Paediatrics (RCH) - Research Publications

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    Influence of weather on incidence of bronchiolitis in Australia and New Zealand
    Hoeppner, T ; Borland, M ; Babl, FE ; Neutze, J ; Phillips, N ; Krieser, D ; Dalziel, SR ; Davidson, A ; Donath, S ; Jachno, K ; South, M ; Williams, A ; Zhang, G ; Oakley, E (WILEY, 2017-10-01)
    AIM: We aimed to examine the impact of weather on hospital admissions with bronchiolitis in Australia and New Zealand. METHODS: We collected data for inpatient admissions of infants aged 2-12 months to seven hospitals in four cities in Australia and New Zealand from 2009 until 2011. Correlation of hospital admissions with minimum daily temperature, wind speed, relative humidity and rainfall was examined using linear, Poisson and negative binomial regression analyses as well as general estimated equation models. To account for possible lag between exposure to weather and admission to hospital, analyses were conducted for time lags of 0-4 weeks. RESULTS: During the study period, 3876 patients were admitted to the study hospitals. Hospital admissions showed strong seasonality with peaks in wintertime, onset in autumn and offset in spring. The onset of peak incidence was preceded by a drop in temperature. Minimum temperature was inversely correlated with hospital admissions, whereas wind speed was directly correlated. These correlations were sustained for time lags of up to 4 weeks. Standardised correlation coefficients ranged from -0.14 to -0.54 for minimum temperature and from 0.18 to 0.39 for wind speed. Relative humidity and rainfall showed no correlation with hospital admissions in our study. CONCLUSION: A decrease in temperature and increasing wind speed are associated with increasing incidence of bronchiolitis hospital admissions in Australia and New Zealand.
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    Intensive care unit admissions and ventilation support in infants with bronchiolitis
    Oakley, E ; Chong, V ; Borland, M ; Neutze, J ; Phillips, N ; Krieser, D ; Dalziel, S ; Davidson, A ; Donath, S ; Jachno, K ; South, M ; Fry, A ; Babl, FE (WILEY, 2017-08-01)
    OBJECTIVES: To describe the rate of intensive care unit (ICU) admission, type of ventilation support provided and risk factors for ICU admission in infants with bronchiolitis. DESIGN: Retrospective review of hospital records and Australia and New Zealand Paediatric Intensive Care (ANZPIC) registry data for infants 2-12 months old admitted with bronchiolitis. SETTING: Seven Australian and New Zealand hospitals. These infants were prospectively identified through the comparative rehydration in bronchiolitis (CRIB) study between 2009 and 2011. RESULTS: Of 3884 infants identified, 3589 charts were available for analysis. Of 204 (5.7%) infants with bronchiolitis admitted to ICU, 162 (79.4%) received ventilation support. Of those 133 (82.1%) received non-invasive ventilation (high flow nasal cannula [HFNC] or continuous positive airway pressure [CPAP]) 7 (4.3%) received invasive ventilation alone and 21 (13.6%) received a combination of ventilation modes. Infants with comorbidities such as chronic lung disease (OR 1.6 [95% CI 1.0-2.6]), congenital heart disease (OR 2.3 [1.5-3.5]), neurological disease (OR 2.2 [1.2-4.1]) or prematurity (OR 1.5 [1.0-2.1]), and infants 2-6 months of age (OR 1.5 [1.1-2.0]) were more likely to be admitted to ICU. Respiratory syncitial virus positivity did not increase the likelihood of being admitted to ICU (OR 1.1 [95% CI 0.8-1.4]). HFNC use changed from 13/53 (24.5% [95% CI 13.7-38.3]) patient episodes in 2009 to 39/91 (42.9% [95% CI 32.5-53.7]) patient episodes in 2011. CONCLUSION: Admission to ICU is an uncommon occurrence in infants admitted with bronchiolitis, but more common in infants with comorbidities and prematurity. The majority are managed with non-invasive ventilation, with increasing use of HFNC.
