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Most US states have now legalized medical marijuana (MMJ) use, giving new hope to families dealing with chronic illness, despite only limited data showing efficacy. Access to MMJ has presented several challenges for patients and families, providers, and pediatric hospitals, including the discrepancy between state and federal law, potential patient safety issues, and drug interaction concerns. Colorado was one of the first states to legalize MMJ and has remained at the forefront in addressing these challenges. Children’s Hospital Colorado has created and evolved its MMJ inpatient use policy and has developed a unique consultative service consisting of a clinical pharmacist and social worker. This service supports patients and families and primary clinical services in situations in which MMJ is actively being used or considered by a pediatric patient. The first 50 patients seen by this consultative service are reported. Eighty percent of patients seen had an oncologic diagnosis. Symptoms to be ameliorated by active or potential MMJ use included nausea and vomiting, appetite stimulation, seizures, and pain. In 64% of patients, MMJ use was determined to be potentially unsafe, most often because of potential drug-drug interactions. In 68% of patients, a recommendation was made to either avoid MMJ use or adjust its administration schedule. As pediatric hospitals address the topic of MMJ use in their patients, development of institutional policy and clinical support services with specific expertise in MMJ is a recommended step to support patient and families and hospital team members.
That African American (AA) patients have poorer surgical outcomes compared with their white peers is established. The prevailing presumption is that these disparities operate within the context of a higher preoperative comorbidity burden among AA patients. Whether these racial differences in outcomes exist among apparently healthy children (traditionally expected to have low risk of postsurgical complications) has not been previously investigated.METHODS:
We performed a retrospective study by analyzing the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program–Pediatric database from 2012 through 2017 and identifying children who underwent inpatient operations and were assigned American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status 1 or 2. We used univariable and risk-adjusted logistic regression to estimate the odds ratios and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of postsurgical outcomes comparing AA to white children.RESULTS:
Among 172 549 apparently healthy children, the incidence of 30-day mortality, postoperative complications, and serious adverse events were 0.02%, 13.9%, and 5.7%, respectively. Compared with their white peers, AA children had 3.43 times the odds of dying within 30 days after surgery (odds ratio: 3.43; 95% CI: 1.73–6.79). Compared with being white, AA had 18% relative greater odds of developing postoperative complications (odds ratio: 1.18; 95% CI: 1.13–1.23) and 7% relative higher odds of developing serious adverse events (odds ratio: 1.07; 95% CI: 1.01–1.14).CONCLUSIONS:
Even among apparently healthy children, being AA is strongly associated with a higher risk of postoperative complications and mortality. Mechanisms underlying the established racial differences in postoperative outcomes may not be fully explained by the racial variation in preoperative comorbidity.
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are increasingly being used in adolescents and nulliparous women for contraception. Levonorgestrel IUDs also have beneficial effects on bleeding and pain. Although they are recommended for menstrual suppression in adolescents with disabilities, there are limited data on their use in this population. Our objective is to describe the characteristics and experiences of levonorgestrel IUD use in nulliparous children, adolescents, and young adults with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities.METHODS:
A retrospective chart review was conducted for all nulliparous patients ages ≤22 with physical, intellectual, or developmental disabilities who had levonorgestrel IUDs placed between July 1, 2004, and June 30, 2014, at a tertiary-care children’s hospital. Descriptive statistical analysis and survival analysis were performed.RESULTS:
In total, 185 levonorgestrel IUDs were placed in 159 patients with disabilities. The mean age was 16.3 (3.3; range of 9–22) years. Only 4% had ever been sexually active; 96% of IUDs were inserted in the operating room. IUD continuation rate at 1 year was 95% (95% confidence interval: 93%–100%) and at 5 years was 73% (95% confidence interval: 66%–83%). The amenorrhea rate was ~60% throughout the duration of IUD use among those with available follow-up data. Side effects and complications were ≤3%.CONCLUSIONS:
In this study, we provide evidence for the therapeutic benefit and safety of levonorgestrel IUD use in adolescents and young adults with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities. It should be considered as a menstrual management and contraceptive option for this population.
