Topical corticosteroids are often used to treat atopic dermatitis (AD) in infants, although compliance is poor due to concerns over side effects. Pimecrolimus was shown to be a safe and effective noncorticosteroid treatment of AD in infants in short-term studies.
The Petite Study shows that long-term management of mild-to-moderate AD in infants with pimecrolimus or topical corticosteroids was safe without any effect on the developing immune system. Pimecrolimus had similar efficacy to topical corticosteroids and a marked steroid-sparing effect. (Read the full article)
Early-life lower respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia, are associated with increased prevalence of asthma and diminished lung function in children. Whether early-life pneumonia is associated with subsequent impaired lung function and asthma in adults is not yet clear.
This is the first article providing strong data for an association between early-life pneumonia in an outpatient setting and airflow limitation and asthma into adulthood, supporting the hypothesis of the early-life origins of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. (Read the full article)
Subtherapeutic doses of antibiotics have been used as growth promoters in animal farming since the 1950s. Antibiotic exposure during infancy is associated with increased body mass in humans.
The weight-promoting effect of antibiotics is most pronounced when the exposure occurs at <6 months of age or repeatedly during infancy. Increased body mass is distinctly associated with exposure to cephalosporins and macrolides, especially in boys. (Read the full article)
Celiac disease (CD) may develop at any age. Young children with CD are at particular risk for malabsorption and failure to thrive. HLA-DR3-DQ2 homozygotes are at the highest genetic risk and develop CD very early in life.
Most children with CD detected in screening by 4 years of age have no symptoms and normal growth. Symptoms are unrelated to HLA genotype. Autoantibody levels correlate higher with severity of mucosal lesions in symptomatic as compared to asymptomatic children. (Read the full article)
Childhood bacteremia caused by vaccine-preventable organisms has substantially declined over the last decade. Recognition of bacteremia in children is difficult, and delayed administration of antibiotics is associated with poor outcomes. Adults with health care–associated Gram-negative bacteremia experience delays in receiving appropriate antibiotics.
Bacteremia in children presenting to the emergency department is increasingly health care associated and resistant to empirical antibiotics. These infections are associated with increased length of stay. Rates of Gram-negative bacteremia have increased, and children with Gram-negative bacteremia experience delayed antibiotic administration. (Read the full article)
Off-label prescription of inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) to neonates <34 weeks’ gestation has increased during the past decade. In early 2011, the National Institutes of Health determined that the available evidence did not support iNO use in this population.
Use of iNO among neonates <34 weeks’ gestation has increased since 2011, entirely from greater use in extremely preterm neonates. Off-label prescription of this drug now accounts for nearly half of all iNO use in American NICUs. (Read the full article)
Childhood obesity rates in the United States remain at historic highs. The pediatric primary care office represents an important, underutilized source of intervention. There is a need to test the efficacy of motivational interviewing for pediatric obesity in primary care.
This is among the first large-scale randomized trials to show significant reductions in BMI and that motivational interviewing, delivered by trained providers in the primary care setting, can be an important and feasible part of addressing childhood obesity. (Read the full article)
Although the rates of antipsychotic medication treatment are rising for children and adolescents, little is known about the factors associated with this practice.
This study provides some of the first data regarding when and why clinicians decide to use antipsychotic medications. It reveals clues as to how prescribing might better follow best practice guidelines. (Read the full article)
Some parents choose to "spread out" the recommended vaccine schedule for their child by decreasing the number of simultaneous vaccines or delaying certain vaccines until an older age. Epidemiologic studies demonstrate increasing numbers of parents are choosing to delay vaccines.
We demonstrate that almost all providers encounter requests to spread out vaccines in a typical month and, despite concerns, increasing numbers are agreeing to do so. Providers report many strategies in response to requests but think few are effective. (Read the full article)
Microvasculature alterations are associated with increased risk of hypertension in adults. Not much is known about the association of retinal vessel caliber with cardiovascular risk factors among children.
Narrower retinal arteriolar caliber is associated with higher blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, and pulse pressure in school-age children, whereas wider retinal venular caliber is associated with higher carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity. Microvascular adaptations might influence cardiovascular health from childhood onward. (Read the full article)
Early language delay is common in toddlers and is associated with poor academic outcomes, reading difficulties, and persistent communication problems. Despite these long-term sequelae, few interventions for toddlers with early language delays yield positive expressive and receptive language results.
