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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    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.