Recent Submissions

  • Mental Health Admissions to Paediatric Wards Study (MAPS): a protocol for the analysis of Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data

    Roland, Damian (2024-01-29)
    Introduction: Children and young people (CYP) presenting with a mental health (MH) crisis are frequently admitted to general acute paediatric wards as a place of safety. Prior to the pandemic, a survey in England showed that CYP occupied 6% of general paediatric inpatient beds due to an MH crisis, and there have been longstanding concerns about the quality of care to support these patients in this setting. Mental Health Admissions to Paediatric Wards Study aims to generate a theory of change (ToC) model to improve the quality of care for CYP admitted to acute paediatric services after presenting in a MH crisis. Methods and analysis: We will undertake a national (England), sequential, mixed methods study to inform a ToC framework alongside a stakeholder group consisting of patients, families/carers and healthcare professionals (HCPs). Our study consists of four work packages (WP) undertaken over 30 months. WP1 is limited to using national routine administrative data to identify and characterise trends in MH admissions in acute paediatric wards in England between 2015- 2022. Ethics and dissemination: WP1 received ethical approval (Ref 23/NW/0192). We will publish the overall synthesis of data and the final ToC to improve care of CYP with MH crisis admitted to general acute paediatric settings. As coproducers of the ToC, we will work with our stakeholder group to ensure wide dissemination of findings. Potential impacts will be on service development, new models of care, training and workforce planning.
  • Mental Health Admissions to Paediatric Wards Study (MAPS): protocol of a prospective study of mental health admissions to paediatric wards in England using surveillance and qualitative methods

    Roland, Damian (2024-01-25)
    Introduction: Children and young people (CYP) presenting with a mental health (MH) crisis are frequently admitted to general acute paediatric wards as a place of safety. Prior to the pandemic, a survey in England showed that CYP occupied 6% of general paediatric inpatient beds due to an MH crisis, and there have been longstanding concerns about the quality of care to support these patients in this setting. MAPS aims to generate a Theory of Change (ToC) model to improve the quality of care for CYP admitted to acute paediatric services after presenting with an MH crisis. Here, we describe work packages (WPs) 2 and 3 of the study, which have been granted ethics approval. Methods and analysis: We will undertake a national (England), sequential, mixed-methods study to inform a ToC framework alongside a stakeholder group consisting of patients, families/carers and healthcare professionals (HCPs). Our study consists of four WPs undertaken over 30 months. WP2 is limited to working with stakeholders to develop a data collection instrument and then use this in a prospective study of MH admissions over 6 months in 15 purposively recruited acute paediatric wards across England. WP3 consists of gathering the views of CYP, their families/carers and HCPs during admissions using semistructured interviews. Ethics and dissemination: WP2 and WP3 received ethical approval (ref: 23/LO/0349). We will publish the overall synthesis of data and the final ToC to improve care of CYP with MH crisis admitted to general acute paediatric settings. As co-producers of the ToC, we will work with our stakeholder group to ensure wide dissemination of findings. Potential impacts will be upon service development, new models of care, training and workforce planning. Prospero registration number: CRD42022350655.
  • Prevalence of invasive bacterial infection in febrile infants ≤90 days with a COVID-19 positive test: a systematic review and meta-analysis

    Roland, Damian (2023-12-06)
    Background: Febrile infants with an infection by influenza or enterovirus are at low risk of invasive bacterial infection (IBI). Objective: To determine the prevalence of IBI among febrile infants ≤90 days old with a positive COVID-19 test. Methods: MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Central Register databases, Web of Science, ClinicalTrials.gov and grey literature were searched for articles published from February 2020 to May 2023. Inclusion criteria: researches reporting on infants ≤90 days of age with fever and a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 (antigen test/PCR). Case reports with <3 patients, articles written in a language other than English, French or Spanish, editorials and other narrative studies were excluded. Preferred Reposting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis guidelines were followed, and the National Institutes of Health Quality Assessment Tool was used to assess study quality. The main outcome was the prevalence of IBI (a pathogen bacterium identified in blood and/or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)). Forest plots of prevalence estimates were constructed for each study. Heterogeneity was assessed and data were pooled by meta-analysis using a random effects model. A fixed continuity correction of 0.01 was added when a study had zero events. Results: From the 1023 studies and 3 databases provided by the literature search, 33 were included in the meta-analysis, reporting 3943 febrile infants with a COVID-19 positive test and blood or CSF culture obtained. The pooled prevalence of IBI was 0.14% (95% CI, 0.02% to 0.27%). By age, the prevalence of IBI was 0.56% (95% CI, 0.0% to 1.27%) in those 0-21 days old, 0.53% (95% CI, 0.0% to 1.22%) in those 22-28 days old and 0.11% (95% CI, 0.0% to 0.24%) in those 29-60 days old. Conclusion: COVID-19-positive febrile infants ≤90 days old are at low risk of IBI, especially infants >28 days old, suggesting this subgroup of patients can be managed without blood tests. Prospero registration number: CRD42022356507.
  • Complications of acute mastoiditis in a paediatric population at a UK tertiary centre: a retrospective review

