infants with chronic lung diseases and healthy controls 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:36.
Background
The diagnostic value of tidal breathing (TB) measurements in infants is controversially discussed. The aim of this study was to investigate to what extent the breathing pattern of sleeping infants with chronic lung diseases (CLD) differ from healthy controls with the same postconceptional age and to assess the predictive value of TB parameters.
Methods
In the age of 36–42 postconceptional weeks TB measurements were performed in 48 healthy newborns (median age and weight 7d, 3100 g) and 48 infants with CLD (80d, 2465 g)) using the deadspace-free flow-through technique. Once the infants had adapted to the mask and were sleeping quietly and breathing regularly, 20–60 breathing cycles were evaluated. Beside the shape of the tidal breathing flow-volume loop (TBFVL) 18 TB parameters were analyzed using ANOVA with Bonferroni correction. Receiver-operator characteristic (ROC) curves were calculated to investigate the discriminative ability of TB parameters.
Results
The incidence of concave expiratory limbs in CLD infants was 31% and significantly higher compared to controls (2%) (p < 0.001). Significant differences between CLD infants and controls were found in 11/18 TB parameters. The largest differences were seen in the mean (SD) inspiratory time 0.45(0.11)s vs. 0.65(0.14)s (p < 0.0001) and respiratory rate (RR) 55.4(14.2)/min vs. 39.2(8.6)/min (p < 0.0001) without statistically significant difference in the discriminative power between both time parameters. Most flow parameters were strongly correlated with RR so that there is no additional diagnostic value. No significant differences were found in the tidal volume and commonly used TB parameters describing the expiratory flow profile.
Conclusion
The breathing pattern of CLD infants differs significantly from that of healthy controls. Concave TBFVL and an increased RR measured during quiet sleep and under standardized conditions may indicate diminished respiratory functions in CLD infants whereas most of the commonly used TB parameters are poorly predictive.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-36
PMCID: PMC1215490  PMID: 16150146
15.  Equal antipyretic effectiveness of oral and rectal acetaminophen: a randomized controlled trial [ISRCTN11886401] 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:35.
Background
The antipyretic effectiveness of rectal versus oral acetaminophen is not well established. This study is designed to compare the antipyretic effectiveness of two rectal acetaminophen doses (15 mg/kg) and (35 mg/kg), to the standard oral dose of 15 mg/kg.
Methods
This is a randomized, double-dummy, double-blind study of 51 febrile children, receiving one of three regimens of a single acetaminophen dose: 15 mg/kg orally, 15 mg/kg rectally, or 35 mg/kg rectally. Rectal temperature was monitored at baseline and hourly for a total of six hours. The primary outcome of the study, time to maximum antipyresis, and the secondary outcome of time to temperature reduction by at least 1°C were analyzed by one-way ANOVA. Two-way ANOVA with repeated measures over time was used to compare the secondary outcome: change in temperature from baseline at times1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 hours among the three groups. Intent-to-treat analysis was planned.
Results
No significant differences were found among the three groups in the time to maximum antipyresis (overall mean = 3.6 hours; 95% CI: 3.2–4.0), time to fever reduction by 1°C or the mean hourly temperature from baseline to 6 hours following dose administration. Hypothermia (temperature < 36.5°C) occurred in 11(21.6%) subjects, with the highest proportion being in the rectal high-dose group.
Conclusion
Standard (15 mg/kg) oral, (15 mg/kg) rectal, and high-dose (35 mg/kg) rectal acetaminophen have similar antipyretic effectiveness.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-35
PMCID: PMC1215489  PMID: 16143048
16.  Tourette syndrome and learning disabilities 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:34.
Background
Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder of childhood. Learning disabilities are frequently comorbid with TS. Using the largest sample of TS patients ever reported, we sought to identify differences between subjects with TS only and subjects with TS and a comorbid learning disability.
Methods
We used the Tourette Syndrome International Consortium database (TIC) to compare subjects with comorbid Tourette Syndrome and learning disabilities (TS + LD) to subjects who did not have a comorbid learning disability (TS - LD). The TIC database contained 5,500 subjects. We had usable data on 5,450 subjects.
