The latest medical research on Pediatrics

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about pediatrics gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Diagnostic Errors in Pediatric Critical Care: A Systematic Review.

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

To summarize the literature on prevalence, impact, and contributing factors related to diagnostic error in the PICU.

Data on research design, objectives, study sample, and results pertaining to the prevalence, impact, and factors associated with diagnostic error were abstracted from each study.

Using independent tiered review, 396 abstracts were screened, and 17 studies (14 full-text, 3 abstracts) were ultimately included. Fifteen of 17 studies (88%) had an observational research design. Autopsy studies (autopsy rates were 20-47%) showed a 10-23% rate of missed major diagnoses; 5-16% of autopsy-discovered diagnostic errors had a potential adverse impact on survival and would have changed management. Retrospective record reviews reported varying rates of diagnostic error from 8% in a general PICU population to 12% among unexpected critical admissions and 21-25% of patients discussed at PICU morbidity and mortality conferences. Cardiovascular, infectious, congenital, and neurologic conditions were most commonly misdiagnosed. Systems factors (40-67%), cognitive factors (20-3%), and both systems and cognitive factors (40%) were associated with diagnostic error. Limited information was available on the impact of misdiagnosis.

Knowledge of diagnostic errors in the PICU is limited. Future work to understand diagnostic errors should involve a balanced focus between studying the diagnosis of individual diseases and uncovering common system- and process-related determinants of diagnostic error.

Assessment of Vocal Cord Motion Using Laryngeal Ultrasound in Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

Laryngeal ultrasound is a nonirradiating, noninvasive method for assessing the upper airway in children. This systematic review and meta-analysis examine available evidence for accuracy of laryngeal ultrasound in diagnosing vocal cord immobility in infants and children after surgery and trauma affecting the vocal cords.

No restrictions on study settings were imposed in this systematic review.

The initial search returned 1,357 citations. After de-duplication, abstract, and full review, eight citations were included in the final meta-analysis. A bivariate random-effects meta-analysis was performed, which revealed a pooled sensitivity for laryngeal ultrasound in detecting vocal cord immobility of 91% (95% CI, 83-95%), specificity of 97% (95% CI, 82-100%), diagnostic odds ratio 333.56 (95% CI, 34.00-3,248.71), positive likelihood ratio 31.58 (95% CI, 4.50-222.05), and negative likelihood ratio 0.09 (95% CI, 0.05-0.19).

Laryngeal ultrasound demonstrates high sensitivity and specificity for detecting vocal cord motion in children in a wide range of clinical settings. Laryngeal ultrasound offers a low-risk imaging option for assessing vocal cord function in children compared with the current gold standard of laryngoscopy.

Subglottic Post-Extubation Upper Airway Obstruction Is Associated With Long-Term Airway Morbidity in Children.

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

Post-extubation upper airway obstruction is the most common cause of extubation failure in children, but there are few data regarding long-term morbidity. We aim to describe the frequency of long-term airway sequelae in intubated children and determine the association with post-extubation upper airway obstruction.


New airway anomalies were identified in 40 of 327 children (12.2%). Patients labeled with subglottic upper airway obstruction at the index extubation were more likely to be diagnosed with new airway anomalies on subsequent follow-up, receive long-term Otolaryngology follow-up, or receive airway surgery (all p ≤ 0.006). In multivariable modeling, upper airway obstruction as the primary reason for initial intubation (odds ratio, 3.71; CI, 1.50-9.19), reintubation during the index ICU admission (odds ratio, 4.44; CI, 1.67-11.80), pre-index airway anomaly (odds ratio, 3.31; CI, 1.36-8.01), and post-extubation subglottic upper airway obstruction (odds ratio, 3.50; CI, 1.46-8.34) remained independently associated with the diagnosis of new airway anomalies.

Post-extubation subglottic upper airway obstruction is associated with a three-fold greater odds of long-term airway morbidity. These patients may represent an at-risk population that should be monitored closely after leaving the ICU.

Cardiopulmonary Bypass-Induced Inflammation and Myocardial Ischemia and Reperfusion Injury Stimulates Accumulation of Soluble MER.

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

Soluble MER has emerged as a potential biomarker for delayed resolution of inflammation after myocardial injury and a therapeutic target to reduce cardiac-related morbidity and mortality in adults. The significance of soluble MER in pediatric populations, however, is unclear. We sought to investigate if soluble MER concentrations change in response to myocardial ischemia and reperfusion injury in pediatric patients. In parallel, we also sought to investigate for correlations between the change in soluble MER concentration and specific patient, bypass, and postoperative data.