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    Economic evaluation of nasogastric versus intravenous hydration in infants with bronchiolitis
    Oakley, E ; Carter, R ; Murphy, B ; Borland, M ; Neutze, J ; Acworth, J ; Krieser, D ; Dalziel, S ; Davidson, A ; Donath, S ; Jachno, K ; South, M ; Babl, FE (WILEY, 2017-06-01)
    OBJECTIVE: Bronchiolitis is the most common lower respiratory tract infection in infants and the leading cause of hospitalisation. We aimed to assess whether intravenous hydration (IVH) was more cost-effective than nasogastric hydration (NGH) as a planned secondary economic analysis of a randomised trial involving 759 infants (aged 2-12 months) admitted to hospital with a clinical diagnosis of bronchiolitis and requiring non-oral hydration. No Australian cost data exist to aid clinicians in decision-making around interventions in bronchiolitis. METHODS: Cost data collections included hospital and intervention-specific costs. The economic analysis was reduced to a cost-minimisation study, focusing on intervention-specific costs of IVH versus NGH, as length of stay was equal between groups. All analyses are reported as intention to treat. RESULTS: Intervention costs were greater for IVH than NGH ($113 vs $74; cost difference of $39 per child). The intervention-specific cost advantage to NGH was robust to inter-site variation in unit prices and treatment activity. CONCLUSION: Intervention-specific costs account for <10% of total costs of bronchiolitis admissions, with NGH having a small cost saving across all sites.
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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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    Medication use in infants admitted with bronchiolitis
    Oakley, E ; Brys, T ; Borland, M ; Neutze, J ; Phillips, N ; Krieser, D ; Dalziel, SR ; Davidson, A ; Donath, S ; Jachno, K ; South, M ; Williams, A ; Babl, FE (WILEY, 2018-06-01)
    BACKGROUND: There are no medications known that improve the outcome of infants with bronchiolitis. Studies have shown the management of bronchiolitis to be varied. OBJECTIVES: To describe medication use at the seven study hospitals from a recent multi-centre randomised controlled trial on hydration in bronchiolitis (comparative rehydration in bronchiolitis [CRIB]). METHODS: A retrospective analysis of extant data of infants between 2 months (corrected for prematurity) and 12 months of age admitted with bronchiolitis identified through the CRIB trial. CRIB study records, medical records, pathology and radiology databases were used to collect data using a standardised form and entered in a single site database. Medications investigated included salbutamol, adrenaline, steroids, ipratropium bromide, normal saline, hypertonic saline, steroids and antibiotics. RESULTS: There were 3456 infants available for analysis, of which 42.0% received at least one medication during hospitalisation. Medication use varied by site between 27.0 and 48.7%. The most frequently used medication was salbutamol (25.5%). Medication use in general, and salbutamol use in particular, increased by 8.2 and 9.3%, respectively, per month after 4 months of age; from 22.9 and 3.6% at 4 months to 81.4 and 68.8% at 11 months. In infants admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) compared with those not admitted to ICU 81.6 and 39.5%, respectively, received medication at one point during the hospital stay. CONCLUSIONS: Medication was used for infants with bronchiolitis frequently and variably in Australia and New Zealand. Medication use increased with age. Better strategies for translating evidence into practice are needed.
