Paediatrics (RCH) - Research Publications

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    Improving subacute management of post concussion symptoms: a pilot study of the Melbourne Paediatric Concussion Scale parent report.
    Davis, GA ; Rausa, VC ; Babl, FE ; Davies, K ; Takagi, M ; Crichton, A ; McKinlay, A ; Anderson, N ; Hearps, SJ ; Clarke, C ; Pugh, R ; Dunne, K ; Barnett, P ; Anderson, V (Future Medicine Ltd, 2022-05)
    AIM: To pilot a modification of the Post Concussion Symptom Inventory, the Melbourne Paediatric Concussion Scale (MPCS) and examine its clinical utility. MATERIALS & METHODS: A total of 40 families of concussed children, aged 8-18 years, were recruited from the emergency department. Parent responses to the MPCS in the emergency department and 2-weeks post injury determined child symptomatic status. Association between MPCS symptom endorsement and symptomatic group status was examined. RESULTS: All additional MPCS items were endorsed by at least 25% of the parents of symptomatic children at 2 weeks. MPCS items were classified into nine symptom domains, with most falling in mood, neurological, autonomic and vestibular domains. CONCLUSION: The additional items and domain classifications in the MPCS have the potential to improve subacute diagnostic precision, monitoring of clinical recovery and identification of appropriate interventions post pediatric concussion.
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    Australian and New Zealand Guideline for Mild to Moderate Head Injuries in Children
    Babl, FE ; Tavender, E ; Ballard, DW ; Borland, ML ; Oakley, E ; Cotterell, E ; Halkidis, L ; Goergen, S ; Davis, GA ; Perry, D ; Anderson, V ; Barlow, KM ; Barnett, P ; Bennetts, S ; Bhamjee, R ; Cole, J ; Craven, J ; Haskell, L ; Lawton, B ; Lithgow, A ; Mullen, G ; O'Brien, S ; Paproth, M ; Wilson, CL ; Ring, J ; Wilson, A ; Leo, GSY ; Dalziel, SR (WILEY, 2021-02-02)
    OBJECTIVE: Children frequently present with head injuries to acute care settings. Although international paediatric clinical practice guidelines for head injuries exist, they do not address all considerations related to triage, imaging, observation versus admission, transfer, discharge and follow-up of mild to moderate head injuries relevant to the Australian and New Zealand context. The Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative (PREDICT) set out to develop an evidence-based, locally applicable, practical clinical guideline for the care of children with mild to moderate head injuries presenting to acute care settings. METHODS: A multidisciplinary Guideline Working Group (GWG) developed 33 questions in three key areas - triage, imaging and discharge of children with mild to moderate head injuries presenting to acute care settings. We identified existing high-quality guidelines and from these guidelines recommendations were mapped to clinical questions. Updated literature searches were undertaken, and key new evidence identified. Recommendations were created through either adoption, adaptation or development of de novo recommendations. The guideline was revised after a period of public consultation. RESULTS: The GWG developed 71 recommendations (evidence-informed = 35, consensus-based = 17, practice points = 19), relevant to the Australian and New Zealand setting. The guideline is presented as three documents: (i) a detailed Full Guideline summarising the evidence underlying each recommendation; (ii) a Guideline Summary; and (iii) a clinical Algorithm: Imaging and Observation Decision-making for Children with Head Injuries. CONCLUSIONS: The PREDICT Australian and New Zealand Guideline for Mild to Moderate Head Injuries in Children provides high-level evidence and practical guidance for front line clinicians.