Retrospective analyses of pediatric blood specimens, as well as patient, bypass, and postoperative data, were performed.

We observed a statistically significant increase in soluble MER concentration post cardiac bypass in 17 of 24 patients (71%).

Soluble MER concentrations increase with cardiopulmonary bypass-induced inflammation and myocardial ischemia and reperfusion injury in pediatric patients. The utility of soluble MER as a clinical biomarker to identify pediatric patients at risk for exacerbated postoperative outcomes after bypass-induced myocardial ischemia and reperfusion injury requires further investigation.

Clinical Care Strategies That Support Parents of Children With Complex Chronic Conditions.

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

Children with complex chronic conditions often receive inpatient and end-of-life care in the ICU, yet little is known about the clinical care strategies that best support this unique group of parents. This study aimed to elucidate supportive clinical care strategies identified by bereaved parents of children with complex chronic conditions.


An iterative multistage thematic analysis of responses was used to identify key themes pertaining to clinical care strategies that support parents of children with complex chronic conditions. Open-ended responses were analyzed from 110 of 114 (96%) of survey respondents. The majority of parents had children with congenital/chromosomal complex chronic conditions who died 3.9 years (interquartile range, 2.2-6.7 yr) prior to their parents' study participation. Although informational themes related to clear honest communication, consistent messaging, and enhanced care coordination were identified, parents emphasized the relational aspects of clinical care including inclusivity of their expertise about their child's needs, recognition of their unique experience as parents, and maintenance of connection with clinicians through bereavement.

Clinical care strategies that support parents of children with complex chronic conditions reflect the unique needs of this group of children. Relational strategies such as including parents as experts in their child's care were paramount to parents of children with complex chronic conditions throughout their child's medical journey and at end of life.

Age-Specific Dose Regimens of Dexmedetomidine for Pediatric Patients in Intensive Care Following Elective Surgery: A Phase 3, Multicenter, Open-Label Clinical Trial in Japan.

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

To demonstrate the efficacy, safety, and pharmacokinetics of dexmedetomidine as a potential sedative for pediatric surgery patients in the ICU.

Dexmedetomidine was IV administered without a loading dose at age-specific dose regimens 0.2-1.4 (< 6 yr) and 0.2-1.0 µg/kg/hr (≥ 6 yr). The primary endpoint was the percentage of patients who did not require a rescue sedative (midazolam) infusion during mechanical ventilation or for the first 24 hours of a greater than 24 hours ventilation following the commencement of dexmedetomidine administration.

Overall, 47 of the 61 patients (77.0%) did not require rescue midazolam. Adverse events were reported in 53 patients (86.9%). Frequently observed adverse events were hypotension (47.5%), bradycardia (31.1%), and respiratory depression (26.2%). Most of these adverse events were mild, a few moderate, and none severe. Although serious adverse events occurred in four patients, including one cardiac tamponade resulting in the withdrawal of dexmedetomidine, none of the adverse events resulted in mortality or were directly related to dexmedetomidine. The plasma dexmedetomidine concentration generally reached the target concentration of 0.3-1.25 ng/mL at 1-2 hours prior to completion of administration or immediately prior to the commencement of tapering.

The age-specific dose regimens of dexmedetomidine without an initial loading dose achieved an adequate sedation level during mechanical ventilation and caused no clinically significant adverse events in the intensive care pediatric patients. These effects were achieved within the therapeutic range of dexmedetomidine plasma concentration and were accompanied by minimal effects on hemodynamics and respiration.

Pertussis Infants Needing Mechanical Ventilation and Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation: Single-Center Retrospective Series in Vietnam.

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

Pertussis is an infectious disease that causes epidemics and outbreaks and is associated with a high mortality rate, especially in infants, in both developed and developing countries. We aimed to characterize infants with pertussis with respiratory failure and shock and investigated the factors related to mortality.


Seventy-three mechanically ventilated children (40 boys; median age, 56 d), whereas 19 patients received extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support. Twenty-six patients (36%) died including 12 who received extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Those who received extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support had higher leukocyte counts upon admission and were more frequently diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and stage 3 acute kidney injury. Compared with survivors, nonsurvivors showed increased heart rates, leukocyte and neutrophil counts, and lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure at admission. Increased Vasoactive-Inotropic Score, stage 3 acute kidney injury, fluid overload, the use of renal replacement therapy, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation use were prevalent among nonsurvivors.

