Keywords: ADEM (PubMed Search)
Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is primarily a pediatric disease and can cause a wide variety of neurologic symptoms. As such, should always be in the differential for pediatric patient presenting with vague neurologic symptoms including altered mental status. It is an immune-mediated, demyelinating disease that can affect any part of the CNS; usually preceding a viral illness or rarely, immunizations.
The average age of onset is 5-8 years of age with no gender predilection. It usually has a prodromal. That includes headache, fever, malaise, back pain etc. Neurological symptoms can vary and may present with ataxia, altered mental status, seizures, focal symptoms, behavioral changes or coma.
MRI is the primary modality to diagnose this condition. Other possible indicators may be mild pleocytosis with lymphocyte predominance, and elevated inflammatory markers such as ESR, CRP. These findings, however, are neither sensitive nor specific.
First-line treatment for ADEM is systemic corticosteroids, typically 20-30 mg/kg of methylprednisolone for 2-5 days, followed by oral prednisone 1-2 mg/kg for 1-2 weeks then 3-6-week taper. For steroid refractory cases, IVIG and plasmapheresis may be considered.
ADEM usually has a favorable long-term prognosis in the majority of patients. However, some may experience residual neurological deficits including ataxia, blindness, clumsiness, etc.
Take home points:
Gray, M.P. & Goralick, M.H. (2016). Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (6th ed, volume 32). Milkwaukee, WI
Keywords: Intubation, ETT, cuffed, airway management (PubMed Search)
Historically uncuffed endotracheal tubes were used in children under the age of 8 years due to concerns for tracheal stenosis. Advances in medicine and monitoring capabilities have resulted in this thinking becoming obsolete. Research is being conducted that is showing the noninferiority of cuffed tubes compared to uncuffed tubes. Multiple other studies are looking into the advantages of cuffed tubes compared to uncuffed tubes.
The referenced study is a meta-analysis of 6 studies which compared cuffed to uncuffed endotracheal tubes in pediatrics. The pooled analysis showed that more patients needed tube changes when they initially had uncuffed tubes placed. There was no difference in intubation duration, reintubation occurrence, post extubation stridor, or racemic epinephrine use between cuffed and uncuffed tubes.
Bottom line: There is no difference in the complication rate between cuffed and uncuffed endotracheal tubes, but uncuffed endotracheal tubes did need to be changed more frequently.
Liang C, Zhang J, Pan G, Li X, Shi T, He W. Cuffed versus uncuffed endotracheal tubes in pediatrics: a meta-analysis. Open Med. 2018; 13:366-373.
Davies, P., and I. Maconochie. “The relationship between body temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate in children.” Emergency Medicine Journal 26.9 (2009): 641-643.
Daymont, Carrie, Christopher P. Bonafide, and Patrick W. Brady. “Heart Rates in Hospitalized Children by Age and Body Temperature.” Pediatrics 135.5 (2015): e1173-e1181.d
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Pediatric Fever Guidelines, 2007 and 2013
Keywords: Foreign bodies, coins, xrays (PubMed Search)
Coins are the most commonly ingested foreign body in the pediatric age group with a peak occurrence in children less than 5 years old. X-rays are considered the gold standard for definitive diagnosis and location of metallic foreign bodies. This study aimed to find a way to decrease radiation exposure by using a metal detector.
19 patients ages 10 months to 14 years with 20 esophageal coins were enrolled in the study. All proximal esophageal coins were detected by the metal detector. 5 patient's failed initial detection of the coin with the metal detector and all of those patients had the coin in the mid or distal esophagus with a depth greater than 7 cm from the skin.
Bottom line: A metal detector may detect proximal esophageal coins. This may have a role in decreasing repeat x-rays.
Aljasser A, Elmaraghy C and Jatana K. Utilization of a handheld metal detector protocol to reduce radiation exposure in pediatric patients with esophageal coins. International Journal of Pediatric Otolaryngology. 2018: 104-108.
Keywords: PECARN, traumatic brain injury, head injury, concussion (PubMed Search)
Keywords: Infection, fever, blood work, CRP (PubMed Search)
Historically, the C-reactive protein (CRP) has been used in the assessment of the febrile child and is the only biomarker recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
CRP increases 4-6 hours after the onset of inflammation, doubling every 8 hours and peaking at 36-50 hours. It rapidly decreases once the inflammation has resolved.