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    Paediatric abusive head trauma in the emergency department: A multicentre prospective cohort study
    Babl, FE ; Pfeiffer, H ; Kelly, P ; Dalziel, SR ; Oakley, E ; Borland, ML ; Kochar, A ; Dalton, S ; Cheek, JA ; Gilhotra, Y ; Furyk, J ; Lyttle, MD ; Bressan, S ; Donath, S ; Hearps, SJC ; Smith, A ; Crowe, L (WILEY, 2019-12-10)
    AIM: Abusive head trauma (AHT) is associated with high morbidity and mortality. We aimed to describe characteristics of cases where clinicians suspected AHT and confirmed AHT cases and describe how they differed. METHODS: This was a planned secondary analysis of a prospective multicentre cohort study of head injured children aged <18 years across five centres in Australia and New Zealand. We identified cases of suspected AHT when emergency department clinicians raised suspicion on a clinical report form or based on research assistant-assigned epidemiology codes. Cases were categorised as AHT positive, negative and indeterminate after multidisciplinary review. Suspected and confirmed AHT and non-AHT cases were compared using odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals. RESULTS: AHT was suspected in 70 of 13 371 (0.5%) head-injured children. Of these, 23 (32.9%) were categorised AHT positive, 18 (25.7%) AHT indeterminate and 29 (27.1%) AHT negative. Median age was 0.8 years in suspected, 1.4 years in confirmed AHT and 4.1 years in non-AHT cases. Odds ratios (95% confidence interval) for presenting features and outcomes in confirmed AHT versus non-AHT were: loss of consciousness 2.8 (1.2-6.9), scalp haematoma 3.9 (1.7-9.0), seizures 12.0 (4.0-35.5), Glasgow coma scale ≤12 30.3 (11.8-78.0), abnormal neuroimaging 38.3 (16.8-87.5), intensive care admission 53.4 (21.6-132.5) and mortality 105.5 (22.2-500.4). CONCLUSIONS: Emergency department presentations of children with suspected and confirmed AHT had higher rates of loss of consciousness, scalp haematomas, seizures and low Glasgow coma scale. These cases were at increased risk of abnormal computed tomography scans, need for intensive care and death.
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    Paediatric intentional head injuries in the emergency department: A multicentre prospective cohort study
    Babl, FE ; Pfeiffer, H ; Dalziel, SR ; Oakley, E ; Anderson, V ; Borland, ML ; Phillips, N ; Kochar, A ; Dalton, S ; Cheek, JA ; Gilhotra, Y ; Furyk, J ; Neutze, J ; Lyttle, MD ; Bressan, S ; Donath, S ; Hearps, SJC ; Crowe, L (WILEY, 2019-08-01)
    OBJECTIVE: Although there is a large body of research on head injury (HI) inflicted by caregivers in young children, little is known about intentional HI in older children and inflicted HI by perpetrators other than carers. Therefore, we set out to describe epidemiology, demographics and severity of intentional HIs in childhood. METHODS: A planned secondary analysis of a prospective multicentre cohort study was conducted in 10 EDs in Australia and New Zealand, including children aged <18 years with HIs. Epidemiology codes were used to prospectively code the injuries. Demographic and clinical information including the rate of clinically important traumatic brain injury (ciTBI: HI leading to death, neurosurgery, intubation >1 day or admission ≥2 days with abnormal computed tomography [CT]) was descriptively analysed. RESULTS: Intentional injuries were identified in 372 of 20 137 (1.8%) head-injured children. Injuries were caused by caregivers (103, 27.7%), by peers (97, 26.1%), by siblings (47, 12.6%), by strangers (35, 9.4%), by persons with unknown relation to the patient (21, 5.6%), other intentional injuries (8, 2.2%) or undetermined intent (61, 16.4%). About 75.7% of victims of assault by caregivers were <2 years, whereas in other categories, only 4.9% were <2 years. Overall, 66.9% of victims were male. Rates of CT performance and abnormal CT varied: assault by caregivers 68.9%/47.6%, by peers 18.6%/27.8%, by strangers 37.1%/5.7%. ciTBI rate was 22.3% in assault by caregivers, 3.1% when caused by peers and 0.0% with other perpetrators. CONCLUSIONS: Intentional HI is infrequent in children. The most frequently identified perpetrators are caregivers and peers. Caregiver injuries are particularly severe.