    Chandarana, Karishma; Bowerman, Kathryn; Baruah, Paramita (2023-11-27)
    Objectives: Acute mastoiditis (AM) and its associated intra and extracranial complications are rare complications of acute otitis media. However, they are associated with a high morbidity. The management of AM with complications carries significant variations in approach. We aimed to evaluate the presentation of children with AM with complications to a tertiary referral centre in the United Kingdom and describe evolution of the treatment approaches. Methods: We undertook a retrospective chart review of all children admitted with AM to the University Hospitals of Leicester between 2013 and 2022. Results: Twenty-seven children were included in this study: 7 patients had sigmoid sinus thrombosis (SST), 4 had an intracranial collection, 3 had cranial nerve palsy and 16 had a subperiosteal abscess (SPA); some patients had more than 1 complication. In this study, treatment of SPA with incision and drainage (I&D) and grommet insertion was effective, as all patients treated with grommet insertion and I&D recovered well and did not require a subsequent cortical mastoidectomy. All patients with SST received anticoagulation and intravenous (IV) antibiotics; surgical input consisted of grommet insertion alone and cortical mastoidectomy was not routinely performed in these patients. Conclusion: In our series, management of SPA with grommet insertion and drainage had good outcomes. SST management mainly consisted of IV antibiotics, anticoagulation and grommet insertion with good recovery. The evidence to guide the management of complications of mastoiditis is of poor quality and further research is needed to clarify the optimal management of these complications.
  • The clinical impact of serious respiratory disease in children under the age of two years during the 2021-2022 bronchiolitis season in England, Scotland and Ireland

    Roland, Damian (2023-12-01)
    Background: Interventions introduced to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 led to a widespread reduction in childhood infections. However, from spring 2021 onwards the United Kingdom and Ireland experienced an unusual out-of-season epidemic of respiratory disease. Methods: We conducted a prospective observational study (BronchStart), enrolling children 0-23 months of age presenting with bronchiolitis, lower respiratory tract infection or first episode of wheeze to 59 Emergency Departments across England, Scotland and Ireland from May 2021 to April 2022. We combined testing data with national admissions datasets to infer the impact of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) disease. Results: The BronchStart study collected data on 17,899 presentations for 17,164 children. Risk factors for admission and escalation of care included prematurity and congenital heart disease, but most admissions were for previously healthy term-born children. Of those aged 0-11 months who were admitted and tested for RSV, 1,907/3,912 (48.7%) tested positive. We estimate that every year in England and Scotland 28,561 (95% confidence interval 27,637-29,486) infants are admitted with RSV infection. Conclusions: RSV infection was the main cause of hospitalisations in this cohort, but 51.3% of admissions in infants were not associated with the virus. The majority of admissions were in previously healthy term-born infants.
  • Classic ketogenic diet versus further antiseizure medicine in infants with drug-resistant epilepsy (KIWE): a UK, multicentre, open-label, randomised clinical trial

