UMEM Educational Pearls - Pediatrics

 

Childhood vaccination has significantly decreased the incidence of bacterial meningitis and bacteremia in infants and young children, specifically vaccines against H. influenzae and S. pneumoniae, shifting broad workups for these disease and empiric antibiosis to younger age groups as rates declined. In recent years the percentage of unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children has been rising due to multiple factors; now over 1% of children in the US under 2 years of age are unvaccinated. The question becomes, should these children be treated more similarly to young infants as they lack to immunity to these organisms?

Literature on this topic is sparse, although, Finkel, Ospina-Jimenez, et al. reviewed the literature available and proposed an algorithm for well appearing children 3-24 months of age without a clear source and a temperature of >39C (102.2F). Recommendations included UA (to determine possible source) in the following patients: fever > 2 days, prior UTI, female or uncircumcised male <12 months, or male <6 months. They also recommended evaluation with viral panel. If no source was determined, they then recommended CBC and procalcitonin with a CXR for WBC > 20,000/mm3. For WBC >15,000/mm3, ANC >10,000/mm3, absolute band count >1,500/mm3, or procalcitonin >0.5ng/mL they recommended blood culture, ceftriaxone 50 mg/kg, and follow up within 24 hours.

Bottom line: Literature is scarce and practice patterns are likely to evolve as ramifications of decrease in vaccination rates become clearer. The above algorithm is proposed, however covers limited situations and may not be practical in all settings. Clinical judgement should be used in the evaluation and management of these patients. A more conservative approach compared to vaccinated infants is reasonable at this time.

 

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: What is the proper ratio of blood products in the bleeding pediatric trauma patient?

Keywords: Pediatric trauma, blood transfusion, ratios (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/18/2022 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 12/6/2022)
Click here to contact Jenny Guyther, MD

Research in the pediatric trauma patient has finally shown that crystalloid volume should be limited and blood products should be used early in resuscitation.  Whole blood transfusion is currently being studied.  Studies are also being conducted looking at the proper ratio of blood products for these pediatric trauma patients.
This was a retrospective review of the Trauma Quality Improvement Program.  Patients younger than 18 years old who received at least 1 unit of FFP and PRBCsduring the initial 4 hours of admission were included.  The study looked at 1,233 patients who received FFP:PRBC ratios of 1:1, 1:2, 1:3 and 1:3+ and 24 hour mortality, hospital mortality, complications and 24 hour PRBC requirements.
The 1:1 transfusion group had the lowest 24 mortality and in-hospital mortality.  There was no difference between the groups for complications.  The 1:1 ratio group also had the lowest 24 hour PRBC requirements.  This study did not include those patients who required massive transfusion on arrival. 
Bottom line: FFP:PRBC ratio of 1:1 was associated with increased survival in children.  More studies are needed regarding whole blood and massive transfusion in pediatrics.

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Subcutaneous Fluid Administration for Rehydration

  • An old school technique (described in the 1800’s) that fell out of favor but still has applicability - primarily in pediatrics although it has been explored for use in geriatrics and mass casualty events (due to ease and speed of use)
  • Most appropriate for stable but mildly to moderately dehydrated patients who need rehydration, are not tolerating PO, and in whom an PIV is difficult to establish (this should not replace an IO in a critically ill child)
  • Either a small gauge angiocath or butterfly can be used for access
  • Most common area to access in younger children is between the shoulder blades, although the lateral abdomen, thighs, or outer upper arms can be used as well; the site must have adequate subcutaneous tissue (can test by pinching between the fingers)
  • Subcutaneous catheter placement is generally quite easy, however care should be taken with securing the catheter as there will be expected swelling at the area which can cause dislodgement or discomfort
  • Mild erythema may also occur at the site of administration
  • Injection of hyaluronidase (150 U) at the site being used increases the volume that can be administered as well as speed of absorption (hospitals may carry this product for treatment of severe PIV infiltration events)
  • It is not necessary to have hyaluronidase to utilize subcutaneous fluid administration, but improves efficiency and efficacy
  • Fluids administered should be isotonic and can be administered at 20 mL/kg over an hour – this can be repeated as necessary

 

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Once intuccesption has been diagnosed, when should reduction occur?

