First name
Elizabeth
Middle name
R
Last name
Alpern

Title

Validation of the Pediatric Sequential Organ Failure Assessment Score and Evaluation of Third International Consensus Definitions for Sepsis and Septic Shock Definitions in the Pediatric Emergency Department.

Year of Publication

2022

Number of Pages

672-678

Date Published

05/2022

ISSN Number

2168-6211

Abstract

Importance: Pediatric sepsis definitions have evolved, and some have proposed using the measure used in adults to quantify organ dysfunction, a Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score of 2 or more in the setting of suspected infection. A pediatric adaptation of SOFA (pSOFA) showed excellent discrimination for mortality in critically ill children but has not been evaluated in an emergency department (ED) population.

Objective: To delineate test characteristics of the pSOFA score for predicting in-hospital mortality among (1) all patients and (2) patients with suspected infection treated in pediatric EDs.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective cohort study took place from January 1, 2012, to January 31, 2020 in 9 US children's hospitals included in the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) Registry. The data was analyzed from February 1, 2020, to April 18, 2022. All ED visits for patients younger than 18 years were included.

Exposures: ED pSOFA score was assigned by summing maximum pSOFA organ dysfunction components during ED stay (each 0-4 points). In the subset with suspected infection, visit meeting criteria for sepsis (suspected infection with a pSOFA score of 2 or more) and septic shock (suspected infection with vasoactive infusion and serum lactate level >18.0 mg/dL) were identified.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Test characteristics of pSOFA scores of 2 or more during the ED stay for hospital mortality.

Results: A total of 3 999 528 (female, 47.3%) ED visits were included. pSOFA scores ranged from 0 to 16, with 126 250 visits (3.2%) having a pSOFA score of 2 or more. pSOFA scores of 2 or more had sensitivity of 0.65 (95% CI, 0.62-0.67) and specificity of 0.97 (95% CI, 0.97-0.97), with negative predictive value of 1.0 (95% CI, 1.00-1.00) in predicting hospital mortality. Of 642 868 patients with suspected infection (16.1%), 42 992 (6.7%) met criteria for sepsis, and 374 (0.1%) met criteria for septic shock. Hospital mortality rates for suspected infection (599 502), sepsis (42 992), and septic shock (374) were 0.0%, 0.9%, and 8.0%, respectively. The pSOFA score had similar discrimination for hospital mortality in all ED visits (area under receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.79-0.82) and the subset with suspected infection (area under receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.80-0.84).

Conclusions and Relevance: In a large, multicenter study of pediatric ED visits, a pSOFA score of 2 or more was uncommon and associated with increased hospital mortality yet had poor sensitivity as a screening tool for hospital mortality. Conversely, children with a pSOFA score of 2 or less were at very low risk of death, with high specificity and negative predictive value. Among patients with suspected infection, patients with pSOFA-defined septic shock demonstrated the highest mortality.

DOI

10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.1301

Alternate Title

JAMA Pediatr

PMID

35575803

Title

Emergency Department Child Abuse Evaluations During COVID-19: A Multicenter Study.

Year of Publication

2022

Date Published

08/2022

ISSN Number

1098-4275

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The reported impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on child maltreatment in the United States have been mixed. Encounter trends for child physical abuse within pediatric emergency departments may provide insights. Thus, this study sought to determine the change in the rate of emergency department encounters related to child physical abuse.

METHODS: A retrospective study within the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network Registry. Encounters related to child physical abuse were identified by 3 methods: child physical abuse diagnoses among all ages, age-restricted high-risk injury, or age-restricted skeletal survey completion. The primary outcomes were encounter rates per day and clinical severity before (January 2018-March 2020) and during the COVID-19 pandemic (April 2020-March 2021). Multivariable Poisson regression models were fit to estimate rate ratios with marginal estimation methods.

RESULTS: Encounter rates decreased significantly during the pandemic for 2 of 3 identification methods. In fully adjusted models, encounter rates were reduced by 19% in the diagnosis-code cohort (adjusted rate ratio: 0.81 [99% confidence interval: 0.75-0.88], P <.001), with the greatest reduction among preschool and school-aged children. Encounter rates decreased 10% in the injury cohort (adjusted rate ratio: 0.90 [confidence interval: 0.82-0.98], P = .002). For all 3 methods, rates for lower-severity encounters were significantly reduced whereas higher-severity encounters were not.

