UMEM Educational Pearls - Pediatrics

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:

  • Always keep ADEM on the differential for any pediatric patient presenting with any neurologic symptoms
  • MRI is the diagnostic modality of choice.
  • If ADEM diagnosed, start treatment early in conjunction with pediatric neurology.

 

 

 

 
 

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Pediatric intubation: Cuffed or uncuffed tubes?

Keywords: Intubation, ETT, cuffed, airway management (PubMed Search)

Posted: 12/21/2018 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 12/7/2022)
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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.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Pediatric Fever

Posted: 12/1/2018 by Rose Chasm, MD (Updated: 12/7/2022)
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As we enter cold and flu season, expect to see rising visits for pediatric patients with fever.  There is much evidence based literature regarding pediatric fever, but wives tales and misinformation persist.
  • No matter what the school nurse says, only a temperature >/= 100.4 F or 38 C is a fever.
  • Routine use of rectal and oral routes to measure temperature are not required to document a fever in children.
  • Use of electronic thermometers in the axilla is acceptable even in children under 5 years
  • Forehead chemical thermometers are unreliable.
  • Reported parental perception of fever should be considered valid and taken seriously.
  • Measure heart rate, respiratory rate, and capillary refill as part of the assessment of a child with fever.
  • Heart rate typically increases by 10, and respiratory rate increases by 7 for each 1 C temperature increase.
  • If the heart rate or capillary refill is abnormal in a child with fever, measure blood pressure.
  • Do not use height of temperature to identify serious illness.
  • Do not use duration of fever to predict serious illness.
  • Tepid sponging/bathing, underessing, and over-wrapping are not recommended in fever.
  • Do not give acetaminophen and ibuprofen simultaneously.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Metal detector use for esophageal coins

Keywords: Foreign bodies, coins, xrays (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/16/2018 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 12/7/2022)
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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.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Isolated vomiting and head injury in children

Keywords: PECARN, traumatic brain injury, head injury, concussion (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/12/2018 by Mimi Lu, MD (Emailed: 11/9/2018) (Updated: 11/9/2018)
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5 year old previously healthy male referred to the ED for vomiting after he fell 2.5 feet while jumping from the couch.  No other injurys noted and no other pain reported. He denies a headache and parents report he is acting baseline. His exam is reassuring (no, really....)
 
What would you do next?  Which Clinical Decision Rule (CDR) do you use?  PECARN? CHALICE? CATCH?
What if he vomited 3 times? 5 times?
 
A secondary analysis of the Australasian Paediatric Head Injury Rule Study attempted to determine the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries in children who vomit after head injury and identify variables from published CDRs that increased risk.  Vomited characteristics were correlated with CDR predictors and the presence of clinically important traumatic brain injury (ciTBI) or traumatic brain injury on computed tomography (TBI-CT).
 
Of the 19 920 children enrolled, 3389 (17.0%) had any vomiting. With isolated vomiting, only 1 (0.3%; 95% CI 0.0%-0.9%) had ciTBI and 2 (0.6%; 95% CI 0.0%-1.4%) had TBI-CT. Predictors of increased risk of ciTBI with vomiting included: signs of skull fracture, altered mental status, headache, and acting abnormally.

Bottom Line:

TBI-CT and ciTBI are uncommon in children presenting with head injury with isolated vomiting  (vomiting without other CDR predictors) and observation without imaging appears appropriate.

 

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: How to use the C-reactive protein in pediatrics

Keywords: Infection, fever, blood work, CRP (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/19/2018 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 12/7/2022)
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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.

Bottom line:

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

 

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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.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Ibuprofen use and infants

Keywords: Fever, pain control, ibuprofen, acetaminophen (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/21/2018 by Jenny Guyther, MD
Click here to contact Jenny Guyther, MD

Ibuprofen is an effective antipyretic and analgesic and children.  In the US, ibuprofen is not used in children less than 6 months due to safety concerns involving adverse GI effects, risk of renal failure, increased risk of necrotizing infections and Rey syndrome.   The British National Formulary, however, does provide dosing guidance for infants aged 1-3 months.
This study was a retrospective review looking at infant's age less than 6 months who were prescribed ibuprofen or acetaminophen.  The rate of adverse GI and renal events were compared between both the ibuprofen and acetaminophen group. 
GI adverse events were mild including vomiting, moderate with abdominal pain and gastritis. Renal adverse events included acute or chronic renal failure.
GI and renal adverse events were not higher in infants younger than 6 months who are prescribed ibuprofen compared to those age 6-12 months.  Adverse events were increased in children younger than 6 months to her prescribed Motrin compared to acetaminophen alone.
Bottom line: Remain cautious about adverse GI and renal events in children age less than 6 months when using ibuprofen compared to acetaminophen.  However, there is no difference in adverse events when ibuprofen is used in children younger than 6 months compared with those older than 6 months.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: CDC Guideline on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Among Children

Keywords: Concussion, minor head injury, traumatic brain injury, mTBI (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/14/2018 by Mimi Lu, MD
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Takeaways

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.