In this study, around one third of mechanically ventilated patients with pertussis died. Those who received extracorporeal membrane oxygenation had higher leukocyte counts, a higher prevalence of pulmonary hypertension, and advanced stages of acute kidney injury. Higher Vasoactive-Inotropic Score and advanced stages of acute kidney injury were associated with a greater risk of mortality.

A Cross-Sectional Study of the Clinical Metrics of Functional Status Tools in Pediatric Critical Illness.

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

To determine the clinical metrics of functional assessments in pediatric critical illness survivors.


Function was assessed using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0 generic scales and infant scales, the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory-Computer Adaptive Test, and the Functional Status Scale. Muscle strength was assessed by hand grip strength in children greater than or equal to 6 years. Clinical metrics assessed included floor and ceiling effects, known-group, and convergent validity. Floor and ceiling effects were present if the participants achieving the worst or best scores exceeded 15%, respectively. Known-group validity was assessed by comparing scores between those with and without complex chronic conditions and abnormal versus good baseline function. Convergent validity was assessed using partial correlation between two tools. Functional Status Scale and Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory physical domain scores showed significant ceiling effects in PICU survivors (69.2% and 15.4%, respectively, achieved the highest possible score). Functional scores were not significantly different between children with or without complex chronic conditions or children with good versus abnormal baseline function. In healthy children, Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory physical correlated moderately with hand grip strength (partial r = 0.66; p < 0.001), whereas Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory psychosocial correlated moderately with Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory-Computer Adaptive Test social/cognitive score (partial r = 0.53; p < 0.001). In PICU survivors, only Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory physical and Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory-Computer Adaptive Test mobility scores were correlated (partial r = 0.55; p < 0.001).

PICU functional assessment tools have varying clinical metrics. Considering ceiling effects, Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory-Computer Adaptive Test may be more suitable in survivors than Functional Status Scale. Differences in scores between children with or without complex chronic conditions, and with or without baseline functional impairment, were not observed. Functional assessments likely require a combination of tools to measure the spectrum of pediatric critical illness and recovery.

End-of-Life Care in Taiwan: Single-Center Retrospective Study of Modes of Death.

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

Medical advances and the National Health Insurance coverage in Taiwan mean that mortality in the PICU is low. This study describes change in modes of death and end-of-life care in a single center, 2011-2017.

Palliative care consultation in the PICU service occurred after the 2013 "Hospice Palliative Care Act" revision.

In the whole cohort, 22 of 316 patients (7%) were determined as "death by neurologic criteria". There were 94 of 316 patients (30%) who had an event needing cardiopulmonary resuscitation within 24 hours of death: 17 of these patients (17/94; 18%) died after failed cardiopulmonary resuscitation without a do-not-resuscitate order, and the other 77 of 94 patients (82%) had a do-not-resuscitate order after cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Overall, there were 200 of 316 patients (63%) who had a do-not-resuscitate order and were entered into the palliative program: 169 of 200 (85%) died after life-sustaining treatment was limited, and the other 31 of 200 (15%) died after life-sustaining treatment was withdrawn. From 2011 to 2017, the time-trend in end-of-life care showed the following associations: 1) a decrease in PICU mortality utilization rate, from 22% to 7% (p < 0.001); 2) a decrease in use of catecholamine infusions after do-not-resuscitate consent, from 87% to 47% (p = 0.001), in patients having limitation in life-sustaining treatment; and 3) an increase in withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, from 4% to 31% (p < 0.001).

In our practice in a single PICU-center in Taiwan, we have seen that the integration of a palliative care consultation service, developed after the revision of a national "Palliative Care Act," was associated with increased willingness to accept withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment and a lowered PICU care intensity at the end-of-life.

Association Between Treatments and Short-Term Biochemical Improvements and Clinical Outcomes in Postsevere Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 Inflammatory Syndrome.

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

To 1) analyze the short-term biochemical improvements and clinical outcomes following treatment of children with postsevere acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 inflammatory syndrome (multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children/pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome temporally associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2) admitted to U.K. PICUs and 2) collate current treatment guidance from U.K. PICUs.


Routinely collected, deidentified data were analyzed. Propensity score and linear mixed effects models were used to analyze the effect of steroids, IV immunoglobulin, and biologic agents on changes in C-reactive protein, platelet counts, and lymphocyte counts over the course of PICU stay. Treatment recommendations from U.K. clinical guidelines were analyzed. Over the 6-week study period, 59 of 78 children (76%) received IV immunoglobulin, 57 of 78 (73%) steroids, and 18 of 78 (24%) a biologic agent. We found no evidence of a difference in response in clinical markers of inflammation between patients with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children/pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome temporally associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 who were treated with IV immunoglobulin, steroids, or biologics, compared with those who were not. By the end of the study period, most patients had received immunomodulation. The 12 patients who did not receive any immunomodulators had similar decrease in inflammatory markers as those treated. Of the 14 guidelines analyzed, the use of IV immunoglobulin, steroids, and biologics was universally recommended.

