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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    Treatment patterns and frequency of key outcomes in acute severe asthma in children: a Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative (PREDICT) multicentre cohort study
    Craig, S ; Powell, CVE ; Nixon, GM ; Oakley, E ; Hort, J ; Armstrong, DS ; Ranganathan, S ; Kochar, A ; Wilson, C ; George, S ; Phillips, N ; Furyk, J ; Lawton, B ; Borland, ML ; O'Brien, S ; Neutze, J ; Lithgow, A ; Mitchell, C ; Watkins, N ; Brannigan, D ; Wood, J ; Gray, C ; Hearps, S ; Ramage, E ; Williams, A ; Lew, J ; Jones, L ; Graudins, A ; Dalziel, S ; Babl, FE (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2022-03-01)
    RATIONALE: Severe acute paediatric asthma may require treatment escalation beyond systemic corticosteroids, inhaled bronchodilators and low-flow oxygen. Current large asthma datasets report parenteral therapy only. OBJECTIVES: To identify the use and type of escalation of treatment in children presenting to hospital with acute severe asthma. METHODS: Retrospective cohort study of children with an emergency department diagnosis of asthma or wheeze at 18 Australian and New Zealand hospitals. The main outcomes were use and type of escalation treatment (defined as any of intensive care unit admission, nebulised magnesium, respiratory support or parenteral bronchodilator treatment) and hospital length of stay (LOS). MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Of 14 029 children (median age 3 (IQR 1-3) years; 62.9% male), 1020 (7.3%, 95% CI 6.9% to 7.7%) had treatment escalation. Children with treatment escalation had a longer LOS (44.2 hours, IQR 27.3-63.2 hours) than children without escalation 6.7 hours, IQR 3.5-16.3 hours; p<0.001). The most common treatment escalations were respiratory support alone (400; 2.9%, 95% CI 2.6% to 3.1%), parenteral bronchodilator treatment alone (380; 2.7%, 95% CI 2.5% to 3.0%) and both respiratory support and parenteral bronchodilator treatment (209; 1.5%, 95% CI 1.3% to 1.7%). Respiratory support was predominantly nasal high-flow therapy (99.0%). The most common intravenous medication regimens were: magnesium alone (50.4%), magnesium and aminophylline (24.6%) and magnesium and salbutamol (10.0%). CONCLUSIONS: Overall, 7.3% children with acute severe asthma received some form of escalated treatment, with 4.2% receiving parenteral bronchodilators and 4.3% respiratory support. There is wide variation treatment escalation.
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    Neonatal head injuries: A prospective Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative cohort study
    Eapen, N ; Borland, ML ; Phillips, N ; Kochar, A ; Dalton, S ; Cheek, JA ; Gilhotra, Y ; Neutze, J ; Lyttle, MD ; Donath, S ; Crowe, L ; Dalziel, SR ; Oakley, E ; Williams, A ; Hearps, S ; Bressan, S ; Babl, FE (WILEY, 2019-12-23)
    AIM: To characterise the causes, clinical characteristics and short-term outcomes of neonates who presented to paediatric emergency departments with a head injury. METHODS: Secondary analysis of a prospective data set of paediatric head injuries at 10 emergency departments in Australia and New Zealand. Patients without neuroimaging were followed up by telephone call. We extracted epidemiological information, clinical findings and outcomes in neonates (≤28 days). RESULTS: Of 20 137 children with head injuries, 93 (0.5%) occurred in neonates. These were mostly fall-related (75.2%), commonly from a care giver's arms, or due to being accidentally struck by a person/object (20.4%). There were three cases of non-accidental head injuries (3.2%). Most neonates were asymptomatic (67.7%) and many had no findings on examination (47.3%). Most neonates had a Glasgow Coma Scale 15 (89.2%) or 14 (7.5%). A total of 15.1% presented with vomiting and 5.4% were abnormally drowsy. None had experienced a loss of consciousness. The most common findings on examination were scalp haematoma (28.0%) and possible palpable skull fracture (6.5%); 8.6% underwent computed tomography brain scan and 4.3% received an ultrasound. Five of eight computed tomography scan (5.4% of neonates overall) showed traumatic brain injury and two of four (2.2% overall) had traumatic brain injury on ultrasound. Thirty-seven percent were admitted, one patient was intubated and none had neurosurgery or died. CONCLUSIONS: Neonatal head injuries are rare with a mostly benign short-term outcome and are appropriate for observation. However, non-accidental injuries need to be considered.
