Paediatrics (RCH) - Research Publications

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    Sustainability of evidence-based practices in the management of infants with bronchiolitis in hospital settings - a PREDICT study protocol.
    Ramsden, V ; Babl, FE ; Dalziel, SR ; Middleton, S ; Oakley, E ; Haskell, L ; Lithgow, A ; Orsini, F ; Schembri, R ; Wallace, A ; Wilson, CL ; McInnes, E ; Wilson, PH ; Tavender, E (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-08-29)
    BACKGROUND: Understanding how and why de-implementation of low-value practices is sustained remains unclear. The Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International CollaboraTive (PREDICT) Bronchiolitis Knowledge Translation (KT) Study was a cluster randomised controlled trial conducted in 26 Australian and New Zealand hospitals (May-November 2017). Results showed targeted, theory-informed interventions (clinical leads, stakeholder meetings, train-the-trainer workshop, targeted educational package, audit/feedback) were effective at reducing use of five low-value practices for bronchiolitis (salbutamol, glucocorticoids, antibiotics, adrenaline and chest x-ray) by 14.1% in acute care settings. The primary aim of this study is to determine the sustainability (continued receipt of benefits) of these outcomes at intervention hospitals two-years after the removal of study supports. Secondary aims are to determine sustainability at one-year after removal of study support at intervention hospitals; improvements one-and-two years at control hospitals; and explore factors that influence sustainability at intervention hospitals and contribute to improvements at control hospitals. METHODS: A mixed-methods study design. The quantitative component is a retrospective medical record audit of bronchiolitis management within 24 hours of emergency department (ED) presentations at 26 Australian (n = 20) and New Zealand (n = 6) hospitals, which participated in the PREDICT Bronchiolitis KT Study. Data for a total of 1800 infants from intervention and control sites (up to 150 per site) will be collected to determine if improvements (i.e., no use of all five low-value practices) were sustained two- years (2019) post-trial (primary outcome; composite score); and a further 1800 infants from intervention and control sites will be collected to determine sustained improvements one- year (2018) post-trial (secondary outcome). An a priori definition of sustainability will be used. The qualitative component will consist of semi-structured interviews with three to five key emergency department and paediatric inpatient medical and nursing staff per site (total n = 78-130). Factors that may have contributed to sustaining outcomes and/or interventions will be explored and mapped to an established sustainability framework. DISCUSSION: This study will improve our understanding of the sustainability of evidence-based bronchiolitis management in infants. Results will also advance implementation science research by informing future de-implementation strategies to reduce low-value practices and sustain practice change in paediatric acute care. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry No: ACTRN12621001287820.
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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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    Review article: Developing the Australian and New Zealand Guideline for Mild to Moderate Head Injuries in Children: An adoption/adaption approach
    Tavender, E ; Ballard, DW ; Wilson, A ; Borland, ML ; Oakley, E ; Cotterell, E ; Wilson, CL ; Ring, J ; Dalziel, SR ; Babl, FE (WILEY, 2021-02-02)
    The Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative (PREDICT) released the Australian and New Zealand Guideline for Mild to Moderate Head Injuries in Children in 2021. We describe innovative and practical methods used to develop this guideline. Informed by GRADE-ADOLOPMENT and ADAPTE frameworks, we adopted or adapted recommendations from multiple high-quality guidelines or developed de novo recommendations. A Guideline Steering Committee and a multidisciplinary Guideline Working Group of 25 key stakeholder representatives formulated the guideline scope and developed 33 clinical questions. We identified four relevant high-quality source guidelines; their recommendations were mapped to clinical questions. The choice of guideline recommendation, if more than one guideline addressed a question, was based on its appropriateness, currency of the literature, access to evidence, and relevance. Updated literature searches identified 440 new studies and key new evidence identified. The decision to develop adopted, adapted or de novo recommendations was based on the supporting evidence-base and its transferability to the local setting. The guideline underwent a 12-week consultation period. The final guideline consisted of 35 evidence-informed and 17 consensus-based recommendations and 19 practice points. An algorithm to inform imaging and observation decision-making was also developed. The resulting process was an efficient and rigorous way to develop a guideline based on existing high-quality guidelines from different settings.