An elevated CRP alone is not conclusive of a serious bacterial infection (SBI).
A CRP >75 mg/L increased the relative risk of SBI by 5.4.
A CRP <20 mg/L decreased the risk of SBI, but there was still a small subset of children where SBI was present.
In infants < 3 months initial CRP measurements are poorly accurate, but when trended may be useful in deciding when to stop antibiotics (rather then when to start them). A normalizing CRP demonstrated a 100% negative predictive value for excluding invasive bacterial infection.
CRP is not a rule in/rule out test
CRP is not helpful in diagnosing SBI, but serial measurements may be useful in monitoring response to treatment
CRP has a limited role in well appearing children older than 3 months
Dyer EM, Waterfield T, Baynes H. How to use C-reactive protein. Arch Dis Child Educ Pract Ed 2018; 0:1-4.
Keywords: West syndrome, seizures (PubMed Search)
Originally described a Dr. West in 1841 – it is a rare (~1200 cases annually) seizure disorder in young kids, generally less than 1 year old. Very subtle appearance, often with only bending forward or ‘jerking’ of the extremities as opposed to Brief Resolved Unexplained Event (BRUE) or tonic-clonic in description. The spasms can be thought of as a syndrome, where 70% of those have an undiagnosed rare metabolic/genetic disease.
A prompt evaluation, including labs, EEG, MRI, metabolic and genetic studies is vital in helping to establish a diagnosis which can have a profound impact on the patients prognosis. Examples might include Tuberous Sclerosis, Pyridoxine Dependent Seizures among over 50 others.
Bottom line: In pediatric patients less than 1 year old who present to the Emergency Department with a description of spasm-like episodes, consider Infantile Spasms on the differential, and consult your friendly neighborhood Pediatric Neurologist for help in determining a proper disposition.
Keywords: Fever, pain control, ibuprofen, acetaminophen (PubMed Search)
Walsh P, Rothenberg S, Bang H. Safety of ibuprofen and infants younger than 6 months: A retrospective cohort study. PLos ONE 13 (6):e019493.
Keywords: Concussion, minor head injury, traumatic brain injury, mTBI (PubMed Search)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released guidelines on the diagnosis and management of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI**) among children. From 2005-2009, children made almost 3 million ED visits for mTBI. Based on a systemic review of the literature, the guideline includes 19 sets of recommendations on the diagnosis, prognosis, and management/treatment of pediatric mTBI.
1. Do not routinely image patients to diagnose mTBI (utilize clinical decision rules to identify children at low risk and high risk for intracranial injury (ICI), e.g. PECARN)
2. Use validated, age-appropriate symptoms scales to diagnose mTBI
3. Assess evidence-based risk factors for prolonged recovery. No single factor is strongly predictive of outcome.
4. Provide patients with instructions on return to activity customized with their symptoms (see CDC Resources below)
5. Counsel patients to return gradually to non-sports activities after no more than 2-3 days of rest.
A wealth for information and tools for provder and families can be found at:
www.cdc.gov/HEADSUP (including evaluation forms and care plans for providers)
**Although concussion, minor head injury, and mBI are frequently used interchangeably, they have different connotations which allows for misinterpretation and confusion. The guideline recommends the clinical use of the single term mild traumatic brain injury. This is defined as "an acute brain injury resulting from mechanical injury to the head from external physical forces including: (1) 1 or more of the following: Confusion or disorientation, loss of consciousness for 30 minutes or less, posttraumatic amnesia for less than 24 hours, and/or other transient neurologic abnormality such as focal signs, symptoms, or seizure; (2) Glasgow Coma Scale score of 13-15 after 30 minutes post injury or later upon presentation for healthcare
Diagnosis and management of mild traumatic brain injury in children: A systemic review. Lumba-Brown A, Yeates KO, Sarmiento K, Breiding MJ, Haegerich TM, Gioia GA, Turner M, Benzel EC, Suskuer SJ, Giza CC, Joseph M,Broomand C, Weissa B, Gordon W Wright DW, Moser RS, McAvoy K, Ewing-Cobbs L, Duaime AC, Putukian M, Holhouse B, Paulk D, Wade SL, Herig SA, HalsteadM, Keenan H, Choe M, Christia CW, Gusiewic K, Raksin PB, Gregory A, Mucha A, Taylor HG, Callahan JM, DeWtt J, Collins MW, Kirkwood MW, Ragheb J, Ellenbogen RG, Spinks TJ, Ganiats TG, Sabelhaus LJ, Altenhofen K, Hoffman , Getchius T, Gronseh G,Donnell Z, O'Connor RE, Timmons SD JAMA Pediatr 2018 Sept 4.
