Paediatrics (RCH) - Theses

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    Cardiovascular associations of HIV infection in children
    Idris, Nikmah Salamia ( 2015)
    Vertically-acquired HIV infection is a devastating disease in childhood that may affect any organ, including the cardiovascular system. With increased survival of HIV infected children due to antiretroviral (ART) treatment availability, chronic cardiovascular problems become a confronting challenge, not only because HIV infection may cause cardiac problems readily manifesting in childhood but also because it potentially increases future cardiovascular disease risk in adulthood. This thesis explores various possible cardiovascular effects of HIV infection in children, particularly the differential effects of ART-naïve compared to ART-exposed HIV infection on left ventricular (LV) remodelling, pulmonary hypertension, and arterial elasticity. We conducted a cross-sectional study enrolling 56 ART-naïve, 59 ART-exposed HIV infected, and 51 healthy children in Jakarta, Indonesia and performed cardiac/vascular ultrasound, and blood tests for biomarkers. There were marked differences in the cardiovascular parameters between the two groups. We found that ART-naïve HIV infection was associated with LV dilation while the ART-exposed seemed to cause concentric hypertrophic remodelling. ART-exposed HIV infected children who showed evidence of higher pulmonary artery pressure than healthy children, whereas the ART-naïve children had reduced right ventricular function. For arterial elasticity, the ART-naïve had higher strain and lower elastic modulus, but thicker intima-media thickness, whereas the ART-exposed had similar vascular properties as healthy children. In conclusion, HIV infection in children have significant impacts on childhood cardiovascular system with particular differential effects between ART-naïve and ART exposed HIV infection. Routine cardiovascular surveillance is needed for children with HIV infection.
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    Quality of life assessment in children requiring oral anticoagulant therapy
    Jones, Sophie Elizabeth ( 2011)
    The absence of robust evidence regarding the management and clinical outcomes of anticoagulant therapy in children challenges interpretation of the risks and benefits of long-term anticoagulation therapy for children. Decisions about treatment increase in complexity in light of the potential burden of treatment on children and families. Quality of life (QoL) is a recognised and validated measure of the burden of treatments for children; yet, there is a lack of data about the impact of long-term warfarin therapy on QoL for children and families. This thesis describes the first study to evaluate the impact of a home international normalised ratio (INR) self-testing (home ST) program on the QoL of children and their families. The aim of the study was to determine if participation in a home ST program improves QoL for children requiring long-term warfarin therapy and their families. Parents of children requiring long-term warfarin therapy and children aged eight to 18 years participated in the QoL study. Three validated QoL questionnaires, the Pediatric Quality of life Inventory Generic Core Scale™, the Pediatric Quality of Life Family Impact Module™ and the KIDCLOT Pediatric Anticoagulation Quality of Life © inventory were employed to measure QoL. Questionnaires were completed before commencing home ST and six to 12 months later. Participants answered four open-ended questions when completing the questionnaires for the second time. Fifty-six families entered the home ST program during the study period. The children were aged between 2 and 17 years. Fifty-five parents and 35 children completed QoL questionnaires. Results of INRs tested at home were collected. The percentage of time the children’s INRs were in their target therapeutic range was 71.3%, which is comparable to many published paediatric studies of home ST. Parents reported statistically significant improvements in QoL for themselves, their family and their child, across all questionnaires following the commencement of home ST (mean difference in score p ≤ 0.003 on all questionnaires). The children’s scores of their own QoL also improved; however, this improvement was not significant. Parents’ report of their children’s QoL was significantly lower than the children’s report of QoL on all questionnaires at both time points. As well as being the first validated baseline QoL data in an Australian population of children requiring oral anticoagulant therapy, this study reports QoL for the largest cohort of children requiring warfarin therapy worldwide. The employment of both quantitative and qualitative methods to assess QoL enhanced understanding about the impact of home ST on QoL. This study has demonstrated that home ST in a population of children requiring long-term warfarin therapy is safe, efficacious and improves the QoL of children and parents. This study confirms home ST successfully reduced the burden of therapy and maintained excellent clinical outcomes. The results of this study not only identify the impact of warfarin therapy upon QoL in children, but offer an alternative evaluation strategy to sensitively measure the impact of interventions in this population. Accurate QoL assessments ensure children’s and families’ values are integrated with the current evidence for best clinical practice.