    Samanta, Rajib (2023-12)
    Background: Many infancy-onset epilepsies have poor prognosis for seizure control and neurodevelopmental outcome. Ketogenic diets can improve seizures in children older than 2 years and adults who are unresponsive to antiseizure medicines. We aimed to establish the efficacy of a classic ketogenic diet at reducing seizure frequency compared with further antiseizure medicine in infants with drug-resistant epilepsy. Methods: In this phase 4, open-label, multicentre, randomised clinical trial, infants aged 1-24 months with drug-resistant epilepsy (defined as four or more seizures per week and two or more previous antiseizure medications) were recruited from 19 hospitals in the UK. Following a 1-week or 2-week observation period, participants were randomly assigned using a computer-generated schedule, without stratification, to either a classic ketogenic diet or a further antiseizure medication for 8 weeks. Treatment allocation was masked from research nurses involved in patient care, but not from participants. The primary outcome was the median number of seizures per day, recorded during weeks 6-8. All analyses were by modified intention to treat, which included all participants with available data. Participants were followed for up to 12 months. All serious adverse events were recorded. The trial is registered with the European Union Drug Regulating Authorities Clinical Trials Database (2013-002195-40). The trial was terminated early before all participants had reached 12 months of follow-up because of slow recruitment and end of funding. Findings: Between Jan 1, 2015, and Sept 30, 2021, 155 infants were assessed for eligibility, of whom 136 met inclusion criteria and were randomly assigned; 75 (55%) were male and 61 (45%) were female. 78 infants were assigned to a ketogenic diet and 58 to antiseizure medication, of whom 61 and 47, respectively, had available data and were included in the modifified intention-to-treat analysis at week 8. The median number of seizures per day during weeks 6-8, accounting for baseline rate and randomised group, was similar between the ketogenic diet group (5 [IQR 1-16]) and antiseizure medication group (3 [IQR 2-11]; IRR 1·33, 95% CI 0·84-2·11). A similar number of infants with at least one serious adverse event was reported in both groups (40 [51%] of 78 participants in the ketogenic diet group and 26 [45%] of 58 participants in the antiseizure medication group). The most common serious adverse events were seizures in both groups. Three infants died during the trial, all of whom were randomly assigned a ketogenic diet: one child (who also had dystonic cerebral palsy) was found not breathing at home; one child died suddenly and unexpectedly at home; and one child went into cardiac arrest during routine surgery under anaesthetic. The deaths were judged unrelated to treatment by local principal investigators and confirmed by the data safety monitoring committee. Interpretation: In this phase 4 trial, a ketogenic diet did not differ in efficacy and tolerability to a further antiseizure medication, and it appears to be safe to use in infants with drug-resistant epilepsy. A ketogenic diet could be a treatment option in infants whose seizures continue despite previously trying two antiseizure medications. Funding: National Institute for Health and Care Research.
  • Core outcomes and factors influencing the experience of care for children with severe acute exacerbations of asthma: a qualitative study

    Roland, Damian (2023-11)
    Objective: To identify the outcomes considered important, and factors influencing the patient experience, for parents and caregivers of children presenting to hospital with a severe acute exacerbation of asthma. This work contributes to the outcome-identification process in developing a core outcome set (COS) for future clinical trials in children with severe acute asthma. Design: A qualitative study involving semistructured interviews with parents and caregivers of children who presented to hospital with a severe acute exacerbation of asthma. Setting: Hospitals in 12 countries associated with the global Pediatric Emergency Research Networks, including high-income and middle-income countries. Interviews were conducted face-to-face, by teleconference/video-call, or by phone. Findings: Overall, there were 54 interviews with parents and caregivers; 2 interviews also involved the child. Hospital length of stay, intensive care unit or high-dependency unit (HDU) admission, and treatment costs were highlighted as important outcomes influencing the patient and family experience. Other potential clinical trial outcomes included work of breathing, speed of recovery and side effects. In addition, the patient and family experience was impacted by decision-making leading up to seeking hospital care, transit to hospital, waiting times and the use of intravenous treatment. Satisfaction of care was related to communication with clinicians and frequent reassessment. Conclusions: This study provides insight into the outcomes that parents and caregivers believe to be the most important to be considered in the process of developing a COS for the treatment of acute severe exacerbations of asthma.
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in paediatric cardiac surgery: 5-year single centre experience