Bachur, R. Comparison of acute treatment regimens for migraine in the emergency department. Pediatrics.2015;135(2)232-238.
Gelfand, A. Treatment of pediatric migraine in the emregency department. Ped Neuro.2012;47(4)233-241.
Kacperski, J. The optimal management of headaches in chidlren and adolescents. Ther Adv Neuro Disor. 2016;9(1)53-68.
Sheridan, D. Pediatric Migraine: Abortive treatment in the emergency department. Headache. 2014;54(2):235-245.
Keywords: Sedation, NPO time, pediatrics (PubMed Search)
Is there an association between pulmonary aspiration, vomiting or any serious adverse event and the preprocedural fasting time?
The odds ratio of any adverse event did not increase significantly with each additional hour of fasting duration for both solids and liquids.
The guidelines set by the American Society of Anesthesiology for fasting include a minimum of 2 hours for clear liquids, 4 hours for breast milk, 6 hours for formula and light meals and 8 hours for solid meals containing fatty foods or meat.
This was a secondary analysis of a multicenter prospective cohort study of children 0-18 years who received procedural sedation in 6 Canadian pediatric emergency departments from 2010-2015. 6183 children were included with 99.7% meeting ASA 1 or 2 categories. 2974 patients did not meet the American Society of Anesthesiology fasting guidelines for solids and 510 patients did not meet the fasting guidelines for liquids. The overall incidence of adverse events was 11.6%. There were no cases of pulmonary aspiration. There was a total of 717 adverse events. 315 events were vomiting. Oxygen and vomiting were the most common adverse events.
Association of Preprocedural Fasting with Outcomes of Emergency Department Sedation in Children. JAMA Pediatrics. Published online May 18, 2018.
Keywords: Asthma, chest xray (PubMed Search)
Chest xrays (CXRs) may lead to longer length of stay, increased cost, unnecessary radiation exposure, and inappropriate antibiotic use.
CXR in asthma are indicated for:
-severe persistent respiratory distress, room air saturations <91%
- focal findings (localized rales, crackles, decreased breath sounds with or without a documented fever > 38.3) not improving on >11 hours of standard asthma therapy
- concern for pneumomediastinum or pneumothorax
This study tried to use quality improvement measures to decrease the rate of chest xrays in children seen for asthma.
6680 children with billing codes for asthma had 1359 CXRs. Using a clinical practice guideline and then targeted intervention, the group was able to reduce CXR use from 29% to 16%. In subgroup analysis, the CXR use decreased from 21.3% to 12.5% for discharged patients and 53.5% to 31.1% for admitted patients.
The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program has created guidelines to help providers manage acute asthma exacerbations stating that CXRs should be reserved for patients suspected of having an alternate diagnosis such as pneumothorax, pneumomediastinum or congestive heart failure. This does not include the suspicion for associated pneumonia! A study of >14,000 patients with asthma showed that less than 2% also had pneumonia.
The interventions done in this study were:
An electronic asthma order set was created to include “CXR not routinely recommended”
Clinical practice guidelines were reviewed with residents, faculty, nursing, and respiratory therapy at regular intervals
Copies of the clinical practice guidelines were posted in a highly visualized area
CXRs removed from the default order set
Wheezing was removed as an indication for CXR
CXR in asthma are indicated for: severe persistent respiratory distress, room air saturations <91%, focal findings not improving on >11 hours of standard asthma therapy or concern for pneumomediastinum or pneumothorax
Watnick CS, Arnold DH, Latuska RL, O’Connor M, Johnson DP. Successful Chest Radiograph Reduction by Using Quality Improvement Methodology for Children with Asthma. Pediatrics. Published online July 11, 2018.
Keywords: Pediatrics, Migraine, Abdominal Migraine, Headache (PubMed Search)
Abdominal pain in children can be just as frustrating as dizzy in the elderly. Your exam is targeted at quickly ruling out acute pathologies, but then what? The diagnosis is often functional gastrointestinal disorders, like the ever exciting constipation. Abdominal migraine (AM) is an additional entity to consider during your emergency department evaluation.