Keywords: intuccesption, air enema, reduction timing (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/21/2022 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 12/6/2022)
Click here to contact Jenny Guyther, MD

Once the diagnosis of intussusception is made, there are often delays in 1) getting the patient to a center where reduction can be performed and 2) getting the staff available to perform an air enema, especially during evenings and nights. Previous studies have shown worse outcomes when there is longer than a 24 hour delay in reduction. This was a retrospective single center study looking at 175 cases of intussusception and evaluating the time between the radiology final read of intussusception and the timing of reduction and if enema based reduction was successful. In this group of patients, there was no statistically significant difference in reduction efficacy, requirement for surgical reduction or complication rate (bowel resection or perforation) in the patients studied which included delay intervals up to 8 hours. Successful first attempt reductions ranged from 72-81% in each study group (1hr, 1-3hr, 3-6hr and 6+ hr). The caveat to this study is that there were only 11 patients included in the 6-8 hour group. This study also did not take into account the timing from symptom onset to reduction time. Bottom line: More evidence is needed, but this small study provides evidence that up to 8 hours from radiology diagnosis of intussusception to the 1st reduction attempt was not less efficient compared to those with an attempt in under 1 hour.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: What Sound Does an ALCAPA Make?

Keywords: pediatric cardiology, ALCAPA (anomalous left coronary artery from the pulmonary artery) (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/7/2022 by Rachel Wiltjer, DO
Click here to contact Rachel Wiltjer, DO

 

  • Anomalous left coronary artery from the pulmonary artery (ALCAPA) is a rare congenital defect in which there is an altered origin of the left coronary artery (also known as Bland-White-Garland syndrome)
  • Generally asymptomatic at birth, but can present in late infancy, toddlerhood, or later with signs of congestive heart failure, a myocarditis picture, or sudden cardiac death
  • Flow through the left coronary artery is normal at birth due to high pulmonary pressures, but as those pressures drop the blood flow drops as well and may become reversed due to the pressure gradient
  • This can cause chronic myocardial ischemia, the severity of which, is dependent on collateral flow
  • Most patients will also develop mitral regurgitation
  • Cardiomegaly may be seen on CXR (and some patients will present with respiratory symptoms/wheezing)
  • EKG findings include: findings consistent with ischemia (ST changes, q waves – specifically in the anterolateral leads), leftward axis (for age), abnormal R wave progression (loss of R wave amplitude in affected leads)
  • Diagnosis can generally be made with echocardiogram (although not 100% sensitive) and the disease is generally treated with surgical repair

 

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Laryngospasm is defined as the cessation of ventilation despite persistent respiratory effort related to glottic closure.  Complications include hypoxia, bradycardia, and cardiac arrest.  In OR cases, one recent study found the laryngospasm to occur in 0.45/1000 cases.  In these children undergoing general anesthesia, risk factors included current upper respiratory infection, active asthma, airway anomalies, airway procedures, age < 3 months and the use of an LMA.  
Studies of the rates of laryngospasm in pediatric sedation have shown varied incidence, with prevalence between 0.43/1000 to 2.1/1000.  A metaanalysis showed that laryngospasm was more common with a combination of propofol and ketamine.
This study looked at moderate sedation cases where laryngospasm was not relieved with chin repositioning or the use of an airway adjunct.  Over a 7 year study period, 276,832 sedations were examined with 913 patients experiencing laryngospasm (3.3/1000 cases).  About 5% of these patients required intubation.  There were 2 cases of cardiac arrest, one with an underlying cardiac condition and one with a URI who was undergoing an echo.  Both of these patients had multiple agents used for sedation.
The isolated use of IV ketamine had a laryngospasm rate of 1.4/1000 cases.  The highest prevalence occured with propofol + ketamine (6.6/1000), propofol + midazolam + opiate (6.1/1000) and propofol + dexmedetomidine (5.8/1000).
The risk of laryngospasm was associated with a higher ASA status, younger age, presence of a URI, airway procedures, and certain propofol combination regimens.
Bottom line: While the prevalence of laryngospasm remains low during pediatric sedation, risk factors should be taken into consideration and the risk/benefits should be discussed in detail with the families.  Always be prepared for an airway emergency during sedation.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Secondary Transmission of SARS-CoV2 with regards to Masking in Schools

Keywords: COVID, kids, masking, school (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/19/2022 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 12/6/2022)
Click here to contact Jenny Guyther, MD

This was a multistate, prospective, observational cohort of children and teachers attending in person schools in kindergarden through 12th grade where the school districs had the ability to perform contact tracing and determine primary vs secondary infections.  During the study period (6/21-12/21) 46 districts had universal masking policies and 6 districts had optional masking policies.  