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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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    Mental health presentations to the paediatric emergency department: A retrospective study
    Say, DF ; Carison, A ; Hill, A ; Hiscock, H ; Babl, FE ; O'Donnell, SM (WILEY, 2021-01-06)
    AIM: To describe a cohort of patients aged 7-17 years presenting with mental health (MH) problems to an Australian tertiary paediatric emergency department (ED), in order to identify: (i) predictors of admission; and (ii) prolonged length of stay (LOS); (iii) reasons for ED presentation based on diagnosis and (iv) differences between major diagnostic groups. METHODS: Data for all presentations from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018 were extracted and analysed from the hospital's electronic medical record system. MH presentations were identified though rule-based coding and manual file review. RESULTS: In this 12-month period, 1071 children had 1690 emergency MH presentations constituting 6.7% of all ED presentations for children aged 7-17 years. Collectively, the leading cause for presentations was suicidal ideation, self-harm or drug overdose (55%). Compared to discharged patients, admitted patients were more likely to be female (odds ratio (OR) 1.82, confidence interval (CI) 1.41-2.35), aged over 14-years (OR 2.50, CI 1.98-3.15), triaged with high acuity (OR 2.70, CI 2.00-3.65) and arrive by ambulance or police (OR 1.31, CI 1.04-1.64). The highest risk diagnosis associated with admission was eating disorders (OR 9.19, CI 5.48-15.40). Patients with a prolonged LOS (>8 h) were more likely to need admission (OR 5.38, CI 3.81-7.61) and be diagnosed with drug overdose (OR 2.39, CI 1.51-3.80) or acute behavioural disturbance (OR 1.61, CI 1.09-2.39). CONCLUSION: Mental health presentations constitute a large proportion of ED presentations. Suicidal behaviour and self-harm account for half of them. We have identified patients at increased risk of admission and prolonged ED LOS.
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    Where are children seen in Australian emergency departments? Implications for research efforts
    Lim, JCJ ; Borland, ML ; Middleton, PM ; Moore, K ; Shetty, A ; Babl, FE ; Lee, RS ; Acworth, J ; Wilson, C ; Than, M ; Craig, S ; Eden, A (WILEY, 2021-01-03)
    OBJECTIVE: With most paediatric emergency research in Australia conducted at tertiary EDs, it is important to understand how presentations differ between those at tertiary paediatric EDs and all other EDs. METHODS: Retrospective epidemiological study assessing paediatric case-mix and time-based performance metrics (aged 0-14 years) obtained from a national health service minimum dataset for the 2017-2018 financial year, comparing tertiary paediatric EDs and all other EDs. We defined a 'major tertiary paediatric hospital' as one which was accredited for training in both paediatric emergency medicine and paediatric intensive care. RESULTS: Of the 1 695 854 paediatric ED presentations, 23.8% were seen in nine major metropolitan tertiary paediatric hospitals. Reasons for presentations were more distinctive between cohorts among children aged 10-14 years, where psychiatric illness (5.2% vs 2.5%) and neurological illness (4.5% vs 2.5%) were more commonly seen in major tertiary paediatric EDs. Australian Indigenous children were significantly less likely to present to tertiary paediatric EDs (3.0%), compared with other EDs (9.7%) (odds ratio 0.27, 95% confidence interval 0.26-0.27). While median waiting times were longer in major tertiary paediatric EDs (28 min [interquartile range 11-65]) than in other EDs (20 min [interquartile range 8-48], P < 0.001), patients were also less likely to leave without being seen (5.5% in tertiary paediatric EDs vs 6.9% in other EDs; odds ratio 0.80, 95% confidence interval 0.78-0.81). CONCLUSIONS: The present study identified key areas of difference in paediatric presentations between tertiary paediatric EDs and other EDs. It is vital to broaden paediatric ED research beyond tertiary paediatric centres, to ensure relevance and generalisability.
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    PRagMatic Pediatric Trial of Balanced vs nOrmaL Saline FlUid in Sepsis: study protocol for the PRoMPT BOLUS randomized interventional trial
    Weiss, SL ; Balamuth, F ; Long, E ; Thompson, GC ; Hayes, KL ; Katcoff, H ; Cook, M ; Tsemberis, E ; Hickey, CP ; Williams, A ; Williamson-Urquhart, S ; Borland, ML ; Dalziel, SR ; Gelbart, B ; Freedman, SB ; Babl, FE ; Huang, J ; Kuppermann, N (BMC, 2021-11-06)
    BACKGROUND/AIMS: Despite evidence that preferential use of balanced/buffered fluids may improve outcomes compared with chloride-rich 0.9% saline, saline remains the most commonly used fluid for children with septic shock. We aim to determine if resuscitation with balanced/buffered fluids as part of usual care will improve outcomes, in part through reduced kidney injury and without an increase in adverse effects, compared to 0.9% saline for children with septic shock. METHODS: The Pragmatic Pediatric Trial of Balanced versus Normal Saline Fluid in Sepsis (PRoMPT BOLUS) study is an international, open-label pragmatic interventional trial being conducted at > 40 sites in the USA, Canada, and Australia/New Zealand starting on August 25, 2020, and continuing for 5 years. Children > 6 months to < 18 years treated for suspected septic shock with abnormal perfusion in an emergency department will be randomized to receive either balanced/buffered crystalloids (intervention) or 0.9% saline (control) for initial resuscitation and maintenance fluids for up to 48 h. Eligible patients are enrolled and randomized using serially numbered, opaque envelopes concurrent with clinical care. Given the life-threatening nature of septic shock and narrow therapeutic window to start fluid resuscitation, patients may be enrolled under "exception from informed consent" in the USA or "deferred consent" in Canada and Australia/New Zealand. Other than fluid type, all decisions about timing, volume, and rate of fluid administration remain at the discretion of the treating clinicians. For pragmatic reasons, clinicians will not be blinded to study fluid type. Anticipated enrollment is 8800 patients. The primary outcome will be major adverse kidney events within 30 days (MAKE30), a composite of death, renal replacement therapy, and persistent kidney dysfunction. Additional effectiveness, safety, and biologic outcomes will also be analyzed. DISCUSSION: PRoMPT BOLUS will provide high-quality evidence for the comparative effectiveness of buffered/balanced crystalloids versus 0.9% saline for the initial fluid management of children with suspected septic shock in emergency settings. TRIAL REGISTRATION: PRoMPT BOLUS was first registered at ClinicalTrials.gov ( NCT04102371 ) on September 25, 2019. Enrollment started on August 25, 2020.