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    Use of the sport concussion assessment tools in the emergency department to predict persistent post-concussive symptoms in children
    Bressan, S ; Clarke, CJ ; Anderson, V ; Takagi, M ; Hearps, SJC ; Rausa, V ; Anderson, N ; Doyle, M ; Dunne, K ; Oakley, E ; Davis, GA ; Babl, FE (WILEY, 2020-08)
    Aim The Sport Concussion Assessment Tool v3 (SCAT3) and its child version (ChildSCAT3) are composite tools including a symptom scale, a rapid cognitive assessment (standardised assessment of concussion (SAC)) and the modified Balance Error Scoring System (mBESS). It is unclear whether their use for the acute assessment of paediatric concussion in the emergency department (ED) may help predict persistent post‐concussive symptoms (PPCS). We aim to assess the predictive value of the main SCAT3/ChildSCAT3 components for PPCS when applied in the ED. Methods A single‐site, prospective longitudinal cohort study of children aged 5–18 years assessed within 48 h of their concussion at the ED of a state‐wide tertiary paediatric hospital and followed up at the affiliated concussion clinic, between November 2013 and August 2017. PPCS was defined as ≥2 new or worsening symptoms at 1 month post‐injury using the Post‐Concussive Symptom Inventory. Results Of the 370 children enrolled, 213 (57.7% <13 years old) provided complete data. Of these, 34.7% had PPCS at 1 month post‐injury (38.2% of children <13 years and 30.0% ≥13 years of age, P = 0.272). The adjusted ORs from multiple logistic regression models, for number and severity of symptoms, and for the SAC and mBESS performance in both the ChildSCAT3/SCAT3, were all not significant. The area under the curve of receiver operator characteristic curves for all analysed ChildSCAT3/SCAT3 components was below 0.6. Conclusions Although SCAT3 and ChildSCAT3 are recommended tools to assist with concussion diagnosis and monitoring of patient recovery, their use in the ED does not seem to help predict PPCS.
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    Children's Daily Life After Potentially Traumatic Injury: A Naturalistic Observation Study
    Vasileva, M ; Schilpzand, EJ ; Mangelsdorf, SN ; Conroy, R ; Barrett, A ; Jowett, H ; Bressan, S ; Babl, FE ; Anderson, V ; Mehl, MR ; Alisic, E (AMER PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOC, 2022-03-01)
    Although family environment in the aftermath of potentially traumatic pediatric injury appears critical to recovery, there are no studies observing children’s daily life at home. We aimed to explore the daily family environment (activities and interactions) of 3- to 16-year-olds and their families following an injury requiring hospital admission. We used the electronically activated recorder (EAR; Mehl et al. 2001) to gather detailed, moment-to-moment observational data for 71 child participants (59% male; Mage = 10.41 years, SD = 3.60) during 2 days at home, within a month of their injury. We also explored associations between either acute stress symptoms or perceived social support and characteristics of daily family environment. TV exposure was a dominant feature in children’s lives, 38.62% of children’s wake time, SD = 22.20%. Children interacted with others an average of 46.80% of their wake time (SD = 18.05%). Older children spent more time alone than younger children, and mothers were children’s most frequent interaction partners, 44.22% of children’s interaction time, SD = 22.06%; followed by siblings, M = 36.59%, SD = 28.74%; and fathers, M = 22.78%, SD = 22.80%. There were few associations between either acute stress symptoms or perceived social support and daily family environment, with some correlations varying across child age and sex. The findings give first insights into clinically relevant aspects of child daily family environment after pediatric injury. This study provides a benchmark for future naturalistic observation studies of family life after trauma.
