• Eye pathologies in neonates

      Ahmed, Mansoor (2016-12)
      In the United Kingdom, newborn assessment incorporates a screening eye examination for any structural abnormalities, observation of neonate's visual behaviour and direct ophthalmoscopy examination looking for red reflex. Early identification and immediate management of eye related pathologies should commence soon after birth as early diagnosis and prompt intervention may have significant impact on the prognosis for many potentially blinding but treatable disorders such as congenital cataracts and retinoblastoma. If left undetected and untreated, such problems may potentially lead to irreversible damage to the vision which persists into adulthood resulting in lack of self-confidence together with difficulties in educational attainment and job opportunities.
    • Term admissions to neonatal units in England: A role for transitional care? A retrospective cohort study

      Manzoor, Azhar (2017)
      To identify the primary reasons for term admissions to neonatal units in England, to determine risk factors for admissions for jaundice and to estimate the proportion who can be cared for in a transitional setting without separation of mother and baby. Design: Retrospective observational study using neonatal unit admission data from the National Neonatal Research Database and data of live births in England from the Office for National Statistics. Setting: All 163 neonatal units in England 2011-2013. Participants: 133 691 term babies born >=37 weeks gestational age and admitted to neonatal units in England. Primary and secondary outcomes: Primary reasons for admission, term babies admitted for the primary reason of jaundice, patient characteristics, postnatal age at admission, total length of stay, phototherapy, intravenous fluids, exchange transfusion and kernicterus. Results: Respiratory disease was the most common reason for admission overall, although jaundice was the most common reason for admission from home (22% home vs 5% hospital). Risk factors for admission for jaundice include male, born at 37 weeks gestation, Asian ethnicity and multiple birth. The majority of babies received only a brief period of phototherapy, and only a third received intravenous fluids, suggesting that some may be appropriately managed without separation of mother and baby. Admission from home was significantly later (3.9 days) compared with those admitted from elsewhere in the hospital (1.7 days) (p<0.001). Conclusion: Around two-thirds of term admissions for jaundice may be appropriately managed in a transitional care setting, avoiding separation of mother and baby. Babies with risk factors may benefit from a community midwife postnatal visit around the third day of life to enable early referral if necessary. We recommend further work at the national level to examine provision and barriers to transitional care, referral pathways between primary and secondary care, and community postnatal care.
    • An audit of the effectiveness of PCSK9 inhibition in reducing cholesterol in patients attending lipid clinics

      Reynolds, Tim (2017)
      Introduction: Evolocumab and alirocumab are monoclonal antibodies that inhibit PCSK-9 and reduce LDl-C. This audit assessed the effectiveness of PCSK9 inhibitor administration in patients attending lipid clinics at regional and local centres. Methods: Data from patients in treated in accord with NICE Technology Appraisals TA394 and TA396 was obtained from the lipid clinics at Guy's & St. Thomas' Hospitals and Queen's Hospital, Burton-on-Trent. All patients had undergone a cardiovascular assessment and lipid measurements. Results: The 75 patients were aged 61.1+/-12.1 (average+/-SD) years and 33% were female. The indications for prescription were Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (75%); intolerance to >3 statins (67%), coronary heart disease with LDL-C>4 mmol/L (33%); multivascular disease and LDL-C>3.50 mmol/L (26%) and other (9%). Scripts were issued for Evolocumab (140mg; n=52) and Alirocumab (n=17; 12 receiving 150 mg and 5 75 mg respectively). Data was available for 43 patients who had completed more than 3 months treatment. Pre-treatment total cholesterol (TC) was 7.94+/-2.37 mmol/L, LDL-cholesterol (LDLC) 5.44+/-1.90 mmol/L, triglycerides (TG) median 1.89 (range 0.5-34.8) mmol/l and HDL-C 1.39+/-0.38 mmol/L. Post-treatment levels were TC 5.91+/-2.45 mmol/l, LDL-C 3.30+/-1.63 mmol/L, TG 1.67 (0.63-27.8) mmol/l and HDLC 1.42+/-0.4 mmol/L. The average reductions in lipids were a median 41 (range 90 to-35) %; (2.07+/-1.17 mmol/L) for LDL-C, and 27 (range 52 to-19)% (2.10+/-1.48 mmol/L) for TC respectively. Discontinuations were reported in 7 patients and 3 reported adverse effects (myalgia). A <25% LDL-C response was seen in 19% of patients. Conclusion: Treatment with PCSK9 inhibitor therapy is associated with a 41% reduction in LDL-C in qualifying patients who tolerate the medication but 19% fail to respond.
    • Pre-hospital assessment of a child under one year old with fever.