    Bezuska, Laurynas; Harvey, Chris; Omeje, Ikenna; Mimic, Branko (2023-11-10)
    Background: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has become an integral part of paediatric cardiac surgery. We report the experience of a well-established ECMO service over 5 years. Methods: This retrospective study analysed all paediatric patients who required ECMO support following cardiac surgery from April 2015 to March 2020. Inclusion criteria were age less than 18 years and post-operative ECMO support. Patients were analysed dividing into groups according to the urgency for ECMO support (extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) and cardiac ECMO) and according to age (neonatal and paediatric ECMO groups). They were followed for 30-day, 6-month mortality, long-term survival, postoperative morbidity and the need for reintervention. Results: Forty-six patients were included who had a total of venoarterial (VA) 8 ECMO runs. The 5-year incidence of the need for VA ECMO after cardiac surgery was 3.3% (48 of the overall 1441 cases recorded). The median follow-up period was 3.5 (interquartile ranges, 0.8-4.7) years. Thirty-day, 6-month and follow-up survival rate was 85%, 65% and 52% respectively. At the 6-month follow-up, the ECPR group showed a trend towards worse survival compared with the cardiac ECMO group (47% vs. 55%) but with no statistical significance (p = 0.35). Furthermore, the survival rates between paediatric (60%) and neonatal (46%) ECMO groups were similar, with no statistical significance (p = 0.45). The rate of acute neurological events was 27% (13/48). Conclusion: ECPR and neonatal ECMO groups had higher mortality. VA ECMO 30-day and 6-month survival rates were 85% and 65% respectively. Major neurological injury resulting in ECMO termination occurred in 3 patients. Accumulated experiences and protocols in ECMO management can improve mortality and morbidity.
  • Outcomes of Early Oral Feeding Compared to Delayed Feeding in Children after Elective Distal Bowel Anastomosis

    Eradi, Bala (2023-09)
    Background: Conventionally, oral feeds after distal bowel anastomosis surgery (ileostomy/colostomy closure) are delayed until after bowel peristalsis is established. The safety of an early feeding regimen is not established in children. This study compared early feeding regimens with delayed feeding in children undergoing elective intestinal anastomosis surgeries. Materials and methods: In this retrospective multicentric cohort study, children undergoing elective distal bowel anastomosis surgery were divided into Group A (oral feeds allowed within 6 h) and Group B (delayed feeds). The two groups were compared for the incidence of abdomen distension, vomiting, surgical site infection, duration of analgesia, length of hospital stay, and readmission rate. Results: During the study, 58 patients were included: Group A (n = 26) and Group B (n = 32). The duration of analgesia (1.9 vs. 4.01 days) and length of hospital stay (3.38 vs. 5.0 days) were significantly less in Group A. Abdominal distension (7.7% vs. 15.6%), vomiting (11.5% vs. 15.6%), surgical site infection rate (3.8% vs. 12.5%), and readmissions (0% vs. 3.1%) were less in Group A, but statistically not significant. Conclusion: Early feeding after the elective restoration of distal bowel continuity can be safely practiced in the pediatric population. It is associated with a reduced need for analgesia and shorter hospital stay.
  • Reporting quality of abstracts and inconsistencies with full text articles in pediatric orthopedic publications

    Ahmed Kamel, Sherif (23/08/2023)
    Background: Abstracts should provide a brief yet comprehensive reporting of all components of a manuscript. Inaccurate reporting may mislead readers and impact citation practices. It was our goal to investigate the reporting quality of abstracts of interventional observational studies in three major pediatric orthopedic journals and to analyze any reporting inconsistencies between those abstracts and their corresponding full-text articles. Methods: We selected a sample of 55 abstracts and their full-text articles published between 2018 and 2022. Included articles were primary therapeutic research investigating the results of treatments or interventions. Abstracts were scrutinized for reporting quality and inconsistencies with their full-text versions with a 22-itemized checklist. The reporting quality of titles was assessed by a 3-items categorical scale. Results: In 48 (87%) of articles there were abstract reporting inaccuracies related to patient demographics. The study's follow-up and complications were not reported in 21 (38%) of abstracts each. Most common inconsistencies between the abstracts and full-text articles were related to reporting of inclusion or exclusion criteria in 39 (71%) and study correlations in 27 (49%) of articles. Reporting quality of the titles was insufficient in 33 (60%) of articles. Conclusions: In our study we found low reporting quality of abstracts and noticeable inconsistencies with full-text articles, especially regarding inclusion or exclusion criteria and study correlations. While the current sample is likely not representative of overall pediatric orthopedic literature, we recommend that authors, reviewers, and editors ensure abstracts are reported accurately, ideally following the appropriate reporting guidelines, and that they double check that there are no inconsistencies between abstracts and full text articles. To capture essential study information, journals should also consider increasing abstract word limits.
  • Have the UK Pediatric Trauma Protocols resulted in a reduction in chest computed tomography imaging for children presenting with major blunt trauma?