The following factors are often associated with AM:
- peak incidence at 7 years old
- paroxsymal, periumbilical abdominal pain lasting more than 1 hour
- family history of migraine
- episodes not otherwise explained by known pathology.
AM can be associated with headache, pallor, anorexia, photophobia, and fatigue. There are multiple theories on the pathogenesis, which can be found in the article cited below. If there is a known history, and the patient is presenting with an exacerbation, the treatment protocols for migraine headache may be employed with good success.
AM is increasingly recognized as a source of recurrent abdominal pain in children. If other organic pathologies can be ruled out, this may be an important diagnosis to consider so your patient can get the appropriate follow up and outpatient management.
Keywords: DKA, cerebral edema, PECARN (PubMed Search)
Children with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) may have brain injuries ranging from mild to severe. The debate over the contribution from intravenous fluids towards poor neurologic outcomes has been ongoing for decades.
PECARN's large multicenter randomized, controlled trial examined the effects of the rate of administration and the sodium chloride content of intravenous fluids on neurologic outcomes in children with diabetic ketoacidosis may finally put the controversy to rest. There was no difference on significant neurologic outcomes based on the rate (fast vs slow) or concentration (0.9% vs 0.45%) of IV fluid administration.
Clinically apparent brain injury occurred in 12 of 1389 episodes (0.9%) of children in DKA.
Any change in the mental or neurological status of the patient should be concerning for life threatening edema and should be treated with mannitol 1g/kg IV bolus or hypertonic saline (3%) 5-10 mL/kg IV over 30 minutes.
Long, B; Koyfman, A. Emergency medicine myths: cerebral edema in pediatric diabetic ketoacidosis and intravenous fluids. J. Emerg. Med; 2017:53(2),212-221.
Keywords: Fever, infants, blood culture (PubMed Search)
The rate of occult bacteremia in infants 3 months to 24 months with a temperature higher than 40.5C was slightly higher when compared to those with a temperature higher than 39C.
363 infants (3 months to 24 months) with a fever > 40.5C who were well appearing were evaluated in this study. 4 were diagnosed with occult bacteremia (1.1%). 3 of these were caused by S. pneumoniae and 2 were fully immunized.
A larger sample size is needed to see if reconditions to include empiric blood cultures on this subgroup of patients is warrented.
After introduction of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, occult bacteremia dramatically decreased. Previous cost effective analysis showed that if the rate of occult bacteremia was less than 0.5%, then empiric testing should be eliminated, but if it is over 1.5%, then obtaining blood work is cost effective. In vaccinated patients, the occult bacteremia rates is less than 0.5%. These studies that showed this included patients with temperatures > 39C. This study looked at higher temperatures to see if there was a higher rate of occult bacteremia in this subgroup. In this ED, in all children with a temperature > 40.5C it was recommended that patients get a blood culture, WBC, ANC, CRP, UA, procalcitonin and PCR for pneumococcus and meningococcus regardless of immunization status. Further testing was at the discretion of the physician.
Gangoiti et al. Prevalence of Occult Bacteremia in Infants with Very High Fever without a source. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2018 Feb. epub ahead of print.
Keywords: augmentin, conjunctivitis, AOM, otitis media (PubMed Search)
Although conjuncitivitis outside of the neonatal period is commonly caused by viruses, there are times when antibiotics are warranted due to bacterial infections, such as conjuncitivits-otitis syndrome.
Bottom line: Every patient with conjunctivitis should have an examination of his/her TMs, as your management may change.
Teoh DL, Reynolds S. Diagnosis and management of pediatric conjunctivitis. Pediatric Emergency Care: 2003; 19(1), pp. 48-55.
Bodor FF, Marchant CD, Shurin PA, Barenkamp SJ. Bacterial etiology of conjunctivitis-otitis media syndrome. Pediatrics: 1985; 76(1), pp.26-28.
Bodor FF. Conjunctivitis-Otitis Syndrome. Pediatrics: 1982; 69(6), 695-698.
Keywords: Button batteries, removal (PubMed Search)
There were 180 battery ingestions over a 5 year period at two tertiary care children’s hospital. The median age was 3.8 years (0.7 to 18 years). The most common symptoms were abdominal pain (17%), and nausea and vomiting (14%). X-rays detected the location in 94% of patients.