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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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    The Effect of Patient Observation on Cranial Computed Tomography Rates in Children With Minor Head Trauma
    Singh, S ; Hearps, SJC ; Borland, ML ; Dalziel, SR ; Neutze, J ; Donath, S ; Cheek, JA ; Kochar, A ; Gilhotra, Y ; Phillips, N ; Williams, A ; Lyttle, MD ; Bressan, S ; Hoch, JS ; Oakley, E ; Holmes, JF ; Kuppermann, N ; Babl, FE ; Cloutier, R (WILEY, 2020-03-26)
    BACKGROUND: Management of children with minor blunt head trauma often includes a period of observation to determine the need for cranial computed tomography (CT). Our objective was to estimate the effect of planned observation on CT use for each Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) traumatic brain injury (TBI) risk group among children with minor head trauma. METHODS: This was a secondary analysis of a prospective observational study at 10 emergency departments (EDs) in Australia and New Zealand, including 18,471 children < 18 years old, presenting within 24 hours of blunt head trauma, with Glasgow Coma Scale scores of 14 to 15. The planned observation cohort was defined by those with planned observation and no immediate plan for cranial CT. The comparison cohort included the rest of the patients who were either not observed or for whom a decision to obtain a cranial CT was made immediately after ED assessment. The outcome clinically important TBI (ciTBI) was defined as death due to head trauma, neurosurgery, intubation for > 24 hours for head trauma, or hospitalization for ≥ 2 nights in association with a positive cranial CT scan. We estimated the odds of cranial CT use with planned observation, adjusting for patient characteristics, PECARN TBI risk group, history of seizure, time from injury, and hospital clustering, using a generalized linear model with mixed effects. RESULTS: The cranial CT rate in the total cohort was 8.6%, and 0.8% had ciTBI. The planned observation group had 4,945 (27%) children compared to 13,526 (73%) in the no planned observation group. Cranial CT use was significantly lower with planned observation (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 0.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.1 to 0.1), with no difference in missed ciTBI rates. There was no difference in the odds of cranial CT use with planned observation for the group at very low risk for ciTBI (adjusted OR = 0.9, 95% CI = 0.5 to 1.4). Planned observation was associated with significantly lower cranial CT use in patients at intermediate risk (adjusted OR = 0.2, 95% CI = 0.2 to 0.3) and high risk (adjusted OR = 0.1, 95% CI = 0.0 to 0.1) for ciTBI. CONCLUSIONS: Even in a setting with low overall cranial CT rates in children with minor head trauma, planned observation was associated with decreased cranial CT use. This strategy can be safely implemented on selected patients in the PECARN intermediate- and higher-risk groups for ciTBI.
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    A prospective observational study to assess the diagnostic accuracy of clinical decision rules for children presenting to emergency departments after head injuries (protocol): the Australasian Paediatric Head Injury Rules Study (APHIRST)
    Babl, FE ; Lyttle, MD ; Bressan, S ; Borland, M ; Phillips, N ; Kochar, A ; Dalziel, SR ; Dalton, S ; Cheek, JA ; Furyk, J ; Gilhotra, Y ; Neutze, J ; Ward, B ; Donath, S ; Jachno, K ; Crowe, L ; Williams, A ; Oakley, E (BMC, 2014-06-13)
    BACKGROUND: Head injuries in children are responsible for a large number of emergency department visits. Failure to identify a clinically significant intracranial injury in a timely fashion may result in long term neurodisability and death. Whilst cranial computed tomography (CT) provides rapid and definitive identification of intracranial injuries, it is resource intensive and associated with radiation induced cancer. Evidence based head injury clinical decision rules have been derived to aid physicians in identifying patients at risk of having a clinically significant intracranial injury. Three rules have been identified as being of high quality and accuracy: the Canadian Assessment of Tomography for Childhood Head Injury (CATCH) from Canada, the Children's Head Injury Algorithm for the Prediction of Important Clinical Events (CHALICE) from the UK, and the prediction rule for the identification of children at very low risk of clinically important traumatic brain injury developed by the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) from the USA. This study aims to prospectively validate and compare the performance accuracy of these three clinical decision rules when applied outside the derivation setting. METHODS/DESIGN: This study is a prospective observational study of children aged 0 to less than 18 years presenting to 10 emergency departments within the Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative (PREDICT) research network in Australia and New Zealand after head injuries of any severity. Predictor variables identified in CATCH, CHALICE and PECARN clinical decision rules will be collected. Patients will be managed as per the treating clinicians at the participating hospitals. All patients not undergoing cranial CT will receive a follow up call 14 to 90 days after the injury. Outcome data collected will include results of cranial CTs (if performed) and details of admission, intubation, neurosurgery and death. The performance accuracy of each of the rules will be assessed using rule specific outcomes and inclusion and exclusion criteria. DISCUSSION: This study will allow the simultaneous comparative application and validation of three major paediatric head injury clinical decision rules outside their derivation setting. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR)- ACTRN12614000463673 (registered 2 May 2014).