    Roland, Damian (2023-09-19)
    Objectives: To observe variation in imaging requests after publication of the Royal College of Radiologists UK Paediatric Trauma Protocols in 2014, recommending limited use of thoracic computed tomography (CT) to appropriately clinically risk stratified children. Method: A retrospective observational study using data from the Trauma Audit & Research Network in the United Kingdom, for children (0-16 years of age) for the years 2012-2021. Percentages were calculated to facilitate comparison between year groups (under 1 year of age, 1-10 years of age, 11-15 years of age), and CT imaging categories reviewed: (1) whole-body CT (WBCT); (2) abdominopelvic CT (CTAP) with chest radiograph (CXR); (3) chest, abdomen, and pelvic CT (CTCAP) with CXR; (4) CTCAP without CXR; and (5) other imaging. Results: Increased use of the recommended protocol (CXR with CTAP) was observed after guidance publication but was not sustained: infants under 1 year old, 0.0% in 2012, 7% in 2017, 0.0% in 2021; 1-10-year-olds, 4% in 2012, 13.9% in 2017, 5.5% in 2021; 11-15-year-olds, 7.1% in 2012, 10.2% in 2017, 6.6% in 2021. Requests for WBCT increased from 2012-2021 (all age groups, 2.4%, 2012, to 5.3%, 2021) and requests for CTCAP were consistently at a higher level than that of the recommended protocol. Conclusion: The increased use of CXR with CTAP after publication of the guidelines, was not sustained with a decreasing trend observed from ∼2017, raising concern for the ionizing radiation burden in this population.
  • Developing rights-based standards for children having tests, treatments, examinations and interventions: using a collaborative, multi-phased, multi-method and multi-stakeholder approach to build consensus

    Roland, Damian (2023-08-11)
    Children continue to experience harm when undergoing clinical procedures despite increased evidence of the need to improve the provision of child-centred care. The international ISupport collaboration aimed to develop standards to outline and explain good procedural practice and the rights of children within the context of a clinical procedure. The rights-based standards for children undergoing tests, treatments, investigations, examinations and interventions were developed using an iterative, multi-phased, multi-method and multi-stakeholder consensus building approach. This consensus approach used a range of online and face to face methods across three phases to ensure ongoing engagement with multiple stakeholders. The views and perspectives of 203 children and young people, 78 parents and 418 multi-disciplinary professionals gathered over a two year period (2020-2022) informed the development of international rights-based standards for the care of children having tests, treatments, examinations and interventions. The standards are the first to reach international multi-stakeholder consensus on definitions of supportive and restraining holds. Conclusion: This is the first study of its kind which outlines international rights-based procedural care standards from multi-stakeholder perspectives. The standards offer health professionals and educators clear evidence-based tools to support discussions and practice changes to challenge prevailing assumptions about holding or restraining children and instead encourage a focus on the interests and rights of the child. What is Known: • Children continue to experience short and long-term harm when undergoing clinical procedures despite increased evidence of the need to improve the provision of child-centred care. • Professionals report uncertainty and tensions in applying evidence-based practice to children's procedural care. What is New: • This is the first study of its kind which has developed international rights-based procedural care standards from multi-stakeholder perspectives. • The standards are the first to reach international multi-stakeholder consensus on definitions of supportive and restraining holds.
  • Personalised management and supporting individuals to live with their asthma in a primary care setting

    Lo, David (2023-08-03)
    Introduction: Complementing recognition of biomedical phenotypes, a primary care approach to asthma care recognizes diversity of disease, health beliefs, and lifestyle at a population and individual level. Areas covered: We review six aspects of personalized care particularly pertinent to primary care management of asthma: personalizing support for individuals living with asthma; targeting asthma care within populations; managing phenotypes of wheezy pre-school children; personalizing management to the individual; meeting individual preferences for provision of asthma care; optimizing digital approaches to enhance personalized care. Expert opinion: In a primary care setting, personalized management and supporting individuals to live with asthma extend beyond the contemporary concepts of biological phenotypes and pharmacological 'treatable traits' to encompass evidence-based tailored support for self-management, and delivery of patient-centered care including motivational interviewing. It extends to how we organize clinical practiceand the choices provided in mode of consultation. Diagnostic uncertainty due to recognition of phenotypes of pre-school wheeze remains a challenge for primary care. Digital health can support personalized management, but there are concerns about increasing inequities. This broad approach reflects the traditionally holistic ethos of primary care ('knowing their patients and understanding their communities'), but the core concepts resonate with all healthcare.
  • Ethnic differences in cellular and humoral immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in UK healthcare workers: a cross-sectional analysis