Based on these patients, a treatment algorithm was developed (See attached). Prospective validation is needed.
All patients with esophageal batteries had an intervention (foley catheter removal with post procedure esophagram, ridged esophagram or EGD).
The majority of patients with a gastric battery or small bowel battery were managed non operatively.
20 patients had a colonic battery and 7 had symptoms of abdominal pain or nausea or vomiting.
For batteries distal to the gastroesophageal junction, 16 patients had an intervention. 13 had an EGD with a 69% retrieval rate. 1 patient had a colonoscopy with successful retrieval. 2 patients had abdominal surgery with retrieval.
Rosenfled et al. Battery ingestions in children: Variations in care and development of a clinical algorithm. Journal of Pediatric Surgery. 2018. Epub ahead of print.
Keywords: supination with flexion, hyperpronation (PubMed Search)
Nursemaid’s elbow is a common pediatric injury with peak incidence occurring between two and three years of age. It is a condition that typically arises from a sudden upward pull of the arm as an axial traction is placed on the forearm, and the radius is pulled through the annular ligament, resulting in subluxation of the radial head. Over the years, various maneuvers have been attempted, but the two most common are supination with flexion and hyperpronation. A 2017 Cochrane meta-analysis analyzed 8 trials specifically comparing supination with flexion versus hyperpronation. Data from those trials suggested that hyperpronation resulted in less failures at ?rst attempt than the supination-?exion, and although there was limited data, there was no obvious difference in adverse events or pain between the two techniques.
Bottom Line: There is likely a lower risk of failure with first attempt reduction with hyperpronation than with supination-flexion for nursemaid’s elbow.
1. Schutzman SA, Teach S. Upper-extremity impairment in young children. Ann Emerg Med. 1995;26:474-479.
2. Hart GM. Subluxation of the head of the radius in young children. J Am Med Assoc. 1959;169:1734-1736.
3. Vitello S, Dvorkin R, Sattler S, Levy D, Ung L. Epidemiology of Nursemaid’s Elbow. Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, Vol 15, Iss 4, Pp 554-557 (2014). 2014:554.
4. Macias CG, Bothner J, Wiebe R. A comparison of supination/flexion to hyperpronation in the reduction of radial head subluxations. Pediatrics. 1998;102:e10-e10.
5. Bexkens R, Washburn FJ, Eygendaal D, van den Bekerom M,P.J., Oh LS. Effectiveness of reduction maneuvers in the treatment of nursemaid's elbow: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Emerg Med. 2016;34.
6. Krul M, van der Wouden J,C., van Suijlekom-Smit LW, Koes BW. Manipulative interventions for reducing pulled elbow in young children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009:CD007759.
7. Krul M, van der Wouden JC, van Suijlekom-Smit LW, Koes BW. Manipulative interventions for reducing pulled elbow in young children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012.
8. Krul M. Manipulative interventions for reducing pulled elbow in young children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2017.
Keywords: Infant fever, lumbar puncture, risks, ultrasound (PubMed Search)
Unsuccessful lumbar punctures (LP) may lead to epidural hematoma (EH) formation at the site of needle insertion which may affect subsequent attempts and lead to no success or a grossly bloody sample. There is no standard definition of a traumatic LP based on CSF red blood cell counts. Gross blood may also be obtained by interrupting the vascular structures outside the spinal canal which would not result in EH formation.
This was a prospective study of children younger than 6 months who had an LP at a single children’s hospital. Post LP ultrasounds were completed by the investigating team and interpreted by a pediatric radiologist. 74 patients were included in the study. 31% of the patients had evidence of a post LP EH. 17% fully effaced the thecal sac which would likely preclude future success at that anatomic site. 25% of patients where the clinician did not feel there was a traumatic attempt had evidence of an EH.The study was not powered to determine the risk factors for EH formation. The study also did not look at any other consequences to EH.
Key points: Point of care ultrasound to evaluate EH and bleeding at the failed LP site my provide useful information for a location of subsequent attempts. Also US to evaluate for bleeding in the spinal canal may help with interpretation of the CSF when a large number of red blood cells are present.
Kusulas MP, Eutsler EP, DePiero AD. Bedside Ultrasound for the Evaluation of Epidural Hematoma After Infant Lumbar Puncture. Pediatric Emergency Care. Epub ahead of print. Feb 2018.