A 28-session program delivered over 3 months can enhance parent language facilitation strategies. Unusually, the small short-term benefits were mainly in receptive, rather than expressive, language and vocabulary. Extended follow-up could determine the costs versus benefits of this promising approach. (Read the full article)
Pediatric palliative care (PPC) improves the quality of life for children with life-limiting illness and their families. The association between PPC and health care costs is unclear and has not been studied over time.
PPC recipients were more medically complex. Receipt of PPC was associated with lower costs when death was near but with greater costs among survivors. When controlling for medical complexity, costs did not differ significantly according to receipt of PPC. (Read the full article)
The diversifying US population has led to the examination of workforce diversity and training. National data on diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency training have been previously collected but have been assessed only at the macro level of medicine.
This study assesses workforce diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency training in departments of pediatrics across the country and provides the first assessment of departmental efforts to improve diversity and inclusion and provide cultural competency training to trainees and faculty. (Read the full article)
More than 70% of all preterm deliveries are late preterm (34–36 weeks of gestation). Existing evidence suggests that compared with those born at term, those born late preterm score lower on neurocognitive tests in childhood and young adulthood.
The effect of late preterm birth on neurocognitive performance persists up to late adulthood, especially among those who have only a basic or upper secondary level of education. Late preterm birth is also associated with a risk of memory impairments. (Read the full article)
Preterm children often experience poor executive function (EF; skills underpinning adaptive, goal-directed behavior, and essential for positive academic, occupational, and social outcomes). EF matures across adolescence, but the nature and course of EF deficits for preterm adolescents is not well-described.
Extremely preterm/extremely low birthweight adolescents demonstrated small-to-medium deficits across multiple EF domains compared with normal birthweight controls. Preterm children improved on some EF aspects from age 8 to late adolescence relative to controls, but not on parent-rated behavioral EF. (Read the full article)
There is growing evidence reporting that moderately preterm, late preterm, and early term infants are at increased risk of developmental delay. The characteristics of this association are not well established in the literature.
In a sample of infants born between 32 and 41 weeks, there was an inverse and "dose response" relationship between gestational age and developmental delay risk using the ASQ at 8 and 18 months of corrected postnatal age. (Read the full article)
Children with special health care needs are a growing population in developed countries. They are at risk for poorer learning and behavioral outcomes, and their parents are more likely to have poorer mental health.
Four distinct and replicable special health care need profiles across 2 childhood epochs were categorized as none, transient, emerging, and persistent. The cumulative burden of special health care needs shaped adverse outcomes more than did point prevalence. (Read the full article)
Many children with blunt head trauma and isolated skull fractures are admitted to the hospital. Several small studies suggest that children with simple isolated skull fractures are at very low risk of clinical deterioration.
In this large cohort of children with isolated linear skull fractures after minor blunt head trauma, none developed significant intracranial hemorrhages resulting in neurosurgical interventions. These children may be considered for emergency department discharge if neurologically normal. (Read the full article)
Collaborative care is known to be an effective system to manage child behavioral health conditions in the primary care setting.
Among urban children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, using lay care managers to address barriers to engagement with care and challenging child behaviors has the potential to improve the effectiveness of conventional collaborative care. (Read the full article)
In a previous short-term physiologic randomized controlled trial, continuous positive airway pressure by helmet was feasible and efficient in improving gas exchange in pediatric acute respiratory failure due to bronchiolitis.
Continuous positive airway pressure administered by helmet reduces the rate of noninvasive respiratory support failure and provides longer application time with less sedation than a facial mask. In addition, it is safe to use and free from adverse events. (Read the full article)
Preterm infants are at an increased risk of infections; therefore, vaccination is of particular importance. Because immune response data reported for preterm infants may vary according to gestational age and vaccination timing, vaccine responses in this population warrant additional research.
This study evaluated 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in preterm infants. Results suggest that this vaccine was well tolerated and immunogenic; most subjects achieved serotype-specific immunoglobulin G antibody levels and functional antibody responses likely to correlate with protection against invasive disease. (Read the full article)
After the recent economic recession, policy interventions including austerity measures led to reductions in government spending on health care in many countries. However, there is limited research into the effects of changes in government health care spending on child health.