Results
We found 1,235 subjects with TS + LD. Significant differences between the TS + LD group and the TS - LD group were found for gender (.001), age onset (.030), age first seen (.001), age at diagnosis (.001), prenatal problems (.001), sibling or other family member with tics (.024), two or more affected family members (.009), and severe tics (.046). We used logistic modeling to identify the optimal prediction model of group membership. This resulted in a five variable model with the epidemiologic performance characteristics of accuracy 65.2% (model correctly classified 4,406 of 5,450 subjects), sensitivity 66.1%, and specificity 62.2%.
Conclusion
Subjects with TS have high prevalence rates of comorbid learning disabilities. We identified phenotype differences between the TS - LD group compared to TS + LD group. In the evaluation of subjects with TS, the presence of a learning disability should always be a consideration. ADHD may be an important comorbid condition in the diagnosis of LD or may also be a potential confounder. Further research on etiology, course and response to intervention for subjects with TS only and TS with learning disabilities is needed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-34
PMCID: PMC1242237  PMID: 16137334
17.  Dalhousie dyspnea scales: construct and content validity of pictorial scales for measuring dyspnea 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:33.
Background
Because there are no child-friendly, validated, self-report measures of dyspnea or breathlessness, we developed, and provided initial validation, of three, 7-item, pictorial scales depicting three sub-constructs of dyspnea: throat closing, chest tightness, and effort.
Methods
We developed the three scales (Throat closing, Chest tightness, and Effort) using focus groups with 25 children. Subsequently, seventy-nine children (29 children with asthma, 30 children with cystic fibrosis. and 20 children who were healthy) aged 6 to 18 years rated each picture in each series, using a 0–10 scale. In addition, each child placed each picture in each series on a 100-cm long Visual Analogue Scale, with the anchors "not at all" and "a lot".
Results
Children aged eight years or older rated the scales in the correct order 75% to 98% correctly, but children less than 8 years of age performed unreliably. The mean distance between each consecutive item in each pictorial scale was equal.
Conclusion
Preliminary results revealed that children aged 8 to 18 years understood and used these three scales measuring throat closing, chest tightness, and effort appropriately. The scales appear to accurately measure the construct of breathlessness, at least at an interval level. Additional research applying these scales to clinical situations is warranted.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-33
PMCID: PMC1208906  PMID: 16131402
18.  Parents' psychological adjustment in families of children with Spina Bifida: a meta-analysis 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:32.
Background
Spina Bifida (SB) is the second most common birth defect worldwide. Since the chances of survival in children with severe SB-forms have increased, medical care has shifted its emphasis from life-saving interventions to fostering the quality of life for these children and their families. Little is known, however, about the impact of SB on family adjustment. Reviewers have struggled to synthesize the few contradictory studies available. In this systematic review a new attempt was made to summarize the findings by using meta-analysis and by delimiting the scope of review to one concept of family adjustment: Parents' psychological adjustment. The questions addressed were: (a) do parents of children with SB have more psychological distress than controls? (b) do mothers and fathers differ? and (c) which factors correlate with variations in psychological adjustment?
Methods
PsycInfo, Medline, and reference lists were scanned. Thirty-three relevant studies were identified of which 15 were eligible for meta-analysis.
Results
SB had a negative medium-large effect on parents' psychological adjustment. The effect was more heterogeneous for mothers than for fathers. In the reviewed studies child factors (age, conduct problems, emotional problems, and mental retardation), parent factors (SES, hope, appraised stress, coping, and parenting competence), family factors (family income, partner relationship, and family climate), and environmental factors (social support) were found to be associated with variations in parents' psychological adjustment.
Conclusion
Meta-analysis proved to be helpful in organizing studies. Clinical implications indicate a need to be especially alert to psychological suffering in mothers of children with SB. Future research should increase sample sizes through multi-center collaborations.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-32
PMCID: PMC1215488  PMID: 16120229
19.  Acute bronchiolitis in infancy as risk factor for wheezing and reduced pulmonary function by seven years in Akershus County, Norway 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:31.