CONCLUSIONS: Encounter rates for child physical abuse were reduced or unchanged. Reductions were greatest for lower-severity encounters and preschool and school-aged children. This pattern calls for critical assessment to clarify whether pandemic changes led to true reductions versus decreased recognition of child physical abuse.

DOI

10.1542/peds.2022-056284

Alternate Title

Pediatrics

PMID

35707943

Title

Variation in care between pediatric and adult patients presenting with nephrolithiasis to tertiary care pediatric emergency departments in the United States (2009-2020).

Year of Publication

2022

Date Published

07/2022

ISSN Number

1873-4898

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Individuals with nephrolithiasis frequently present to the Emergency Department (ED). Safety and quality principles are often applied in pediatric EDs to children presenting with nephrolithiasis, such as limiting ionizing radiation exposure and opioid analgesics. However, it is unknown whether pediatric EDs apply these same principles to adult patients who present with nephrolithiasis. We hypothesized that adult patients would be associated with higher use of radiation-based imaging and opioid analgesics.

OBJECTIVE: To assess variations in diagnostic and treatment interventions and hospital utilization between pediatric and adult patients presenting to the pediatric ED with nephrolithiasis.

STUDY DESIGN: A retrospective cohort study was conducted, examining outcomes for pediatric (<18-years-old) versus adult (≥18-years-old) patients in 42 pediatric EDs from 2009 to 2020 using the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS) database. Patients with an ICD-9/10 principal diagnosis code of nephrolithiasis with no nephrolithiasis-related visits within the prior 6 months were included. Primary outcomes were imaging, medications, and surgical interventions. Secondary outcomes were hospital admissions, 90-day ED revisits, and 90-day readmissions. Generalized linear mixed models with random effects were used to adjust for confounding and clustering.

RESULTS: In total, 16,117 patients with 17,837 encounters were included. Most hospitals were academic (95.2%), and a plurality were located in the South (38.1%). Most patients were <18-years-old (84.4%, median (interquartile range): 15 (12-17)-years-old), female (57.9%), and White (76.3%), and 17.1% were Hispanic/Latino. Most had no complex chronic conditions (89.2%) and no chronic disease per pediatric medical complexity algorithm (51.5%). For the primary outcome, adults, relative to pediatric patients, who presented to the pediatric ED with nephrolithiasis had higher adjusted odds of receiving computerized tomography (CT) scans (Odds Ratio [OR] 1.43 [95% Confidence Interval [CI] 1.29-1.59]) and opioid analgesics (OR 1.45 [95%CI 1.33-1.58]) (Summary Figure). Secondary outcomes showed that adults, relative to pediatric patients, had lower adjusted odds of hospital admissions, 90-day ED revisits, and 90-day readmissions.

DISCUSSION: Our results suggest that certain pediatric safety and quality principles, such as limiting ionizing radiation exposure and opioid analgesic prescriptions, are not being equally applied to pediatric and adult patients who present to pediatric EDs with nephrolithiasis. The mechanism of these findings remains to be elucidated.

CONCLUSIONS: Variations in care for individuals with nephrolithiasis reflect an opportunity for quality improvement in pediatric EDs and inform work exploring optimal care pathways for all patients presenting to the pediatric ED with nephrolithiasis.

DOI

10.1016/j.jpurol.2022.07.005

Alternate Title

J Pediatr Urol

PMID

35945144

Title

Serious Bacterial Infections in Young Febrile Infants With Positive Urinalysis Results.

Year of Publication

2022

Date Published

09/2022

ISSN Number

1098-4275

Abstract

 

OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of bacteremia and/or bacterial meningitis in febrile infants ≤60 days of age with positive urinalysis (UA) results.

METHODS: Secondary analysis of a prospective observational study of noncritical febrile infants ≤60 days between 2011 and 2019 conducted in the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network emergency departments. Participants had temperatures ≥38°C and were evaluated with blood cultures and had UAs available for analysis. We report the prevalence of bacteremia and bacterial meningitis in those with and without positive UA results.