Districts that optionally masked had 3.6x the rate of secondary transmission compared to universally masked school districts.  Optionally masked districts had 26.4 cases of secondary transmission per 100 community acquired cases compared to only 7.3 cases in universally masked districts.

Bottom line: Universial masking was associated with reduced secondary transmission of SARS-CoV2 compared with optional masking policies. 

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  • TXA has been used for pediatric non-traumatic (surgical) bleeding with good evidence
  • Currently used in around 1/3 of pediatric trauma centers based on survey data
  • PED-TRAX (retrospective review of pediatric trauma admissions in a combat zone) showed an association between use of TXA and decreased mortality, with no increase in thromboembolic events
  • Dosing strategies in the literature and in practice have been variable (bolus at variable dosing versus bolus + infusion)
  • The TIC TOC trial was recently completed - a multicenter randomized pilot study looking at 2 dosing strategies of TXA versus placebo which demonstrated feasibility of a larger study and will hopefully serve as a model for further research to determine efficacy as well as ideal dosing

 

Bottom line: There is not clear evidence for efficacy, but trends are positive and the documented rates of adverse effects in this population are low. It is reasonable to give, especially in patients requiring massive transfusion or who are critically ill.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: The Pediatric Pause - Introducing a Trauma Informed Care Protocol

Keywords: trauma informed care, pediatric resuscitation (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/15/2022 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 12/6/2022)
Click here to contact Jenny Guyther, MD

Traumatic injuries are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in pediatric patients.  Even in the setting of a full recovery, there can be negative psychological sequelae associated with the traumatic events.  The child's perceived risk of death and parental trauma related distress have both been associated with the development of post traumatic stress.
 
Previous studies have suggested the key components of trauma informed pediatric care include: minimizing potentially traumatic aspects of medical care and procedures, providing children and family with basic support and information, addressing child distress such as pain, fear, and loss,  promoting emotional support, screening children and families who might need support and providing anticipatory guidance about adaptive ways of coping.
 
The Pediatric PAUSE was introduced at a pediatric trauma center to help to reduce post traumatic stress.  
 
PAUSE stands for Pain/Privacy, Anxiety/IV access, Urinary Catheter/Rectal Exam/Genital Exam, Support for family or staff and Explain to patient/Engage the PICU team.  The article contains a table with a more detailed outline of the PAUSE.
 
This study evaluated the pediatric PAUSE to see if its implementation would interfere with the timeliness of the ACS/ATLS evaluation.  The PAUSE was inserted after the primary and ABCDE assessment (except in the unstable patient).  The use of this protocol did not prolong time between trauma bay arrival and critical imaging studies.

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  • Use of FAST is less common in pediatric trauma than in adult trauma
  • FAST in pediatric trauma has a lower negative predictive value than in adults
    • 1/3 of pediatric patients with hemoperitoneum on CT will have a negative FAST
    • Lowest sensitivity and specificity is in the under 2 years age group
  • A 2017 randomized clinical trial of ~900 patients showed no difference in clinical care, use of resources, or length of stay in hemodynamically stable children who received FAST + standard trauma evaluation versus standard trauma evaluation alone
  • There may be a role for FAST as a screening in patients with low suspicion for intraabdominal injury in conjunction with labs and physical exam, but this has not been fully explored

Bottom line: A positive FAST warrants further workup and may be helpful in the hemodynamically unstable pediatric trauma patient, but a negative FAST does not exclude intraabdominal injury and evidence for performing FAST in hemodynamically stable pediatric patients is limited.

 

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: What is the ideal length of treatment for pediatric community acquired pneumonia?

Keywords: PNA, pediatrics, duration of treatment (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/17/2022 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 12/6/2022)
Click here to contact Jenny Guyther, MD

This was a randomized placebo controlled trial looking at 380 pediatric patients aged 6 months to 5 years who were diagnosed with nonsevere CAP and who showed early clinical improvement.  On day 6, one patient group was switched to a placebo while the other group continued with the antibiotics.
 