Background
Acute viral bronchiolitis is one of the most common causes of hospitalisation during infancy in our region with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) historically being the major causative agent. Many infants with early-life RSV bronchiolitis have sustained bronchial hyperreactivity for many years after hospitalisation and the reasons for this are probably multifactorial. The principal aim of the present study was to investigate if children hospitalised for any acute viral bronchiolitis during infancy in our region, and not only those due to RSV, had more episodes of subsequent wheezing up to age seven years and reduced lung function at that age compared to children not hospitalised for acute bronchiolitis during infancy. A secondary aim was to compare the hospitalised infants with proven RSV bronchiolitis (RS+) to the hospitalised infants with non-RSV bronchiolitis (RS-) according to the same endpoints.
Methods
57 infants hospitalised at least once with acute viral bronchiolitis during two consecutive winter seasons in 1993–1994 were examined at age seven years. An age-matched control group of 64 children, who had not been hospitalised for acute viral bronchiolitis during infancy, were recruited from a local primary school. Epidemiological and clinical data were collected retrospectively from hospital discharge records and through structured clinical interviews and physical examinations at the follow-up visit.
Results
The children hospitalised for bronchiolitis during infancy had decreased lung function, more often wheezing episodes, current medication and follow-up for asthma at age seven years than did the age matched controls. They also had lower average birth weight and more often first order family members with asthma. We did not find significant differences between the RSV+ and RSV- groups.
Conclusion
Children hospitalised for early-life bronchiolitis are susceptible to recurrent wheezing and reduced pulmonary function by seven years compared to age-matched children not hospitalised for early-life bronchiolitis. We propose that prolonged bronchial hyperreactivity could follow early-life RSV negative as well as RSV positive bronchiolitis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-31
PMCID: PMC1199604  PMID: 16109158
20.  A survey of transcutaneous blood gas monitoring among European neonatal intensive care units 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:30.
Background
PCO2 and PO2 are important monitoring parameters in neonatal intensive care units (NICU). Compared to conventional blood gas measurements that cause significant blood loss in preterms, transcutaneous (tc) measurements allow continuous, non-invasive monitoring of blood gas levels. The aim of the study was to survey the usage and opinions among German speaking NICUs concerning tc blood gas monitoring.
Methods
A questionnaire was developed and sent to 56 head nurses of different NICUs in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
Results
A completely answered questionnaire was obtained from 41 NICUs. In two of these units tc measurements are not performed. In most NICUs (77%), both PtcO2 and PtcCO2 are measured simultaneously. Most units change the sensors every 3 hours; however, the recommended temperature of 44°C is used in only 15% of units. In only 8% of units are arterial blood gases obtained to validate tc values. Large variations were found concerning the targeted level of oxygen saturation [median upper limit: 95% (range 80–100%); median lower limit: 86% (range 75–93%)] and PO2 [median upper limit: 70 mmHg (range 45–90 mmHg); median lower limit: 44 mmHg (range 30–60 mmHg)].
Conclusion
Our survey shows that the use of tc monitors remains widespread among German speaking NICUs, despite earlier data suggesting that their use had been abandoned in many NICUs worldwide. In addition, we suggest that the current method of monitoring oxygenation may not prevent hyperoxemia in preterm infants.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-30
PMCID: PMC1192805  PMID: 16092957
21.  Iron absorption and oxidant stress during erythropoietin therapy in very low birth weight premature infants: a cohort study 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:29.
Background
Iron supplementation may be associated with oxidative stress particularly in premature infants. Our purpose was to examine 1) early supplemental iron during treatment with erythropoietin (EPO) and oxidative stress; 2) enhanced iron absorption during EPO in those infants receiving human milk. Therefore, we determined the effect of erythropoietin plus supplemental iron intakes (4 mg/kg/d) on antioxidant status and iron incorporation.
Methods
Ten very-low-birth-weight infants who were enterally fed and receiving either human milk or formula were followed for 4 weeks during erythropoietin therapy; blood and urine were collected at 3 times; baseline, 2 and 4 weeks later. Once oral feeds commenced the study protocol was initiated. After baseline blood collection, a dose of Fe57 was administered. Two weeks later, a dose of Fe58 was administered as ferrous chloride to determine the effect of human-milk or formula on iron incorporation into RBCs.