RESULTS: Among 7180 infants, 1090 (15.2%) had positive UA results. The risk of bacteremia was higher in those with positive versus negative UA results (63/1090 [5.8%] vs 69/6090 [1.1%], difference 4.7% [3.3% to 6.1%]). There was no difference in the prevalence of bacterial meningitis in infants ≤28 days of age with positive versus negative UA results (∼1% in both groups). However, among 697 infants aged 29 to 60 days with positive UA results, there were no cases of bacterial meningitis in comparison to 9 of 4153 with negative UA results (0.2%, difference -0.2% [-0.4% to -0.1%]). In addition, there were no cases of bacteremia and/or bacterial meningitis in the 148 infants ≤60 days of age with positive UA results who had the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network low-risk blood thresholds of absolute neutrophil count <4 × 103 cells/mm3 and procalcitonin <0.5 ng/mL.

CONCLUSIONS: Among noncritical febrile infants ≤60 days of age with positive UA results, there were no cases of bacterial meningitis in those aged 29 to 60 days and no cases of bacteremia and/or bacterial meningitis in any low-risk infants based on low-risk blood thresholds in both months of life. These findings can guide lumbar puncture use and other clinical decision making.

DOI

10.1542/peds.2021-055633

Alternate Title

Pediatrics

PMID

36097858

Title

Association of clinical practice guidelines with emergency department management of febrile infants ≤56 days of age.

Year of Publication

2015

Number of Pages

358-65

Date Published

06/2015

ISSN Number

1553-5606

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Differences among febrile infant institutional clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) may contribute to practice variation and increased healthcare costs.

OBJECTIVE: Determine the association between pediatric emergency department (ED) CPGs and laboratory testing, hospitalization, ceftriaxone use, and costs in febrile infants.

DESIGN: Retrospective cross-sectional study in 2013.

SETTING: Thirty-three hospitals in the Pediatric Health Information System.

PATIENTS: Infants aged ≤56 days with a diagnosis of fever.

EXPOSURES: The presence and content of ED-based febrile infant CPGs assessed by electronic survey.

MEASUREMENTS: Using generalized estimating equations, we evaluated the association between CPG recommendations and rates of urine, blood, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) testing, hospitalization, and ceftriaxone use at ED discharge in 2 age groups: ≤28 days and 29 to 56 days. We also assessed CPG impact on healthcare costs.

RESULTS: We included 9377 ED visits; 21 of 33 EDs (63.6%) had a CPG. For neonates ≤28 days, CPG recommendations did not vary and were not associated with differences in testing, hospitalization, or costs. Among infants 29 to 56 days, CPG recommendations for CSF testing and ceftriaxone use varied. CSF testing occurred less often at EDs with CPGs recommending limited testing compared to hospitals without CPGs (adjusted odds ratio: 0.5, 95% confidence interval: 0.3-0.8). Ceftriaxone use at ED discharge varied significantly based on CPG recommendations. Costs were higher for admitted and discharged infants 29 to 56 days old at hospitals with CPGs.

CONCLUSIONS: CPG recommendations for febrile infants 29 to 56 days old vary across institutions for CSF testing and ceftriaxone use, correlating with observed practice variation. CPGs were not associated with lower healthcare costs.

DOI

10.1002/jhm.2329

Alternate Title

J Hosp Med

PMID

25684689

Title

Improving Recognition of Pediatric Severe Sepsis in the Emergency Department: Contributions of a Vital Sign-Based Electronic Alert and Bedside Clinician Identification.

Year of Publication

2017

Date Published

2017 May 27

ISSN Number

1097-6760

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVE: Recognition of pediatric sepsis is a key clinical challenge. We evaluate the performance of a sepsis recognition process including an electronic sepsis alert and bedside assessment in a pediatric emergency department (ED).

METHODS: This was a cohort study with quality improvement intervention in a pediatric ED. Exposure was a positive electronic sepsis alert, defined as elevated pulse rate or hypotension, concern for infection, and at least one of the following: abnormal capillary refill, abnormal mental status, or high-risk condition. A positive electronic sepsis alert prompted team assessment or huddle to determine need for sepsis protocol. Clinicians could initiate team assessment or huddle according to clinical concern without positive electronic sepsis alert. Severe sepsis outcome defined as activation of the sepsis protocol in the ED or development of severe sepsis requiring ICU admission within 24 hours.