In this small study population, 5 days of a penicillin based antibiotic had a similar clinical response and antibiotic associated adverse effect profile compared to a 10 day course.  A 5 day course also reduced antibiotic exposure resistance compared to a 10 day course.  

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Post fracture pain management in children.

Keywords: motrin, narcotics, oxycodone, fracture care (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/20/2022 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 12/6/2022)
Click here to contact Jenny Guyther, MD

This was a prospective study done in a pediatric emergency department where 329 children ages 4-16 years with isolated fractures were included.  After casting, children were prescribed either ibuprofen or oxycodone.  Pain score and activity level were followed by phone for 6 weeks.  The reduction in pain was comparable for motrin and oxycodone.  However, the children who received motrin experienced less side effects and quicker return to baseline activities compared to oxycodone.
Bottom line: Ibuprofen is a safe and effective option for fracture related pain and has fewer adverse effects compared to oxycodone.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Environment Modifications for Autism in the ED

Keywords: autism spectrum disorder, neurodevelopmental disorder (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/6/2022 by Rachel Wiltjer, DO (Updated: 12/6/2022)
Click here to contact Rachel Wiltjer, DO

 

  • Autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders can predispose to challenging ED encounters secondary to difficulties with sensory processing and communication
  • Small changes to the environment can help to reduce stress, generally by decreasing stimulation
  • Use quieter areas of the ED when possible, decrease volume of alarms, and consider noise cancelling headphones or white noise if available
  • Consider dimming the lights, turning the monitor/computer screen away from the patient
  • Allow the patient to remain in their own clothing and consider whether restrictive items such as the monitor, pulse oximeter, and blood pressure cuff are necessary (but continue to use them when they are medically appropriate)
  • Offering distraction via electronics, fidget toys, or weighted blanket (or lead apron) may help with managing stress
  • Ask the patient or family which modifications would be helpful for the patient and ask child life for assistance where available

 

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In 2013, the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network developed a prediction rule to identify patients who were at low risk of requiring acute intervention after blunt abdominal trauma.  Interventions included laparotomy, embolization, blood transfusion or IV fluids for more than 2 nights with pancreatic or bowel injuries.
If ALL of the following are true, the patient is considered very low risk (0.1%) of needing an acute abdominal intervention:  
- No evidence of abdominal wall trauma or seat belt sign
- GCS 14 or 15
- No abdominal tenderness
- No thoracic wall trauma
- No abdominal pain
- No decreased breath sounds
- No vomiting
 
This prediction rule was externally validated in 2018 showing a sensitivity of 99%.  This rule should be used to decrease the rate of CT scans of the abdomen following blunt trauma.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Organic Acidemias - What you Need to Know in the ED

Keywords: inborn error of metabolism (IEM), organic acidemia (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/1/2022 by Rachel Wiltjer, DO (Updated: 12/6/2022)
Click here to contact Rachel Wiltjer, DO

 

  • 2/3’s present in the neonatal period and can mimic conditions such as sepsis, gastroenteritis, and meningitis requiring careful consideration to prompt testing
  • Common symptoms are poor feeding, lethargy, irritability, vomiting, and encephalopathy
  • May be referred in if detected on newborn screen, but not all are tested on the newborn screen
  • Should look on labs for acidosis, elevated anion gap, hyperammonemia, lactic acidosis, ketosis/ketonuria, and hyper/hypoglycemia  
  • Emergent treatment includes: identification and treatment of any underlying triggers (such as infection), stopping any protein intake until situation can be clarified, providing fluids with glucose (requirements of 8-10 mg/kg/min of glucose in neonates), and genetics consultation

 

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In emergency departments in the US, the diagnosis of pneumonia is often made on chest xray.  In the outpatient setting, national guidelines focus on the clinical diagnosis of pneumonia and recommend against radiographs.  This study aimed to develop and validate a clinical tool that could be used to determine the risk of radiographic pneumonia.
The criteria in the Pneumonia Risk Score (PRS) evaluate for the presence of fever, rales, and wheeze and take into account age and triage oxygen saturation.  When developing this protocol, the investigators compared the patients who had pneumonia on chest xray with both clinical judgment and the PRS.  The PRS outperformed clinical judgment in predicting which patients would have pneumonia on chest xray.
Children who have a score of 2 or less were unlikely to have pneumonia on chest xray and would qualify for observation without an xray or empiric antibiotics use.  Children who had a score of 5 or greater were likely to have radiographic pneumonia and could be empirically treated with antibiotics. If the PRS score was 6, the specificity was 99.9%
This link https://links.lww.com/INF/E552. takes you to the excel spreadsheet where you can enter the patients clinical data and gives you a present probability of radiographic pneumonia.  (In case the link does not work, it is also found in the supplemental digital content.)
Bottom line: PRS outperforms clinical judgment when determining if pneumonia will be present on the pediatric chest xray.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: SCIWORA in Pediatric Trauma Patients