Reductions in government health care spending are associated with long-lasting adverse effects on child health globally, especially in low-income countries. Given pressures to diminish health expenditures, we caution that reduced spending should be achieved through increased efficiency of care delivery. (Read the full article)
Existing literature discusses the unique medical and psychological needs of sex trafficking victims and highlights the importance of screening patients with risk factors. However, little is known about providers’ knowledge and confidence in their ability to provide care to victims.
The study summarizes the knowledge gaps and barriers providers face when assisting pediatric sex trafficking victims. It also highlights the impact of training on providers’ confidence and ability to appropriately care for victims. (Read the full article)
Burns are a leading cause of pediatric emergency department visits and hospitalizations and are often associated with significant long-term physical and psychological consequences and long-term medical and nursing treatments. Little is known of the long-term impacts of burns on mortality.
Children with burns had a 1.6 times greater rate of long-term mortality than a matched population-based cohort of children with no injury. Total mortality burden based on in-hospital deaths alone underestimates the true burden from both minor and severe burns. (Read the full article)
Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in children. It has been suggested that maternal depression during pregnancy is associated with asthma in the offspring, but the role of antidepressant use during pregnancy is not known.
In our prospective cohort study, we found that maternal antidepressant use during pregnancy generally did not increase the risk of asthma except for use of older antidepressants, which could reflect confounding by the severity of maternal depression. (Read the full article)
Micronutrient deficiencies, including deficiencies of vitamin B-12 and folate, are common worldwide and may be a contributing factor to the estimated 165 million stunted children.
Routine supplementation of vitamin B-12 improved linear and ponderal growth in subgroups of young Indian children. We provide evidence that vitamin B-12 deficiency is a contributor to poor growth in low- and middle-income countries. (Read the full article)
Although there is evidence regarding comorbidity of physical and mental disorders from clinical samples of specific disorders and treatment registries, there is limited evidence from systematic samples of youth with comprehensive information on the full range of mental and physical disorders.
This report is the first study to investigate the specificity of associations between a broad range of mental and physical conditions by using a large, systematically obtained pediatric sample with enriched information from electronic medical records and direct interviews. (Read the full article)
Handheld echocardiography is a more portable and lower-cost alternative to standard echocardiography for rheumatic heart disease screening. Direct comparison of handheld echocardiography and auscultation for the detection of rheumatic heart disease has not been done previously.
Handheld echocardiography significantly improves detection of rheumatic heart disease compared with auscultation alone and may be a cost-effective screening strategy in developing countries. (Read the full article)
Acute kidney injury (AKI) occurs in up to 50% of children after cardiopulmonary bypass and is associated with adverse outcomes. Renal biomarkers have been shown to predict postoperative AKI, but few studies have examined cardiac biomarkers for risk classification.
Preoperative levels of creatine kinase-MB and heart-type fatty acid binding protein are strongly associated with the development of postoperative AKI after pediatric cardiac surgery and can be used to improve preoperative clinical risk prediction. (Read the full article)
Functional capabilities in patients with spina bifida depend on the spinal level of the lesion and its type. Sociodemographic characteristics have been shown in other conditions to be an important additional influence on outcomes, making them important for risk adjustment.
Males, non-Hispanic blacks, and patients without private insurance have less favorable functional outcomes in spina bifida, and age also has an impact. These attributes need to be considered by clinicians and researchers and used in comparing care outcomes across clinic settings. (Read the full article)
Strategies are needed to engage families of chronically ill children at home in an ongoing process of shared decision-making regarding treatment that is responsive to families’ concerns and goals and children’s evolving symptoms.
This study evaluated a novel patient portal that facilitates shared decision-making in asthma. The portal was feasible and acceptable to families, improved outcomes, and provides a model for improving care through an electronic health record portal. (Read the full article)
Encephalitis is a serious and disabling condition. There are infectious and immune-mediated causes of encephalitis, but many cases remain undiagnosed.
This large single-center study on childhood encephalitis provides insight into the relative frequency and clinicoradiologic phenotypes of infectious, autoantibody-associated, and unknown encephalitis. Risk factors for an abnormal outcome are also defined. (Read the full article)
Myxovirus resistance protein A (MxA) is a protein induced during viral infections. A few small-scale studies have suggested that MxA could be used as a marker of viral infection in clinical routine practice.