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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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    Imaging and admission practices in paediatric head injury across emergency departments in Australia and New Zealand: A PREDICT study
    Phillips, N ; Dalziel, SR ; Borland, ML ; Dalton, S ; Lyttle, MD ; Bressan, S ; Oakley, E ; Hearps, SJC ; Kochar, A ; Furyk, J ; Cheek, JA ; Gilhotra, Y ; Neutze, J ; Babl, FE ; Phillips, N ; Dalziel, SR ; Borland, ML ; Dalton, S ; Lyttle, MD ; Bressan, S ; Oakley, E ; Hearps, SJC ; Kochar, A ; Furyk, J ; Cheek, JA ; Gilhotra, Y ; Neutze, J ; Babl, FE (WILEY, 2019-11-26)
    OBJECTIVES: Variation in the management of paediatric head injury has been identified worldwide. This prospective study describes imaging and admission practices of children presenting with head injury across 10 hospital EDs in Australia and New Zealand. METHODS: Prospective observational multicentre study of 20 137 children (under 18 years) as a planned secondary analysis of the Australasian Paediatric Head Injury Rules Study. All presentations with head injury without prior imaging were eligible for inclusion. Variations in rates of computed tomography of the brain (CTB) and admission practices between sites, ED type and country were investigated, as were clinically important traumatic brain injuries (ciTBIs) and abnormal CTBs within CTBs. RESULTS: Among the 20 137 enrolled patients, the site adjusted CTB rate was 11.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 7.8-14.6); individual sites ranged from 2.6 to 18.6%. ciTBI was found in 0.4-2.2%, with abnormal scans documented in 0.7-6.5%. As a percentage of CTBs undertaken, ciTBIs were found in 12.8% (95% CI 10.8-14.7) with individual site variation of 8.8-16.9%, and no statistically significant difference noted, and traumatic abnormalities in 29.3% (95% CI 26.2-32.3) with individual site variation between 19.4 and 35.6%. Among those under 2 years,traumatic abnormalities were found in greater than 50% of CTBs at 90% of sites. Admission rate overall was 24.0% (site adjusted) with wide variation between sites (5.0-48.9%). CONCLUSION: Across the 10 largely tertiary EDs included in this study, the overall CTB rate was low with no significant variation between sites when adjusted for ciTBIs.
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    Clinically important sport-related traumatic brain injuries in children
    Eapen, N ; Davis, GA ; Borland, ML ; Phillips, N ; Oakley, E ; Hearps, S ; Kochar, A ; Dalton, S ; Cheek, J ; Furyk, J ; Lyttle, MD ; Bressan, S ; Crowe, L ; Dalziel, S ; Tavender, E ; Babl, FE (WILEY, 2019-10-01)
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    Penetrating head injuries in children presenting to the emergency department in Australia and New Zealand: A PREDICT prospective study
    Babl, FE ; Lyttle, MD ; Bressan, S ; Borland, ML ; Phillips, N ; Kochar, A ; Dalton, S ; Cheek, JA ; Gilhotra, Y ; Furyk, J ; Neutze, J ; Donath, S ; Hearps, S ; Arpone, M ; Crowe, L ; Dalziel, SR ; Barker, R ; Oakley, E (WILEY, 2018-08-01)
    AIM: Penetrating head injuries (pHIs) are associated with high morbidity and mortality. Data on pHIs in children outside North America are limited. We describe the mechanism of injuries, neuroimaging findings, neurosurgery and mortality for pHIs in Australia and New Zealand. METHODS: This was a planned secondary analysis of a prospective observational study of children <18 years who presented with a head injury of any severity at any of 10 predominantly paediatric Australian/New Zealand emergency departments (EDs) between 2011 and 2014. We reviewed all cases where clinicians had clinically suspected pHI as well as all cases of clinically important traumatic brain injuries (death, neurosurgery, intubation >24 h, admission >2 days and abnormal computed tomography). RESULTS: Of 20 137 evaluable patients with a head injury, 21 (0.1%) were identified to have sustained a pHI. All injuries were of non-intentional nature, and there were no gunshot wounds. The mechanisms of injuries varied from falls, animal attack, motor vehicle crashes and impact with objects. Mean Glasgow Coma Scale on ED arrival was 10; 10 (48%) had a history of loss of consciousness, and 7 (33%) children were intubated pre-hospital or in the ED. Fourteen (67%) children underwent neurosurgery, two (10%) craniofacial surgery, and five (24%) were treated conservatively; four (19%) patients died. CONCLUSIONS: Paediatric pHIs are very rare in EDs in Australia and New Zealand but are associated with high morbidity and mortality. The absence of firearm-related injuries compared to North America is striking and may reflect Australian and New Zealand firearm regulations.