To determine if a home oxygen therapy (HOT) management strategy that includes analysis of recorded home oximetry (RHO) data, compared with standard monthly clinic visit assessments, reduces duration of HOT without harm in premature infants.METHODS:
The RHO trial was an unmasked randomized clinical trial conducted in 9 US medical centers from November 2013 to December 2017, with follow-up to February 2019. Preterm infants with birth gestation ≤37 + 0/7 weeks, discharged on HOT, and attending their first pulmonary visit were enrolled. The intervention was an analysis of transmitted RHO between clinic visits (n = 97); the standard-care group received monthly clinic visits with in-clinic weaning attempts (n = 99). The primary outcomes were the duration of HOT and parent-reported quality of life. There were 2 prespecified secondary safety outcomes: change in weight and adverse events within 6 months of HOT discontinuation.RESULTS:
Among 196 randomly assigned infants (mean birth gestational age: 26.9 weeks; SD: 2.6 weeks; 37.8% female), 166 (84.7%) completed the trial. In the RHO group, the mean time to discontinue HOT was 78.1 days (SE: 6.4), compared with 100.1 days (SE: 8.0) in the standard-care group (P = .03). The quality-of-life scores improved from baseline to 3 months after discontinuation of HOT in both groups (P = .002), but the degree of improvement did not differ significantly between groups (P = .75).CONCLUSIONS:
RHO was effective in reducing the duration of HOT in premature infants. Parent quality of life improved after discontinuation. RHO allows physicians to determine which infants can be weaned and which need prolonged oxygen therapy between monthly visits.
Because of the impact of continuous pulse oximetry (CPOX) on the overdiagnosis of hypoxemia in bronchiolitis, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Choosing Wisely campaign have issued recommendations for intermittent monitoring. Parental preferences for monitoring may impact adoption of these recommendations, but these perspectives are poorly understood.METHODS:
Using this cross-sectional survey, we explored parental perspectives on CPOX monitoring before discharge and 1 week after bronchiolitis hospitalizations. During the 1-week call, half of the participants were randomly assigned to receive a verbal statement on the potential harms of CPOX to determine if conveying the concept of overdiagnosis can change parental preferences on monitoring frequency. An aggregate variable measuring favorable perceptions of CPOX was created to determine CPOX affinity predictors.RESULTS:
In-hospital interviews were completed on 357 patients, of which 306 (86%) completed the 1-week follow-up. Although 25% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that hospital monitors made them feel anxious, 98% agreed that the monitors were helpful. Compared to other vital signs, respiratory rate (87%) and oxygen saturation (84%) were commonly rated as "extremely important." Providing an educational statement on CPOX comparatively decreased parental desire for continuous monitoring (40% vs 20%; P < .001). Although there were no significant predictors of CPOX affinity, the effect size of the educational intervention was higher in college-educated parents.CONCLUSIONS:
Parents find security in CPOX. A brief statement on the potential harms of CPOX use had an impact on stated monitoring preferences. Parental perspectives are important to consider because they may influence the adoption of intermittent monitoring.