Keywords: SCIWORA, trauma, pediatrics, myelopathy (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/4/2022 by Natasha Smith, MD
Click here to contact Natasha Smith, MD

Pediatric spines are elastic in nature.

SCIWORA is a syndrome with neurological deficits without osseous abnormality on XR or CT.

Many patients with SCIWORA have myelopathy.

Mechanism of injury: Most commonly caused by hyperextension or flexion. Other possible mechanisms include rotational, lateral bending, or distraction.

Population: More common in younger children. This comprises 1/3 of pediatric trauma cases that have neuro deficits on exam. 

Severity depends on degree of ligamentous injury. It can be mild to severe, and cases have the potential to be unstable. 

Management: Immobilize cervical spine and consult neurosurgery. Patients often need prolonged spinal immobilization.

If the patient is altered and an adequate neurological exam cannot be obtained, a normal CT or XR of the cervical spinal is not sufficient to rule out spinal cord injury. It is important to continue monitoring neurological status. One possible etiology is spinal cord hemorrhage, and serial exams are essential. 

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This study looked at just over 10,000 children using the National Trauma Data Bank between 2011 and 2012. Patients were divided into two age groups: 0 to 14 years and 15 to 18 years. Primary outcomes were emergency department and inpatient mortality depending on whether they were taken to a pediatric versus adult trauma center. Secondary outcomes included hospital length of stay, complication rate, ICU length of stay and ventilator days.

Children in the 0-14 year age group had lower ED and inpatient mortality when treated at pediatric trauma centers. This age group was also more likely to be discharged home and have fewer ICU and ventilator days when treated at the pediatric trauma centers.

There was no difference in ED mortality or inpatient mortality in the 15 to18 year-old age group to pediatric and adult trauma centers. There were no differences in complication rates in any age group between pediatric and adult trauma centers. 
 
Bottom line: Children aged 0-14 should ideally be evaluated primarily at pediatric trauma centers.

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Acute facial palsy is common in children and while bell’s palsy is significant proportion, there are other more concerning etiologies that make up a number of cases. A retrospective cohort study of pediatric patients with an ED diagnosis of Bell’s palsy was done using the Pediatric Health Information System and showed an incidence of 0.3% (0.03% in control) for new diagnosis of malignancy within the 60 days following the visit at which bell’s palsy was diagnosed. Younger age increased the risk. There was also a subset of patient’s excluded for diagnosis of bell’s palsy as well as malignancy at the index visit.

These numbers are small but may be clinically significant. They likely do not warrant laboratory or imaging workup as a rule but do make a case for detailed history taking and thorough exam. Consider avoiding steroids which are used commonly but lack high quality data and may undermine later efforts at tissue diagnosis of malignancy or even worsen prognosis.

 

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Risk factors for severe COVID in children

Keywords: pediatrics, COVID, vaccination, hospitalization (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/21/2022 by Jenny Guyther, MD
Click here to contact Jenny Guyther, MD

This recently published study was conducted from May 2020 to May 2021 and included 3106 hospitalized pediatric patients with COVID 19 over 14 states.  2293 children were admitted due to their COVID symptoms.  30% of these patients had severe COVID (ICU admission, mechanical ventilation or death) and 0.5% died.
32.5% of admitted patients were younger than 2 years.  More than half of the patients had at least one medical condition.  The most common underlying conditions were obesity, chronic lung disease, neurologic disorders, cardiovascular disease and blood disorders.
Although this data was collected prior to the US presence of both the delta and omnicron variants and public availability of vaccination in 5-11 year olds, this study has identified children at potentially higher risk of severe COVID who may benefit from prevention efforts that include vaccination. 

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