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    Child concussion recognition and recovery: a community delivered, evidenced-based solution
    Clarke, C ; Anderson, V ; Babl, FE ; Rausa, VC ; Davis, GA ; Barnett, P ; Crichton, A ; Takagi, M ; Hearps, SJC ; Davies, K ; McKinlay, A ; Anderson, N ; Kwan, V ; Kanagalingam, S ; Ceregra, G ; Petris, A ; Darling, S ; Clifton, P ; Harcourt, P (AME PUBL CO, 2020-05-01)
    Pediatric concussion is a growing health concern. Concussion is generally poorly understood within the community. Many parents are unaware of the signs and varying symptoms of concussion. Despite the existence of concussion management and return to play guidelines, few parents are aware of how to manage their child's recovery and return to activities. Digital health technology can improve the way this information is communicated to the community. A multidisciplinary team of pediatric concussion researchers and clinicians translated evidence-based, gold-standard guidelines and tools into a smartphone application with recognition and recovery components. HeadCheck is a community facing digital health application developed in Australia (not associated with HeadCheck Health) for management of concussion in children aged 5-18 years. The application consists of (I) a sideline concussion check and (II) symptom monitoring and symptom-targeted psychoeducation to assist the parent manage their child's safe return to school, exercise and sport. The application was tested with target end users as part of the development process. HeadCheck provides an accessible platform for disseminating best practice evidence. It provides feedback to help recognize a concussion and symptoms of more serious injuries and assists parents guide their child's recovery.
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    Protocol for a randomised clinical trial of multimodal postconcussion symptom treatment and recovery: the Concussion Essentials study
    Anderson, V ; Rausa, VC ; Anderson, N ; Parkin, G ; Clarke, C ; Davies, K ; McKinlay, A ; Crichton, A ; Davis, GA ; Dalziel, K ; Dunne, K ; Barnett, P ; Hearps, SJC ; Takagi, M ; Babl, FE (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2021-01-01)
    INTRODUCTION: While most children recover from a concussion shortly after injury, approximately 30% experience persistent postconcussive symptoms (pPCS) beyond 1-month postinjury. Existing research into the treatment of pPCS have evaluated unimodal approaches, despite evidence suggesting that pPCS likely represent an interaction across various symptom clusters. The primary aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a multimodal, symptom-tailored intervention to accelerate symptom recovery and increase the proportion of children with resolved symptoms at 3 months postconcussion. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: In this open-label, assessor-blinded, randomised clinical trial, children with concussion aged 8-18 years will be recruited from The Royal Children's Hospital (The RCH) emergency department, or referred by a clinician, within 17 days of initial injury. Based on parent ratings of their child's PCS at ~10 days postinjury, symptomatic children (≥2 symptoms at least 1-point above those endorsed preinjury) will undergo a baseline assessment at 3 weeks postinjury and randomised into either Concussion Essentials (CE, n=108), a multimodal, interdisciplinary delivered, symptom-tailored treatment involving physiotherapy, psychology and education, or usual care (UC, n=108) study arms. CE participants will receive 1 hour of intervention each week, for up to 8 weeks or until pPCS resolve. A postprogramme assessment will be conducted at 3 months postinjury for all participants. Effectiveness of the CE intervention will be determined by the proportion of participants for whom pPCS have resolved at the postprogramme assessment (primary outcome) relative to the UC group. Secondary outcome analyses will examine whether children receiving CE are more likely to demonstrate resolution of pPCS, earlier return to normal activity, higher quality of life and a lower rate of utilisation of health services, compared with the UC group. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics were approved by The RCH Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC: 37100). Parent, and for mature minors, participant consent, will be obtained prior to commencement of the trial. Study results will be disseminated at international conferences and international peer-reviewed journals. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ACTRN12617000418370; pre-results.