Preterm birth is associated with incident heart failure in children and young adults.OBJECTIVE:
To determine the effect size of preterm birth on cardiac remodeling from birth to young adulthood.DATA SOURCES:
Data sources include Medline, Embase, Scopus, Cochrane databases, and clinical trial registries (inception to March 25, 2020).STUDY SELECTION:
Studies in which cardiac phenotype was compared between preterm individuals born at <37 weeks’ gestation and age-matched term controls were included.DATA EXTRACTION:
Random-effects models were used to calculate weighted mean differences with corresponding 95% confidence intervals.RESULTS:
Thirty-two observational studies were included (preterm = 1471; term = 1665). All measures of left ventricular (LV) and right ventricular (RV) systolic function were lower in preterm neonates, including LV ejection fraction (P = .01). Preterm LV ejection fraction was similar from infancy, although LV stroke volume index was lower in young adulthood. Preterm LV peak early diastolic tissue velocity was lower throughout development, although preterm diastolic function worsened with higher estimated filling pressures from infancy. RV longitudinal strain was lower in preterm-born individuals of all ages, proportional to the degree of prematurity (R2 = 0.64; P = .002). Preterm-born individuals had persistently smaller LV internal dimensions, lower indexed LV end-diastolic volume in young adulthood, and an increase in indexed LV mass, compared with controls, of 0.71 g/m2 per year from childhood (P = .007).LIMITATIONS:
The influence of preterm-related complications on cardiac phenotype could not be fully explored.CONCLUSIONS:
Preterm-born individuals have morphologic and functional cardiac impairments across developmental stages. These changes may make the preterm heart more vulnerable to secondary insults, potentially underlying their increased risk of early heart failure.
Despite the established safety and efficacy of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine after almost 50 years of widespread use, the United States is encountering higher levels of measles and mumps disease than has occurred for years. Return of disease threatens the health of those who remain unimmunized by choice as well as those who are immunized appropriately but experience loss of vaccine-induced immunity. The solution to continued threats of illness caused by these untreatable but readily preventable diseases is compliance with recommendations for administration of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. Here we examine trends in the epidemiology of measles, mumps, and rubella in recent years and consider the consequences of loss of protective immunity within our country.
Children insured by Medicaid have higher readmission rates than privately insured children. However, little is known about whether this disparity has changed over time.METHODS:
Data from the 2010 to 2017 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Readmissions Database were used to compare trends in 30-day readmission rates for children insured by Medicaid and private insurers. Patient-level crude and risk-adjusted readmission rates were compared by using Poisson regression. Hospital-level risk-adjusted readmission rates were compared between Medicaid- and privately insured patients within a hospital by using linear regression.RESULTS:
Approximately 60% of pediatric admissions were covered by Medicaid. From 2010 to 2017, the percentage of children with a complex or chronic condition increased for both Medicaid- and privately insured patients. Readmission rates were consistently higher for Medicaid beneficiaries from 2010 to 2017. Readmission rates declined slightly for both Medicaid- and privately insured patients; however, they declined faster for privately insured patients (rate ratio: 0.988 [95% confidence interval: 0.986–0.989] vs 0.995 [95% confidence interval: 0.994–0.996], P for interaction <.001]). After adjustment, readmission rates for Medicaid- and privately insured patients declined at a similar rate (P for interaction = .87). Risk-adjusted hospital readmission rates were also consistently higher for Medicaid beneficiaries. The within-hospital difference in readmission rates for Medicaid versus privately insured patients remained stable over time (slope for difference: 0.015 [SE 0.011], P = .019).CONCLUSIONS:
Readmission rates for Medicaid- and privately insured pediatric patients declined slightly from 2010 to 2017 but remained substantially higher among Medicaid beneficiaries suggesting a persistence of the disparity by insurance status.
Early Childhood Health Outcomes Following In Utero Exposure to Influenza Vaccines: A Systematic Review
Vaccination during pregnancy is an effective strategy for preventing infant disease; however, little is known about early childhood health after maternal vaccination.OBJECTIVES:
To systematically review the literature on early childhood health associated with exposure to influenza vaccines in utero.DATA SOURCES:
We searched CINAHL Plus, Embase, Medline, Scopus, and Web of Science for relevant articles published from inception to July 24, 2019.STUDY SELECTION:
We included studies published in English reporting original data with measurement of in utero exposure to influenza vaccines and health outcomes among children <5 years of age.DATA EXTRACTION:
Two authors independently assessed eligibility and extracted data on study design, setting, population, vaccines, outcomes, and results.RESULTS:
The search yielded 3647 records, of which 9 studies met the inclusion criteria. Studies examined infectious, atopic, autoimmune, and neurodevelopmental outcomes, and all-cause morbidity and mortality. Authors of 2 studies reported an inverse association between pandemic influenza vaccination and upper respiratory tract infections, gastrointestinal infections, and all-cause hospitalizations; and authors of 2 studies reported modest increased association between several childhood disorders and pandemic or seasonal influenza vaccination, which, after adjusting for confounding and multiple comparisons, were not statistically significant.LIMITATIONS:
Given the small number of studies addressing similarly defined outcomes, meta-analyses were deemed not possible.CONCLUSIONS:
Results from the few studies in which researchers have examined outcomes in children older than 6 months of age did not identify an association between exposure to influenza vaccines in utero and adverse childhood health outcomes.