This study involves the largest patient population thus far and confirms the usefulness of MxA for diagnosing viral infections in children consulting the emergency department in a clinical routine setting. (Read the full article)
Atopic dermatitis (AD) primarily affects infants and young children. Although topical corticosteroids (TCSs) are often prescribed, noncorticosteroid treatments are needed because compliance with TCSs is poor due to concerns about their side effects. In this longest and largest intervention study ever conducted in infants with mild-to-moderate AD, pimecrolimus 1% cream (PIM) was compared with TCSs.
A total of 2418 infants were enrolled in this 5-year open-label study. Infants were randomized to PIM (n = 1205; with short-term TCSs for disease flares) or TCSs (n = 1213). The primary objective was to compare safety; the secondary objective was to document PIM’s long-term efficacy. Treatment success was defined as an Investigator’s Global Assessment score of 0 (clear) or 1 (almost clear).
Both PIM and TCSs had a rapid onset of action with >50% of patients achieving treatment success by week 3. After 5 years, >85% and 95% of patients in each group achieved overall and facial treatment success, respectively. The PIM group required substantially fewer steroid days than the TCS group (7 vs 178). The profile and frequency of adverse events was similar in the 2 groups; in both groups, there was no evidence for impairment of humoral or cellular immunity.
Long-term management of mild-to-moderate AD in infants with PIM or TCSs was safe without any effect on the immune system. PIM was steroid-sparing. The data suggest PIM had similar efficacy to TCS and support the use of PIM as a first-line treatment of mild-to-moderate AD in infants and children.
Diminished lung function and increased prevalence of asthma have been reported in children with a history of early lower respiratory illnesses (LRIs), including pneumonia. Whether these associations persist up to adulthood has not been established.
As part of the prospective Tucson Children's Respiratory Study, LRIs during the first 3 years of life were ascertained by pediatricians. Spirometry was performed at ages 11, 16, 22, and 26 years. The occurrence of asthma/wheeze during the previous year was ascertained at ages 11, 13, 16, 18, 22, 24, 26, and 29 years. Longitudinal random effects models and generalized estimating equations were used to assess the relation of LRIs to lung function and asthma.
Compared with participants without early-life LRIs, those with pneumonia had the most severe subsequent lung function impairment, with mean ± SE deficits of –3.9% ± 0.9% (P < .001) and –2.5% ± 0.8% (P = .001) for pre- and post-bronchodilator FEV1:FVC ratio from age 11 to 26 years, respectively. Pneumonia was associated with increased risk for asthma (odds ratio [OR]: 1.95; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.11–3.44) and wheeze (OR: 1.94; 95% CI: 1.28–2.95) over the same age range. Early non-pneumonia LRIs were associated with mildly impaired pre-bronchodilator FEV1 (–62.8 ± 27.9mL, P = .024) and FEV1:FVC ratio (–1.1 ± 0.5%, P = .018), and wheeze (OR: 1.37; 95% CI: 1.09–1.72).
Early pneumonia is associated with asthma and impaired airway function, which is partially reversible with bronchodilators and persists into adulthood. Early pneumonia may be a major risk factor for adult chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Antibiotics have direct effects on the human intestinal microbiota, particularly in infancy. Antibacterial agents promote growth in farm animals by unknown mechanisms, but little is known about their effects on human weight gain. Our aim was to evaluate the impact of antibiotic exposure during infancy on weight and height in healthy Finnish children.
The population-based cohort comprised 6114 healthy boys and 5948 healthy girls having primary care weight and height measurements and drug purchase data from birth to 24 months. BMI and height, expressed as z-scores at the median age of 24 months (interquartile range 24 to 26 months), were compared between children exposed and unexposed to antibiotics using analysis of covariance with perinatal factors as covariates.
Exposed children were on average heavier than unexposed children (adjusted BMI-for-age z-score difference in boys 0.13 SD [95% confidence interval 0.07 to 0.19, P < .001] and in girls 0.07 SD [0.01 to 0.13, P < .05]). The effect was most pronounced after exposure to macrolides before 6 months of age (boys 0.28 [0.11 to 0.46]; girls 0.23 [0.04 to 0.42]) or >1 exposure (boys 0.20 [0.10 to 0.30]; girls 0.13 [0.03 to 0.22]).