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    Protocol for a prospective, longitudinal, cohort study of postconcussive symptoms in children: the Take CARe (Concussion Assessment and Recovery Research) study
    Bressan, S ; Takagi, M ; Anderson, V ; Davis, GA ; Oakley, E ; Dunne, K ; Clarke, C ; Doyle, M ; Hearps, S ; Ignjatovic, V ; Seal, M ; Babl, FE (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2016-01-01)
    INTRODUCTION: A substantial minority of children who sustain a concussion suffer prolonged postconcussive symptoms. These symptoms can persist for more than 1 month postinjury and include physical, cognitive, behavioural and emotional changes. Those affected can develop significant disability, diminishing their quality of life. The precise prevalence of postconcussive symptoms following child concussion is unclear, with heterogeneous and at times conflicting results published regarding factors that predict children at risk for developing long-lasting postconcussive symptoms. The aim of the Take C.A.Re (Concussion Assessment and Recovery Research) study is to provide an in-depth multidimensional description of the postconcussive recovery trajectories from a physical, neurocognitive and psychosocial perspective in the 3 months following concussion, with a focus on the early postconcussive period, and identification of factors associated with prolonged recovery. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Take C.A.Re is a prospective, longitudinal study at a tertiary children's hospital, recruiting and assessing patients aged 5-<18 years who present to the emergency department with a concussion and following them at 1-4 days, 2 weeks, 1 month and 3 months postinjury. Multiple domains are assessed: postconcussive symptoms, balance and coordination, neurocognition, behaviour, quality of life, fatigue, post-traumatic stress symptoms, parental distress and family burden. 'Delayed recovery' is operationalised as the presence of ≥ 3 symptoms on the Post Concussive Symptoms Inventory rated as worse compared with baseline. Main analyses comprise analysis of variance (recovery trajectories, delayed vs normal recovery groups) and regression analyses of predictors of recovery (preinjury, acute and family factors). ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval has been obtained through the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne Human Research Ethics Committee (33122). We aim to disseminate the findings through international conferences, international peer-reviewed journals and social media. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ACTRN12615000316505.
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    Bell's Palsy in Children (BellPIC): protocol for a multicentre, placebo-controlled randomized trial
    Babl, FE ; Mackay, MT ; Borland, ML ; Herd, DW ; Kochar, A ; Hort, J ; Rao, A ; Cheek, JA ; Furyk, J ; Barrow, L ; George, S ; Zhang, M ; Gardiner, K ; Lee, KJ ; Davidson, A ; Berkowitz, R ; Sullivan, F ; Porrello, E ; Dalziel, KM ; Anderson, V ; Oakley, E ; Hopper, S ; Williams, F ; Wilson, C ; Williams, A ; Dalziel, SR (BMC, 2017-02-13)
    BACKGROUND: Bell's palsy or acute idiopathic lower motor neurone facial paralysis is characterized by sudden onset paralysis or weakness of the muscles to one side of the face controlled by the facial nerve. While there is high level evidence in adults demonstrating an improvement in the rate of complete recovery of facial nerve function when treated with steroids compared with placebo, similar high level studies on the use of steroids in Bell's palsy in children are not available. The aim of this study is to assess the utility of steroids in Bell's palsy in children in a randomised placebo-controlled trial. METHODS/DESIGN: We are conducting a randomised, triple-blinded, placebo controlled trial of the use of prednisolone to improve recovery from Bell's palsy at 1 month. Study sites are 10 hospitals within the Australian and New Zealand PREDICT (Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative) research network. 540 participants will be enrolled. To be eligible patients need to be aged 6 months to < 18 years and present within 72 hours of onset of clinician diagnosed Bell's palsy to one of the participating hospital emergency departments. Patients will be excluded in case of current use of or contraindications to steroids or if there is an alternative diagnosis. Participants will receive either prednisolone 1 mg/kg/day to a maximum of 50 mg/day or taste matched placebo for 10 days. The primary outcome is complete recovery by House-Brackmann scale at 1 month. Secondary outcomes include assessment of recovery using the Sunnybrook scale, the emotional and functional wellbeing of the participants using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory and Child Health Utility 9D Scale, pain using Faces Pain Scale Revised or visual analogue scales, synkinesis using a synkinesis assessment questionnaire and health utilisation costs at 1, 3 and 6 months. Participants will be tracked to 12 months if not recovered earlier. Data analysis will be by intention to treat with primary outcome presented as differences in proportions and an odds ratio adjusted for site and age. DISCUSSION: This large multicenter randomised trial will allow the definitive assessment of the efficacy of prednisolone compared with placebo in the treatment of Bell's palsy in children. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12615000563561 (1 June 2015).