    Martin, Christopher; Nazareth, Joshua; Pan, Daniel; Ahmed, Aleem; Bandi, Srini; George, Nisha; Gohar, Marjan; Mangwani, Jitendra; Moorthy, Arumugam; Renals, Valerie; et al. (2023-04-04)
    Background: Few studies have compared SARS-CoV-2 vaccine immunogenicity by ethnic group. We sought to establish whether cellular and humoral immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination differ according to ethnicity in UK Healthcare workers (HCWs). Methods: In this cross-sectional analysis, we used baseline data from two immunological cohort studies conducted in HCWs in Leicester, UK. Blood samples were collected between March 3, and September 16, 2021. We excluded HCW who had not received two doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine at the time of sampling and those who had serological evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. Outcome measures were SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific total antibody titre, neutralising antibody titre and ELISpot count. We compared our outcome measures by ethnic group using univariable (t tests and rank-sum tests depending on distribution) and multivariable (linear regression for antibody titres and negative binomial regression for ELISpot counts) tests. Multivariable analyses were adjusted for age, sex, vaccine type, length of interval between vaccine doses and time between vaccine administration and sample collection and expressed as adjusted geometric mean ratios (aGMRs) or adjusted incidence rate ratios (aIRRs). To assess differences in the early immune response to vaccination we also conducted analyses in a subcohort who provided samples between 14 and 50 days after their second dose of vaccine. Findings: The total number of HCWs in each analysis were 401 for anti-spike antibody titres, 345 for neutralising antibody titres and 191 for ELISpot. Overall, 25.4% (19.7% South Asian and 5.7% Black/Mixed/Other) were from ethnic minority groups. In analyses including the whole cohort, neutralising antibody titres were higher in South Asian HCWs than White HCWs (aGMR 1.47, 95% CI [1.06-2.06], P = 0.02) as were T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 S1 peptides (aIRR 1.75, 95% CI [1.05-2.89], P = 0.03). In a subcohort sampled between 14 and 50 days after second vaccine dose, SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific antibody and neutralising antibody geometric mean titre (GMT) was higher in South Asian HCWs compared to White HCWs (9616 binding antibody units (BAU)/ml, 95% CI [7178-12,852] vs 5888 BAU/ml [5023-6902], P = 0.008 and 2851 95% CI [1811-4487] vs 1199 [984-1462], P < 0.001 respectively), increments which persisted after adjustment (aGMR 1.26, 95% CI [1.01-1.58], P = 0.04 and aGMR 2.01, 95% CI [1.34-3.01], P = 0.001). SARS-CoV-2 ELISpot responses to S1 and whole spike peptides (S1 + S2 response) were higher in HCWs from South Asian ethnic groups than those from White groups (S1: aIRR 2.33, 95% CI [1.09-4.94], P = 0.03; spike: aIRR, 2.04, 95% CI [1.02-4.08]). Interpretation: This study provides evidence that, in an infection naïve cohort, humoral and cellular immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination are stronger in South Asian HCWs than White HCWs. These differences are most clearly seen in the early period following vaccination. Further research is required to understand the underlying mechanisms, whether differences persist with further exposure to vaccine or virus, and the potential impact on vaccine effectiveness. Funding: DIRECT and BELIEVE have received funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the COVID-19 National Core Studies Immunity (NCSi) programme (MC_PC_20060).
  • Sedation and analgesia for reduction of pediatric ileocolic intussusception