We were unable to identify any short-term benefit from any of the treatments, or treatment combinations, administered. Despite a lack of evidence, treatment guidelines for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children/pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome temporally associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 have become very similar in advising step-wise treatments. Retaining clinical equipoise regarding treatment will allow clinicians to enroll children in robust clinical trials to determine the optimal treatment for this novel important condition.

Anticoagulation and Transfusion Management During Neonatal and Pediatric Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation: A Survey of Medical Directors in the United States.

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

To compare current practices within the United States of anticoagulation management and blood transfusion in neonatal and pediatric extracorporeal membrane oxygenation patients with a 2013 international report.

Cross-sectional survey distributed between August and December 2019.

Extracorporeal Life Support Organization-registered neonatal and pediatric extracorporeal membrane oxygenation centers in the United States.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation medical directors.


Eighty-three medical directors at 108 centers responded. After removing four duplicate responses, 79 surveys were analyzed. Seventy-nine percent (n = 62) report a written extracorporeal membrane oxygenation protocol for both anticoagulation and blood product management. Ninety-four percent (n = 74) report unfractionated heparin as their primary anticoagulant; the remaining use the direct thrombin inhibitor, bivalirudin. Ninety percent (n = 71) report measuring antifactor Xa levels. Most centers report using a combination of assays to monitor heparin therapy, either antifactor Xa and activated partial thromboplastin time (54%) or more commonly antifactor Xa and activated clotting time (68%). Forty-one percent use viscoelastic tests to aid management. Goal monitoring levels and interventions generated by out of range values are variable. Fifty-one percent will replace antithrombin. Platelet transfusion thresholds vary by age and center with ranges from 50,000 to 100,000 cells/[micro]L. Eighty-two percent of respondents are willing to participate in a randomized controlled trial comparing anticoagulation strategies for patients receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

Compared with the 2013 pediatric population, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation center anticoagulation and blood transfusion approaches continue to vary widely. Most report continued use of heparin as their primary anticoagulant and follow a combination of monitoring assays with the majority using the antifactor Xa assay in their practices, a significant shift from prior results. Antithrombin activity levels and viscoelastic tests are followed by a growing number of centers. Platelet transfusion thresholds continue to vary widely. Future research is needed to establish optimal anticoagulation and blood transfusion management.

Variability in the Hemodynamic Response to Fluid Bolus in Pediatric Septic Shock.

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

Fluid boluses are commonly administered to improve the cardiac output and tissue oxygen delivery in pediatric septic shock. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of an early fluid bolus administered to children with septic shock on the cardiac index and mean arterial pressure, as well as on the hemodynamic response and its relationship with outcome.

We prospectively collected hemodynamic data from children with septic shock presenting to the emergency department or the PICU who received a fluid bolus (10 mL/kg of Ringers Lactate over 30 min). A clinically significant response in cardiac index-responder and mean arterial pressure-responder was both defined as an increase of greater than or equal to 10% 10 minutes after fluid bolus.

Forty-two children with septic shock, 1 month to 16 years old, median Pediatric Risk of Mortality-III of 13 (interquartile range, 9-19), of whom 66% were hypotensive and received fluid bolus within the first hour of shock recognition. Cardiac index- and mean arterial pressure-responsiveness rates were 31% and 38%, respectively. We failed to identify any association between cardiac index and mean arterial pressure changes (r = 0.203; p = 0.196). Cardiac function was similar in mean arterial pressure- and cardiac index-responders and nonresponders. Mean arterial pressure-responders increased systolic, diastolic, and perfusion pressures (mean arterial pressure - central venous pressure) after fluid bolus due to higher indexed systemic vascular resistance and arterial elastance index. Mean arterial pressure-nonresponders required greater vasoactive-inotrope support and had higher mortality.

The hemodynamic response to fluid bolus in pediatric septic shock was variable and unpredictable. We failed to find a relationship between mean arterial pressure and cardiac index changes. The adverse effects of fluid bolus extended beyond fluid overload and, in some cases, was associated with reduced mean arterial pressure, perfusion pressures and higher vasoactive support. Mean arterial pressure-nonresponders had increased mortality. The response to the initial fluid bolus may be helpful to understand each patient's individualized physiologic response and guide continued hemodynamic management.