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    Process evaluation of a cluster randomised controlled trial to improve bronchiolitis management - a PREDICT mixed-methods study
    Haskell, L ; Tavender, EJ ; O'Brien, S ; Wilson, CL ; Babl, FE ; Borland, ML ; Schembri, R ; Orsini, F ; Cotterell, E ; Sheridan, N ; Oakley, E ; Dalziel, SR (BMC, 2021-11-29)
    BACKGROUND: Bronchiolitis is the most common reason for hospitalisation in infants. All international bronchiolitis guidelines recommend supportive care, yet considerable variation in practice continues with infants receiving non-evidence based therapies. We developed six targeted, theory-informed interventions; clinical leads, stakeholder meeting, train-the-trainer, education delivery, other educational materials, and audit and feedback. A cluster randomised controlled trial (cRCT) found the interventions to be effective in reducing use of five non-evidence based therapies in infants with bronchiolitis. This process evaluation paper aims to determine whether the interventions were implemented as planned (fidelity), explore end-users' perceptions of the interventions and evaluate cRCT outcome data with intervention fidelity data. METHODS: A pre-specified mixed-methods process evaluation was conducted alongside the cRCT, guided by frameworks for process evaluation of cRCTs and complex interventions. Quantitative data on the fidelity, dose and reach of interventions were collected from the 13 intervention hospitals during the study and analysed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data identifying perception and acceptability of interventions were collected from 42 intervention hospital clinical leads on study completion and analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: The cRCT found targeted, theory-informed interventions improved bronchiolitis management by 14.1%. The process evaluation data found variability in how the intervention was delivered at the cluster and individual level. Total fidelity scores ranged from 55 to 98% across intervention hospitals (mean = 78%; SD = 13%). Fidelity scores were highest for use of clinical leads (mean = 98%; SD = 7%), and lowest for use of other educational materials (mean = 65%; SD = 19%) and audit and feedback (mean = 65%; SD = 20%). Clinical leads reflected positively about the interventions, with time constraints being the greatest barrier to their use. CONCLUSION: Our targeted, theory-informed interventions were delivered with moderate fidelity, and were well received by clinical leads. Despite clinical leads experiencing challenges of time constraints, the level of fidelity had a positive effect on successfully de-implementing non-evidence-based care in infants with bronchiolitis. These findings will inform widespread rollout of our bronchiolitis interventions, and guide future practice change in acute care settings. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12616001567415 .
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    Patterns of paediatric emergency presentations to a tertiary referral centre in the Northern Territory
    Buntsma, D ; Lithgow, A ; O'Neill, E ; Palmer, D ; Morris, P ; Acworth, J ; Babl, FE (WILEY, 2017-12-01)
    OBJECTIVE: To describe epidemiological data concerning paediatric attendances at the ED of Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH). METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of paediatric emergency presentations to the RDH ED during 2004 and 2013. Epidemiological data, including demographics, admission rates and diagnostic grouping, were analysed using descriptive and comparative statistical methods. We compared data with findings from a baseline epidemiological study by the Paediatric Research in Emergency Departments International Collaborative (PREDICT) conducted in 2004. RESULTS: A total of 12 745 and 15 378 paediatric presentations (age 0-18 years) to the RDH ED were analysed for the years 2004 and 2013 respectively. In 2004, the mean age of children presenting to RDH was 7.1 years, and 56.0% were female. Indigenous patients accounted for 31.2% of presentations at RDH and were significantly more likely to be admitted than non-Indigenous patients (31.6% vs 12.8%, OR 3.24, 95% CI 2.95-3.55). Children <5 years old accounted for the highest number of presentations (45.2%) and admissions (51.2%), and there was a high proportion of adolescent presentations (18.0%). Similar to the PREDICT study, viral infectious conditions (bronchiolitis, gastroenteritis, upper respiratory tract infections) were the most common cause for presentations. Key differences included a higher proportion of patients presenting with cellulitis and head injury at RDH and an increasing proportion of adolescent psychiatric presentations at RDH from 2004 to 2013. CONCLUSION: This study provides important information regarding paediatric presentations to a major referral hospital in the Northern Territory. Overall, there was a disproportionate rate of presentation and admission among Indigenous children. Other key findings were higher proportions of cellulitis, head injury and adolescent presentations. These findings can assist in service planning and in directing future research specific to children in the Northern Territory.