Results
Infants started the study at 35 ± 13 days. Incorporation of isotope into RBCs did not differ between formula fed for Fe57 (mean incorporation 8 ± 2.9 n = 3) compared to human-milk fed infants (8.7 ± 5 n = 7) nor for Fe58 (6 ± 2.7 n = 3 vs. 8.6 ± 5 n = 7). Tissue damage measured by malondialdehyde in plasma and F-2 – isoprostanes in urine, did not differ by feed or over time. Neither ability to resist oxidative stress/nor RBC superoxide dismutase differed according to feed or over time.
Conclusion
Data suggest that during erythropoietin therapy antioxidant defence in VLBW infants are capable of dealing with early supplemental iron during treatment with EPO.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-29
PMCID: PMC1199603  PMID: 16080798
22.  Risk of cardio-respiratory abnormalities in preterm infants placed in car seats: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:28.
Background
Little is known about the factors that predispose to the occurrence and severity of cardio-respiratory symptoms during the placement of a prematurely born infant in a car seat. The impact of gestational age, weight at discharge and infant's pre-existing cardio-respiratory status (in the supine position) on cardio-respiratory function during pre-discharge testing in a car seat (semi-upright position) has not been investigated.
Methods
The cardio-respiratory function of 42 preterm neonates with gestational age 24 to 35 weeks and discharge weight 1790 to 2570 grams were monitored for 45 minutes before, during, and after placement in a car seat. The occurrence of periodic breathing, apnea, bradycardia, or decreased oxygen saturation (SaO2) was analyzed.
Results
Prior to the car seat testing, 15 (35.7%) infants displayed one or more abnormalities of cardio-respiratory function. During the car seat testing, 25 (59.6%) infants had periodic breathing, 33 (78.2%) had oxygen saturation <90%, 14 (33.3%) had bradycardia less than 80 beats per minute, and 35 (83.3%) had a combination of these symptoms. Infants, both with and without pre-existing cardio-respiratory abnormalities, had an almost equal probability (80% vs. 83.3%) for the development of cardio-respiratory symptoms during placement in the car seat. Weight at discharge ([less than or equal to] 2,000 grams) but not the gestational age (<28 weeks or [greater than or equal to] 28<37 weeks), was associated with either increased episodes of oxygen desaturation or the combination of cardio-respiratory symptoms that were seen during the placement of these infants in the car seat. Repositioning from the car seat to the supine position showed normalization of cardio-respiratory function in the majority (83%) of the tested infants. None of the tested clinical factors were associated with the severity of the cardio-respiratory symptoms.
Conclusion
Pre-discharge testing of the cardio-respiratory function of preterm infants during placement in a car seat is important for the prevention of cardio-respiratory symptoms during their transportation. However, the high risk for developing cardio-respiratory symptoms will require the consideration of an alternative mode of safe home transportation for preterm infants; especially those with a discharge weight less than 2,000 grams.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-28
PMCID: PMC1183222  PMID: 16042768
23.  Catch-up growth up to ten years of age in children born very preterm or with very low birth weight 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:26.
Background
Improved survival due to advances in neonatal care has brought issues such as postnatal growth and development more to the focus of our attention. Most studies report stunting in children born very preterm and/or small for gestational age. In this article we study the growth pattern of these children and aim to identify factors associated with postnatal catch-up growth.
Methods
1338 children born with a gestational age <32 weeks and/or a birth weight of <1500 grams were followed during a Dutch nationwide prospective study (POPS). Subgroups were classified as appropriate for gestational age and <32 weeks (AGA) or small for gestational age (<32 wks SGA and ≥32 wks SGA). Data were collected at different intervals from birth until 10 years for the 962 survivors and compared to reference values. The correlation between several factors and growth was analysed.
Results
At 10 years the AGA children had attained normal height, whereas the SGA group demonstrated stunting, even after correction for target height (AGA: 0.0 SDS; SGA <32 wks: -0.29SDS and ≥32 wks: -0.13SDS). Catch-up growth was especially seen in the SGA children with a fast initial weight gain. BMI was approximately 1 SD below the population reference mean.