Acute nystagmus (AN) is an uncommon neurologic sign in children presenting to pediatric emergency departments. We described the epidemiology, clinical features, and underlying causes of AN in a large cohort of children, aiming at identifying features associated with higher risk of severe underlying urgent conditions (UCs).METHODS:
Clinical records of all patients aged 0 to 18 years presenting for AN to the pediatric emergency departments of 9 Italian hospitals in an 8-year period were retrospectively reviewed. Clinical and demographic features and the underlying causes were analyzed. A logistic regression model was applied to detect predictive variables associated with a higher risk of UCs.RESULTS:
A total of 206 patients with AN were included (male-to-female ratio: 1.01; mean age: 8 years 11 months). The most frequently associated symptoms were headache (43.2%) and vertigo (42.2%). Ataxia (17.5%) and strabismus (13.1%) were the most common neurologic signs. Migraine (25.7%) and vestibular disorders (14.1%) were the most common causes of AN. Idiopathic infantile nystagmus was the most common cause in infants <1 year of age. UCs accounted for 18.9% of all cases, mostly represented by brain tumors (8.3%). Accordant with the logistic model, cranial nerve deficits, ataxia, or strabismus were strongly associated with an underlying UC. Presence of vertigo or attribution of a nonurgent triage code was associated with a reduced risk of UCs.CONCLUSIONS:
AN should be considered an alarming finding in children given the risk of severe UCs. Cranial nerve palsy, ataxia, and strabismus should be considered red flags during the assessment of a child with AN.
Long-term outcomes of urinary tract infection (UTI) in childhood are not well known. Pregnancy may reveal latent renal damage caused by a UTI because of stress on the kidneys.METHODS:
Our cohort included adult women with an ultrasonography taken because of a childhood UTI in 1981–1991 (N = 1175). Nine women with a severe congenital kidney malformation or urinary tract obstruction were excluded. Altogether, 260 mothers with a childhood UTI and 500 population-based control mothers without a childhood UTI matched for age, and delivery dates were compared. Our primary end point was the proportion of women with essential or gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, proteinuria, or pyelonephritis during the first pregnancy.RESULTS:
The pregnancy outcomes of the women with a UTI in childhood did not differ from those of the controls because 105 of 260 (40%) patients met the primary end point compared with 204 of 500 (41%) controls (relative risk [RR] 0.99; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.82 to 1.2; P = .91). Similarly, there were no significant differences between the 2 groups in essential hypertension (RR 1.0; 95% CI 0.65 to 1.6; P = .92), gestational hypertension (RR 0.93; 95% CI 0.74 to 1.2; P = .54), preeclampsia (RR 1.5; 95% CI 0.91 to 2.5; P = .11), proteinuria (RR 1.2; 95% CI 0.81 to 1.8; P = .36) or pyelonephritis (2 controls and none of the patients; P = .55) during the first pregnancy.CONCLUSIONS:
Childhood UTIs did not increase the risk of pregnancy-related complications in this controlled population-based study. Thus, UTIs in childhood without severe urinary tract abnormalities appear to have a minimal effect on kidney health in early adulthood.
To control the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the virus responsible for coronavirus disease 2019, many hospitals have strict visitor restriction policies. These policies often prohibit both parents from visiting at the same time or having grandparents or other family members visit at all. We discuss cases in which such policies created ethical dilemmas and possibly called for compassionate exceptions from the general rules.