Antibiotic exposure before 6 months of age, or repeatedly during infancy, was associated with increased body mass in healthy children. Such effects may play a role in the worldwide childhood obesity epidemic and highlight the importance of judicious use of antibiotics during infancy, favoring narrow-spectrum antibiotics.
To investigate clinical features of celiac disease (CD) and their association with risk factors for CD in a genetic risk birth cohort.
Children from 6 clinical centers in 4 countries positive for HLA-DR3-DQ2 or DR4-DQ8 were annually screened for tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTGA) and assessed for symptoms by questionnaires. Associations of symptoms with anthropometrics, known risk factors for CD, tTGA levels, and mucosal lesions in those biopsied were examined.
Of 6706 screened children, 914 developed persistent positive tTGA, 406 underwent biopsies, and 340 had CD. Compared with age-matched tTGA-negative children, those with persistent tTGA were more likely to have symptoms at 2 (34% vs 19%, P < .001) and 3 years of age (28% vs 19%, P = .009) but not at 4 years (27% vs 21%, NS). Z-scores for height, weight, and BMI did not differ between groups. In children with persistent tTGA, having ≥1 symptom was associated with family history of CD (odds ratio = 2.59, 95% confidence interval, 1.21–5.57) but not with age, gender, or HLA-DR3-DQ2 homozygosity. At seroconversion, tTGA levels were higher in symptomatic than asymptomatic children (P < .001), in those from CD families (P < .001), and in US participants (P < .001) but not associated with age, gender, or HLA genotype. tTGA levels correlated with severity of mucosal lesions both in symptomatic (r = 0.53, P < .001) and asymptomatic children (r = 0.22, P = .01).
A majority of children detected with persistent tTGA in screenings are asymptomatic and have normal growth by age 4 years. tTGA levels correlate more strongly with severity of mucosal lesions in symptomatic as compared with asymptomatic children.
Bacteremia is now an uncommon presentation to the children’s emergency department (ED) but is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Its evolving etiology may affect the ability of clinicians to initiate timely, appropriate antimicrobial therapy.
A retrospective time series analysis of bacteremia was conducted in the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital ED between 2001 and 2011. Data on significant comorbidities, time to empirical therapy, and antibiotic susceptibility were recorded.
A total of 575 clinical episodes were identified, and Streptococcus pneumoniae (n = 109), Neisseria meningitidis (n = 96), and Staphylococcus aureus (n = 89) were commonly isolated. The rate of bacteremia was 1.42 per 1000 ED attendances (95% confidence interval: 1.31–1.53). There was an annual reduction of 10.6% (6.6%–14.5%) in vaccine-preventable infections, and an annual increase of 6.7% (1.2%–12.5%) in Gram-negative infections. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine was associated with a 49% (32%–74%) reduction in pneumococcal bacteremia. The rate of health care–associated bacteremia increased from 0.17 to 0.43 per 1000 ED attendances (P = .002). Susceptibility to empirical antibiotics was reduced (96.3%–82.6%; P < .001). Health care–associated bacteremia was associated with an increased length of stay of 3.9 days (95% confidence interval: 2.3–5.8). Median time to antibiotics was 184 minutes (interquartile range: 63–331) and 57 (interquartile range: 27–97) minutes longer in Gram-negative bacteremia than in vaccine-preventable bacteremia.
Changes in the etiology of pediatric bacteremia have implications for prompt, appropriate empirical treatment. Increasingly, pediatric bacteremia in the ED is health care associated, which increases length of inpatient stay. Prompt, effective antimicrobial administration requires new tools to improve recognition, in addition to continued etiological surveillance.
Inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) therapy is an off-label medication in infants <34 weeks’ gestational age. In 2011, the National Institutes of Health released a statement discouraging routine iNO use in premature infants. The objective of this study was to describe utilization patterns of iNO in American NICUs in the years surrounding the release of the National Institutes of Health statement. We hypothesized that iNO prescription rates in premature infants have remained unchanged since 2011.