      Wilkinson, Ann (2017-03)
      Parents often bring children with a fever to primary and emergency care settings. This article uses a case study to explore the assessment of children with a fever in pre-hospital settings using the three-minute toolkit, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence fever guidelines and the baby check score. It also highlights some educational resources for parents, designed to help them recognise when to seek clinical advice for their children.
    • Newborn infants with bilious vomiting: a national audit of neonatal transport services.

      Ojha, Shalini (2017-05)
      OBJECTIVE: The precautionary approach to urgently investigate infants with bilious vomiting has increased the numbers referred to transport teams and tertiary surgical centres. The aim of this national UK audit was to quantify referrals and determine the frequency of surgical diagnoses with the purpose to inform the consequent inclusion of these referrals in the national 'time-critical' data set. METHODS: A prospective, multicentre UK-wide audit was conducted between 1 August, 2015 and 31 October, 2015. Term infants aged ≤7 days referred for transfer due to bilious vomiting were included. Data at the time of transport and outcomes at 7 days after transfer were collected by the local teams and transferred anonymously for analysis. RESULTS: Sixteen teams contributed data on 165 cases. Teams that consider such transfers as 'time-critical' responded significantly faster than those that do not classify bilious vomiting as time-critical. There was a surgical diagnosis in 22% cases, and 7% had a condition where delayed treatment may have caused bowel loss. Most surgical problems could be predicted by clinical and/or X-ray findings, but two infants with normal X-ray features were found to have a surgical problem. CONCLUSION: The results support the need for infants with bilious vomiting to be investigated for potential surgical pathologies, but the data do not provide evidence for the default designation of such referrals as 'time-critical.' Decisions should be made by clinical collaboration between the teams and, where appropriate, swift transfer provided.
    • The Alvarado score in acute appendicitis: A 3-year audit to evaluate the usefulness in predicting negative appendicectomies in <=16 s at QHBFT

      Agilinko, Joshua; Waraich, Naseem (2017-11)
      To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of the Alvarado score in reducing the rate of negative appendicectomy at Queen's Hospital, a small district general hospital in England. Methodology The retrospective, analytical study included all children who were <=16 years old with a preliminary diagnosis of acute appendicitis undergoing appendicectomy subsequently. Children with other causes of acute abdominal pain were excluded from the study. A total of 118 patients were included. Based on their calculated Alvarado scores, they were stratified into two groups: Group A (Alvarado score <6) and Group B (Alvarado score >=6). Alvarado scores were compared with the histopathology reports, the gold standard for diagnosing acute appendicitis. The data gathered was then subjected to statistical analysis to measure our objective. Results Out of the 118 patients (85 males, 33 females), 46 belonged to Group A and 72 to Group B. Final diagnosis of acute appendicitis from histopathology reports was confirmed in 94 cases (79.6%). The overall sensitivity and positive predictive value of Alvarado score for acute appendicitis were 92% and 94% respectively. The area under the ROC curve was 0.9 indicating a highly accurate test. The sensitivity was only slightly higher for males with a score of <6 than females (94.9% vs. 89.5%, p < 0.05). However, for scores >=6, sensitivity among males was significantly higher than females (79% vs. 62.6%; p < 0.05). A multivariate analysis revealed that anorexia, right iliac fossa tenderness and rebound tenderness are significantly correlated with a correct diagnosis of acute appendicitis (p = 0.025, 0.037 and 0.026 respectively). Conclusion The presence of a high Alvarado score (>=6) is highly predictive of acute appendicitis. In women of childbearing age and Alvarado scores of <6, other pathologies that mimic appendicitis must be considered. An US scan of abdomen and pelvis should be considered in a woman of child-bearing age before proceeding to a surgical intervention.
    • The indirect impact of COVID-19 on child health.