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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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    Factors predictive for computed tomography use and abnormality in paediatric head injuries in Australia and New Zealand
    Wilson, CL ; Hearps, SJC ; Tavender, EJ ; Phillips, NT ; Lawton, B ; Kinnear, F ; Beattie, A ; Mitenko, H ; Young, R ; Cole, J ; Kochar, A ; George, S ; Teo, SSS ; Georgeson, T ; Michael, A ; Mukherjee, A ; King, A ; Gamage, L ; Archer, P ; Cassidy, C ; Rao, A ; Thosar, D ; Borland, ML ; Babl, FE (WILEY, 2020-12-22)
    OBJECTIVES: To investigate patient-level factors predictive for computed tomography of the brain (CTB) use and abnormality in head injured children in Australia and New Zealand. METHODS: Retrospective data from tertiary, urban/suburban and regional/rural EDs including factors predictive for CTB use and abnormality. RESULTS: Of 3072 children at 31 EDs, 212 (6.9%) had a CTB scan, of which 66 (31%) were abnormal. Increasing age, serious mechanisms of injury and decreasing Glasgow Coma Score were predictive for ordering CTB. Decreasing age was predictive for CTB abnormalities. Other factors were not. CONCLUSION: Patient-level drivers of CTB use in children in Australia and New Zealand are consistent with international data.
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    Risk of traumatic intracranial haemorrhage in children with bleeding disorders
    Bressan, S ; Monagle, P ; Dalziel, SR ; Borland, ML ; Phillips, N ; Kochar, A ; Lyttle, MD ; Cheek, JA ; Neutze, J ; Oakley, E ; Dalton, S ; Gilhotra, Y ; Hearps, S ; Furyk, J ; Babl, FE (WILEY, 2020-08-18)
    AIM: To assess computerised tomography (CT) use and the risk of intracranial haemorrhage (ICH) in children with bleeding disorders following a head trauma. METHODS: Design: Multicentre prospective observational study. SETTING: 10 paediatric emergency departments (ED) in Australia and New Zealand. PATIENTS: Children <18 years with and without bleeding disorders assessed in ED following head trauma between April 2011 and November 2014. INTERVENTIONS: Data collection of patient characteristics, management and outcomes. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Rate of CT use and frequency of ICH on CT. RESULTS: Of 20 137 patients overall, 103 (0.5%) had a congenital or acquired bleeding disorder. CT use was higher in these patients compared with children without bleeding disorders (30.1 vs. 10.4%; rate ratio 2.91 95% CI 2.16-3.91). Only one of 31 (3.2%) children who underwent CT in the ED had an ICH. This patient rapidly deteriorated in the ED on arrival and required neurosurgery. None of the patients with bleeding disorders who did not have a CT obtained in the ED or had an initial negative CT had evidence of ICH on follow up. CONCLUSIONS: Although children with a bleeding disorder and a head trauma more often received a CT scan in the ED, their risk of ICH seemed low and appeared associated with post-traumatic clinical findings. Selective CT use combined with observation may be cautiously considered in these children based on clinical presentation and severity of bleeding disorder.