The Pediatrix Medical Group Clinical Data Warehouse was queried for the years 2009–2013 to describe first exposure iNO use among all admitted neonates stratified by gestational age.
Between 2009 and 2013, the rate of iNO utilization in 23- to 29-week neonates increased from 5.03% to 6.19%, a relative increase of 23% (confidence interval: 8%–40%; P = .003). Of all neonates who received iNO therapy in 2013, nearly half were <34 weeks’ gestation, with these infants accounting for more than half of all first exposure iNO days each year of the study period.
The rates of off-label iNO use in preterm infants continue to rise despite evidence revealing no clear benefit in this population. This pattern of iNO prescription is not benign and comes with economic consequences.
Few studies have tested the impact of motivational interviewing (MI) delivered by primary care providers on pediatric obesity. This study tested the efficacy of MI delivered by providers and registered dietitians (RDs) to parents of overweight children aged 2 through 8.
Forty-two practices from the Pediatric Research in Office Settings Network of the American Academy of Pediatrics were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups. Group 1 (usual care) measured BMI percentile at baseline and 1- and 2-year follow-up. Group 2 (provider only) delivered 4 MI counseling sessions to parents of the index child over 2 years. Group 3 (provider + RD) delivered 4 provider MI sessions plus 6 MI sessions from a RD. The primary outcome was child BMI percentile at 2-year follow up.
At 2-year follow-up, the adjusted BMI percentile was 90.3, 88.1, and 87.1 for groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively. The group 3 mean was significantly (P = .02) lower than group 1. Mean changes from baseline in BMI percentile were 1.8, 3.8, and 4.9 across groups 1, 2, and 3.
MI delivered by providers and RDs (group 3) resulted in statistically significant reductions in BMI percentile. Research is needed to determine the clinical significance and persistence of the BMI effects observed. How the intervention can be brought to scale (in particular, how to train physicians to use MI effectively and how best to train RDs and integrate them into primary care settings) also merits future research.
Although the increase in treatment of children and adolescents with antipsychotic medications has been well documented, much less is known about the factors related to the use of these agents and how closely the treatment follows best practice recommendations.
Prescribers of each antipsychotic medication prescription issued for a Medicaid-insured child in Vermont aged <18 years were sent a prior authorization survey that assessed several domains including the clinical indication, other treatments, metabolic monitoring, prescriber specialty, and prescription origin. These variables were combined to categorize prescriptions as following indications approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and best practice guidelines.
The response rate of the survey was 80%, with 677 surveys from 147 prescribers available for analysis; more than one-half of the respondents were primary care clinicians. Overall, the clinical indication for an antipsychotic prescription followed best practice guidelines 91.7% of the time, with overall best practice guidelines followed at a rate of 50.1%. An FDA indication was followed in 27.2% of cases. Psychiatrists were significantly more likely to follow best practice guidelines than nonpsychiatrists. Antipsychotic medications were typically used only after other pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatments were ineffective, although previous treatment with cognitive-behavioral therapy was uncommon (15.5%). Metabolic monitoring that included serial laboratory tests was reported in 57.2% of cases.
Current prescribing patterns of antipsychotic medications for children and adolescents follow best practice guidelines approximately one-half of the time, with nonadherence often related to lack of metabolic monitoring.
To assess among US physicians (1) frequency of requests to spread out recommended vaccination schedule for children <2 years, (2) attitudes regarding such requests, and (3) strategies used and perceived effectiveness in response to such requests.
An e-mail and mail survey of a nationally representative sample of pediatricians and family physicians from June 2012 through October 2012.
The response rate was 66% (534 of 815). In a typical month, 93% reported some parents of children <2 years requested to spread out vaccines; 21% reported ≥10% of parents made this request. Most respondents thought these parents were putting their children at risk for disease (87%) and that it was more painful for children (84%), but if they agreed to requests, it would build trust with families (82%); further, they believed that if they did not agree, families might leave their practice (80%). Forty percent reported this issue had decreased their job satisfaction. Most agreed to spread out vaccines when requested, either often/always (37%) or sometimes (37%); 2% would often/always, 4% would sometimes, and 12% would rarely dismiss families from their practice if they wanted to spread out the primary series. Physicians reported using a variety of strategies in response to requests but did not think they were effective.