      Ashikalli, Louicia (2020-09)
      Since the detection of COVID-19 in December 2019, the rapid spread of the disease worldwide has led to a new pandemic, with the number of infected individuals and deaths rising daily. Early experience shows that it predominantly affects older age groups with children and young adults being generally more resilient to more severe disease (1-3). From a health standpoint, children and young people are less directly affected than adults and presentation of the disease has shown different characteristics. Nonetheless, COVID-19 has had severe repercussions on children and young people. These indirect, downstream implications should not be ignored. An understanding of the issues is essential for those who hope to advocate effectively for children to prevent irreversible damage to the adults of the future. This article reviews some of the evidence of harm to children that may accrue indirectly as a result of pandemics. It explores the physical and psychological effects, discusses the role of parenting and education, offering practical advice about how best to provide support as a health care professional.
    • Paediatric rhombencephalitis presenting with bradycardia: a good recovery despite cardiac involvement.

      Stokes, V; Surridge, Jason (BMJ, 2021)
      Rhombencephalitis is a rare condition, often caused by infection, commonly presenting with myoclonic jerks, ataxia and cranial nerve palsy. Typically, it has a high morbidity and mortality, with worse prognosis associated with cardiopulmonary involvement. Herein, we present the case of a 10-year-old boy, presenting with headache, vomiting, symptomatic bradycardia and rapidly progressing ophthalmoplegia from a sixth nerve palsy, without additional brainstem symptoms. Previously, pericarditis, myocarditis and heart failure have been associated with rhombencephalitis, but not bradycardia. The cause of his rhombencephalitis was presumed viral, but despite extensive screening, the virus responsible was never isolated. Following treatment with intravenous antibiotics and antivirals in a high dependency unit, he recovered well with no neurological deficit on discharge and marked radiological improvement on MRI 4 weeks later. Although rare, rhombencephalitis should be considered in a child presenting with neurological symptoms, particularly alongside a cranial nerve palsy, developing over a rapid time course.
    • Does decentralisation of surgical management improve outcomes for paediatric testicular torsion?

      Smart, Thomas
      INTRODUCTION: In testicular torsion (TT), delayed emergency scrotal exploration (ESE) increases the risk of orchidectomy. Transfer of a patient with suspected TT from a district general hospital (DGH) to a paediatric surgical centre (PSC) delays ESE and potentially puts them at increased risk of testicular loss. Prior to 1st January 2017, all boys under aged <16 years presenting to a DGH within the East Midlands Clinical Network (EMCN) would be referred to the PSC. From this date, it was agreed within the EMCN that boys aged ≥5 years with suspected TT presenting to a network DGH would be managed locally, barring exceptional circumstances. Boys aged <5 years would be referred to the PSC for management. AIM: This study aimed to assess the impact of decentralisation of ESE for suspected TT on orchidectomy rates in the EMCN. METHODS: All patients who underwent ESE under the care of paediatric surgery in the PSC, and all patients <16 years old who underwent ESE in 4 EMCN DGHs between January 2017 and December 2019 were identified. Neonatal cases and inpatient referrals were excluded. Comparison was made with published data on ESE performed in the PSC over the 9 years 2008-2016 prior to decentralisation. RESULTS: In the 9 years prior to decentralisation, there were 110 cases of TT in the PSC. In the subsequent 3 years, there were 40 in the PSC and 37 in the DGHs. The orchidectomy rate of boys with TT presenting to DGHs and undergoing exploration locally (16%, 6/37) contrasts with the rate in those transferred from DGHs to the PSC for exploration (58%, 15/26). The difference is highly significant (p = 0.00059, RR 0.28 [95% CI 0.13-0.63]) and indicates that in the EMCN, avoiding hospital transfer and performing ESE at the presenting DGH reduces the risk of orchidectomy by 72%. CONCLUSION: Decentralisation of the provision of ESE in boys with TT has resulted in a significantly lower orchidectomy rate in boys undergoing ESE in the presenting hospital than when transferred to the PSC. This study reinforces existing literature that demonstrates the effect of delayed ESE on orchidectomy rate, and supports the recommendations of national guidelines in the UK that transfer of boys to a PSC for ESE should only occur in exceptional circumstances.