Conclusion
At 10 years of age, children born very preterm AGA show no stunting. However, many children born SGA, especially the very preterm, show persistent stunting. Early weight gain seems an important prognostic factor in predicting childhood growth.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-26
PMCID: PMC1199602  PMID: 16033642
24.  Otitis media in young Aboriginal children from remote communities in Northern and Central Australia: a cross-sectional survey 
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:27.
Background
Middle ear disease (otitis media) is common and frequently severe in Australian Aboriginal children. There have not been any recent large-scale surveys using clear definitions and a standardised middle ear assessment. The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of middle ear disease (otitis media) in a high-risk population of young Aboriginal children from remote communities in Northern and Central Australia.
Methods
709 Aboriginal children aged 6–30 months living in 29 communities from 4 health regions participated in the study between May and November 2001. Otitis media (OM) and perforation of the tympanic membrane (TM) were diagnosed by tympanometry, pneumatic otoscopy, and video-otoscopy. We used otoscopic criteria (bulging TM or recent perforation) to diagnose acute otitis media.
Results
914 children were eligible to participate in the study and 709 were assessed (78%). Otitis media affected nearly all children (91%, 95%CI 88, 94). Overall prevalence estimates adjusted for clustering by community were: 10% (95%CI 8, 12) for unilateral otitis media with effusion (OME); 31% (95%CI 27, 34) for bilateral OME; 26% (95%CI 23, 30) for acute otitis media without perforation (AOM/woP); 7% (95%CI 4, 9) for AOM with perforation (AOM/wiP); 2% (95%CI 1, 3) for dry perforation; and 15% (95%CI 11, 19) for chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM). The perforation prevalence ranged from 0–60% between communities and from 19–33% between regions. Perforations of the tympanic membrane affected 40% of children in their first 18 months of life. These were not always persistent.
Conclusion
Overall, 1 in every 2 children examined had otoscopic signs consistent with suppurative ear disease and 1 in 4 children had a perforated tympanic membrane. Some of the children with intact tympanic membranes had experienced a perforation that healed before the survey. In this high-risk population, high rates of tympanic perforation were associated with high rates of bulging of the tympanic membrane.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-27
PMCID: PMC1187897  PMID: 16033643
25.  A population-based nested case control study on recurrent pneumonias in children with severe generalized cerebral palsy: ethical considerations of the design and representativeness of the study sample  
BMC Pediatrics  2005;5:25.
Background
In children with severe generalized cerebral palsy, pneumonias are a major health issue. Malnutrition, dysphagia, gastro-oesophageal reflux, impaired respiratory function and constipation are hypothesized risk factors. Still, no data are available on the relative contribution of these possible risk factors in the described population. This paper describes the initiation of a study in 194 children with severe generalized cerebral palsy, on the prevalence and on the impact of these hypothesized risk factors of recurrent pneumonias.
Methods/Design
A nested case-control design with 18 months follow-up was chosen. Dysphagia, respiratory function and constipation will be assessed at baseline, malnutrition and gastro-oesophageal reflux at the end of the follow-up. The study population consists of a representative population sample of children with severe generalized cerebral palsy. Inclusion was done through care-centres in a predefined geographical area and not through hospitals. All measurements will be done on-site which sets high demands on all measurements. If these demands were not met in "gold standard" methods, other methods were chosen. Although the inclusion period was prolonged, the desired sample size of 300 children was not met. With a consent rate of 33%, nearly 10% of all eligible children in the Netherlands are included (n = 194). The study population is subtly different from the non-participants with regard to severity of dysphagia and prevalence rates of pneumonias and gastro-oesophageal reflux.
Discussion
Ethical issues complicated the study design. Assessment of malnutrition and gastro-oesophageal reflux at baseline was considered unethical, since these conditions can be easily treated. Therefore, we postponed these diagnostics until the end of the follow-up. In order to include a representative sample, all eligible children in a predefined geographical area had to be contacted. To increase the consent rate, on-site measurements are of first choice, but timely inclusion is jeopardised. The initiation of this first study among children with severe neurological impairment led to specific, unexpected problems. Despite small differences between participants and non-participating children, our sample is as representative as can be expected from any population-based study and will provide important, new information to bring us further towards effective interventions to prevent pneumonias in this population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-5-25
PMCID: PMC1201147  PMID: 16029493

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