    Roland, Damian (2023-06-07)
    Importance: Ileocolic intussusception is an important cause of intestinal obstruction in children. Reduction of ileocolic intussusception using air or fluid enema is the standard of care. This likely distressing procedure is usually performed without sedation or analgesia, but practice variation exists. Objective: To characterize the prevalence of opioid analgesia and sedation and assess their association with intestinal perforation and failed reduction. Design, setting, and participants: This cross-sectional study reviewed medical records of children aged 4 to 48 months with attempted reduction of ileocolic intussusception at 86 pediatric tertiary care institutions in 14 countries from January 2017 to December 2019. Of 3555 eligible medical records, 352 were excluded, and 3203 medical records were eligible. Data were analyzed in August 2022. Exposures: Reduction of ileocolic intussusception. Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcomes were opioid analgesia within 120 minutes of reduction based on the therapeutic window of IV morphine and sedation immediately before reduction of intussusception. Results: We included 3203 patients (median [IQR] age, 17 [9-27] months; 2054 of 3203 [64.1%] males). Opioid use was documented in 395 of 3134 patients (12.6%), sedation 334 of 3161 patients (10.6%), and opioids plus sedation in 178 of 3134 patients (5.7%). Perforation was uncommon and occurred in 13 of 3203 patients (0.4%). In the unadjusted analysis, opioids plus sedation (odds ratio [OR], 5.92; 95% CI, 1.28-27.42; P = .02) and a greater number of reduction attempts (OR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.03-2.11; P = .03) were significantly associated with perforation. In the adjusted analysis, neither of these covariates remained significant. Reductions were successful in 2700 of 3184 attempts (84.8%). In the unadjusted analysis, younger age, no pain assessment at triage, opioids, longer duration of symptoms, hydrostatic enema, and gastrointestinal anomaly were significantly associated with failed reduction. In the adjusted analysis, only younger age (OR, 1.05 per month; 95% CI, 1.03-1.06 per month; P < .001), shorter duration of symptoms (OR, 0.96 per hour; 95% CI, 0.94-0.99 per hour; P = .002), and gastrointestinal anomaly (OR, 6.50; 95% CI, 2.04-20.64; P = .002) remained significant. Conclusions and relevance: This cross-sectional study of pediatric ileocolic intussusception found that more than two-thirds of patients received neither analgesia nor sedation. Neither was associated with intestinal perforation or failed reduction, challenging the widespread practice of withholding analgesia and sedation for reduction of ileocolic intussusception in children.
  • Decision challenges for managing acute paediatric infections: Implications for antimicrobial resistance

    Roland, Damian (2023-04-28)
    Overprescribing of antibiotics in paediatrics accounts for a significant proportion of inappropriate antibiotic use in human healthcare, thereby contributing to the global health emergency of antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial stewardship efforts are complicated by the unique social dynamics in paediatric healthcare, with a specific challenge being the prominent role of parents and carers who act as intermediaries between prescribers and paediatric patients. In this Perspective article concentrating on healthcare of the United Kingdom, we describe this complicated interplay of different decision stakeholders (patients, parents and prescribers), outline four dimensions of decision challenges (social, psychological, systemic and specific diagnostic and treatment challenges) and provide a number of theory-based strategies for supporting different stakeholders during the decision process, ultimately with the aim of improving antimicrobial stewardship. Key decision challenges for patients and carers include limited knowledge and experience of managing infections, which were exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic and frequently result in health anxiety and inappropriate health-seeking behaviours. Challenges for medical prescribers span societal pressures from prominent patient litigation cases, cognitive biases, and system pressures to specific diagnostic problems (e.g., age limitations of current clinical scoring systems). Strategies for mitigating decision challenges in paediatric infection management will need to include a range of context- and stakeholder-specific actions, including improvements of integrated care and public health education as well as better clinical decision tools and access to evidence-based guidelines.
  • Children presenting with diabetes and diabetic ketoacidosis to Emergency Departments during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK and Ireland: an international retrospective observational study

    Roland, Damian (2023-05-17)
    Objectives: To describe the incidence of new onset paediatric diabetes mellitus, clinical characteristics and patterns of presentation to emergency departments (ED) during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to assess whether this increase was associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Design: Retrospective medical record review. Setting: Forty nine paediatric EDs across the UK and Ireland. Patients: All children aged 6 months to 16 years presenting to EDs with (1) new onset diabetes or (2) pre-existing diabetes with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), during the COVID-19 pandemic (1 March 2020-28 February 2021) and the preceding year (1 March 2019-28 February 2020). Results: There were increases in new onset diabetes (1015 to 1183, 17%), compared with background incidence of 3%-5% in the UK over the past 5 years. There were increases in children presenting with new onset diabetes in DKA (395 to 566, 43%), severe DKA (141 to 252, 79%) and admissions to intensive care (38 to 72, 89%). Increased severity was reflected in biochemical and physiological parameters and administration of fluid boluses. Time to presentation from symptom onset for children presenting with new onset diabetes and DKA were similar across both years; healthcare seeking delay did not appear to be the sole contributing factor to DKA during the pandemic. Patterns of presentation changed in the pandemic year and seasonal variation was lost. Children with pre-existing diabetes presented with fewer episodes of decompensation. Conclusions: There were increases in new onset diabetes in children and a higher risk of DKA in the first COVID pandemic year.

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