Key Recommendations:

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)

www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/PediatricmTBIGuideline.html

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  • Migraine diagnosis should only be made after other serious intracranial diagnoses have been ruled out.
  • Pediatric migraine is a difficult diagnosis to make before the age of 7 years, due to communication difficulties
  • Avoid opiates and barbiturates. They have not proven to be effective, and have been shown to decrease the effectiveness of future triptan treatments. 
  • First line treatment for mild to moderate migraines is acetaminophen and/or NSAID's.  The addition of caffeine, has been shown to potentiate the analgesic effects of both.
  • First line treatment for moderate to severe migraines is triptans.
  • Most pediatric migraines presenting to the ED, are severe migraines that have failed the above abortive home treatments and have persisted for 24+ hours.  These patients often require intravenous therapy.
  • Dopamine receptor antagonist, specifically Prochlorperazine, 0.15mg/kg, 10mg max, has demonstrated the greatest effectiveness. Consider administration with diphenhydramine, 1mg/kg, 50mg max to prevent dystonic reactions.
  • Concomitant dexamethasone, 0.6mg/kg, 20mg max administration has been shown to decrease acute recurrence.
  • If prochlorperazine fails, other alternatives include Sumatriptan, 5-20mg IN, 50-100mg PO and lidocaine, 0.5mL of 4% solution IN.
  • IVF hydration, and reduction of light and sound stimuli may be helpful.

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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. 

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: When do I get a chest xray in a child with asthma?

Keywords: Asthma, chest xray (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/20/2018 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 12/7/2022)
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Takeaways

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

 

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Abdominal Migraine: Finding a needle in a haystack

Keywords: Pediatrics, Migraine, Abdominal Migraine, Headache (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/13/2018 by Megan Cobb, MD
Click here to contact Megan Cobb, MD

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. 

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Bottom Line:

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. 

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  • The rainy East coast spring has increased tick populations in endemic areas such as Maryland resulting in more tick bites.
  • ED visits for known tick bites present acutely, often with parents bringing in the tick to be identified/tested.
  • Routine serologic testing and antibiotic prophylaxis is not recommended after every tick bite.
  • If an attached tick is engorged, identified as I. scapularis, and has been attached for >36 hours, then antibiotic prophylaxis for Lyme can be prescribed if started within 72 hours of tick removal in those patients > 8 years of age
  • Prophylaxis: Single dose of doxycycline 4 mg/kg or 200mg max 
  • If early Lyme Disese is present in the form of the classic rash of Erythema migrans, then treatment is doxycycline, 4 mg/kg or 100mg max BID for patients > 8 years of age or amoxicillin 50 mg/kg per day divided TID with 500 mg max TID in those < 8 years of age for 14 days 
  • Serologic testing is false negative in the first month of testing, and unnecessary in the ED  for acute presentations. 

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.

BOTTOM LINE:

"Neither the rate of administration nor the sodium chloride content of intravenous fluids significantly influenced neurologic outcomes in children with diabetic ketoacidosis"

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Occult bacteremia in infants

Keywords: Fever, infants, blood culture (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/15/2018 by Jenny Guyther, MD
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Takeaways

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.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Conjunctivitis-otitis syndrome

Keywords: augmentin, conjunctivitis, AOM, otitis media (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/8/2018 by Mimi Lu, MD
Click here to contact Mimi Lu, MD

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.

  • up to 25% of patients with conjunctivitis have concurrent otitis media (even in the abscence of ear pain) and up to 73% of patients with purulent conjunctivitis
  • Non-typeable H. influenzae is the most common recovered bacteria.
  • For these patients, systemic (oral) antibiotics are recommended and the topical ophthalmic antibiotics are NOT necessary.
  • Antibiotics should cover beta-lactamase producing organisms, e.g. high dose amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (45 mg/kg BID; 600 mg/5mL concentration which is formulated to have less clavulanic acid

Bottom line: Every patient with conjunctivitis should have an examination of his/her TMs, as your management may change.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Development of an algorithm for battery ingestion

Keywords: Button batteries, removal (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/18/2018 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 12/7/2022)
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Takeaways

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.

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Attachments

battery_algorithm.docx (123 Kb)


Category: Pediatrics

Title: Nursemaid's Elbow Reduction Methods

Keywords: supination with flexion, hyperpronation (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/4/2018 by Sarah Kleist, MD
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Takeaways

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.

 

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Epidural hematoma formation after pediatric lumbar puncture

Keywords: Infant fever, lumbar puncture, risks, ultrasound (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/20/2018 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 12/7/2022)
Click here to contact Jenny Guyther, MD

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.  

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