Virtually all providers encounter requests to spread out vaccines in a typical month and, despite concerns, most are agreeing to do so. Providers are using many strategies in response but think few are effective. Evidence-based interventions to increase timely immunization are needed to guide primary care and public health practice.
Alterations in retinal microvasculature are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. We examined the associations of retinal vessel caliber with cardiovascular markers in school-age children.
Among 4007 school-age children (median age of 6.0 years), we measured cardiovascular markers and retinal vessel calibers from digitized retinal photographs.
Narrower retinal arteriolar caliber was associated with higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure (–0.20 SD score [SDS] [95% confidence interval (CI) –0.24 to –0.18] and –0.14 SDS [–0.17 to –0.11], respectively, per SDS increase in retinal arteriolar caliber), mean arterial pressure, and pulse pressure, but not with carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, heart rate, cardiac output, or left ventricular mass. A wider retinal venular caliber was associated with lower systolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, and pulse pressure and higher carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity difference = 0.04 SDS [95% CI 0.01 to 0.07] per SDS increase in retinal venular caliber). Both narrower retinal arteriolar and venular calibers were associated with higher risk of hypertension at the age of 6 years, with the strongest association for retinal arteriolar caliber (odds ratio 1.35 [95% CI 1.21 to 1.45] per SDS decrease in arteriolar caliber). Adjustment for parental and infant sociodemographic factors did not influence the observed associations.
Both retinal arteriolar and venular calibers are associated with blood pressure in school-age children, whereas retinal venular caliber is associated with carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity. Microvascular adaptations in childhood might influence cardiovascular health and disease from childhood onward.
Early interventions for toddlers with expressive and receptive language delays have not resulted in positive expressive language outcomes. This randomized controlled trial tested the effects on language outcomes of a caregiver-implemented communication intervention targeting toddlers at risk for persistent language delays.
Participants included 97 toddlers, who were between 24 and 42 months with language scores at least 1.33 SDs below the normative mean and no other developmental delays, and their caregivers. Toddlers were randomly assigned to the caregiver-implemented intervention or a usual-care control group. Caregivers and children participated in 28 sessions in which caregivers were taught to implement the intervention. The primary outcome was the Preschool Language Scale, Fourth Edition, a broad-based measure of language. Outcome measurement was not blinded.
Caregivers in the intervention improved their use of all language facilitation strategies, such as matched turns (adjusted mean difference, intervention-control, 40; 95% confidence interval 34 to 46; P < .01). Children in the intervention group had significantly better receptive language skills (5.3; 95% confidence interval 0.15 to 10.4), but not broad-based expressive language skills (0.37, 95% confidence interval –4.5 to 5.3; P = .88).
This trial provides preliminary evidence of the short-term effects of systematic caregiver instruction on caregiver use of language facilitation strategies and subsequent changes in children’s language skills. Future research should investigate the ideal dosage levels for optimizing child outcomes and determine which language facilitation strategies are associated with specific child outcomes. Research on adaptations for families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds is needed.
Pediatric palliative care (PPC) improves the quality of life for children with life-limiting conditions, but the cost of care associated with PPC has not been quantified. This study examined the association between inpatient cost and receipt of PPC among high-cost inpatients.
The 10% most costly inpatients treated at a children’s hospital in 2010 were studied, and factors associated with receipt of PPC were determined. Among patients dying during 2010, we compared 2010 inpatient costs between PPC recipients and nonrecipients. Inpatient costs during the 2-year follow up period between PPC recipients and nonrecipients were also compared. Patients were analyzed in 2 groups: those who died and those who survived the 2-year follow-up.
Of 902 patients, 86 (10%) received PPC. Technology dependence, older age, multiple chronic conditions, PICU admission, and death in 2010 were independently associated with receipt of PPC. PPC recipients had increased inpatient costs compared with nonrecipients during 2010. Among patients who died during the 2-year follow-up, PPC recipients had significantly lower inpatient costs. Among survivors, PPC recipients had greater inpatient costs. When controlling for patient complexity, differences in inpatient costs were not significant.
The relationship of PPC to inpatient costs is complex. PPC seems to lower costs among patients approaching death. Patients selectively referred to PPC who survive most often do so with chronic serious illnesses that predispose them to remain lifelong high-resource utilizers.