RESULTS: There were 182,509 ED visits during the study period, with 86,037 before electronic sepsis alert implementation and 96,472 afterward, and 1,112 (1.2%) positive electronic sepsis alerts. Overall, 326 patients (0.3%) were treated for severe sepsis within 24 hours. Test characteristics of the electronic sepsis alert alone to detect severe sepsis were sensitivity 86.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 82.0% to 89.5%), specificity 99.1% (95% CI 99.0% to 99.2%), positive predictive value 25.4% (95% CI 22.8% to 28.0%), and negative predictive value 100% (95% CI 99.9% to 100%). Inclusion of the clinician screen identified 43 additional electronic sepsis alert-negative children, with severe sepsis sensitivity 99.4% (95% CI 97.8% to 99.8%) and specificity 99.1% (95% CI 99.1% to 99.2%). Electronic sepsis alert implementation increased ED sepsis detection from 83% to 96%.

CONCLUSION: Electronic sepsis alert for severe sepsis demonstrated good sensitivity and high specificity. Addition of clinician identification of electronic sepsis alert-negative patients further improved sensitivity. Implementation of the electronic sepsis alert was associated with improved recognition of severe sepsis.

DOI

10.1016/j.annemergmed.2017.03.019

Alternate Title

Ann Emerg Med

PMID

28583403

Title

A Prediction Model to Identify Febrile Infants ≤60 Days at Low Risk of Invasive Bacterial Infection.

Year of Publication

2019

Date Published

2019 Jun 05

ISSN Number

1098-4275

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To derive and internally validate a prediction model for the identification of febrile infants ≤60 days old at low probability of invasive bacterial infection (IBI).

METHODS: We conducted a case-control study of febrile infants ≤60 days old who presented to the emergency departments of 11 hospitals between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2016. Infants with IBI, defined by growth of a pathogen in blood (bacteremia) and/or cerebrospinal fluid (bacterial meningitis), were matched by hospital and date of visit to 2 control patients without IBI. Ill-appearing infants and those with complex chronic conditions were excluded. Predictors of IBI were identified with multiple logistic regression and internally validated with 10-fold cross-validation, and an IBI score was calculated.

RESULTS: We included 181 infants with IBI (155 [85.6%] with bacteremia without meningitis and 26 [14.4%] with bacterial meningitis) and 362 control patients. Twenty-three infants with IBI (12.7%) and 138 control patients (38.1%) had fever by history only. Four predictors of IBI were identified (area under the curve 0.83 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.79-0.86]) and incorporated into an IBI score: age <21 days (1 point), highest temperature recorded in the emergency department 38.0-38.4°C (2 points) or ≥38.5°C (4 points), absolute neutrophil count ≥5185 cells per μL (2 points), and abnormal urinalysis results (3 points). The sensitivity and specificity of a score ≥2 were 98.8% (95% CI: 95.7%-99.9%) and 31.3% (95% CI: 26.3%-36.6%), respectively. All 26 infants with meningitis had scores ≥2.

CONCLUSIONS: Infants ≤60 days old with fever by history only, a normal urinalysis result, and an absolute neutrophil count <5185 cells per μL have a low probability of IBI.

DOI

10.1542/peds.2018-3604

Alternate Title

Pediatrics

PMID

31167938

Title

Racial/Ethnic Differences in ED Opioid Prescriptions for Long Bone Fractures: Trends Over Time.

Year of Publication

2021

Date Published

2021 Oct 13

ISSN Number

1098-4275

Abstract

<p>Pain caused by long bone fractures is a common reason for opioid prescribing in the emergency department (ED) setting.&nbsp;Approximately 40% of opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription,&nbsp;and in response, opioid prescribing has declined in the last decade.&nbsp;We previously demonstrated racial and/or ethnic disparities in the ED management of pain among children with long bone fractures.&nbsp;We now perform this study to investigate whether racial and/or ethnic differences in provision of outpatient opioid prescriptions for children discharged from the ED with long bone fractures have attenuated over time.</p>

DOI

10.1542/peds.2021-052481

Alternate Title

Pediatrics

PMID

34645690

Title

Racial/Ethnic Differences in Pediatric Emergency Department Wait Times.

Year of Publication

2021

Date Published

2021 Jun 15

ISSN Number

1535-1815

Abstract

<p><strong>OBJECTIVES: </strong>Wait time for emergency care is a quality measure that affects clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. It is unknown if there is racial/ethnic variability in this quality measure in pediatric emergency departments (PEDs). We aim to determine whether racial/ethnic differences exist in wait times for children presenting to PEDs and examine between-site and within-site differences.</p>

<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>We conducted a retrospective cohort study for PED encounters in 2016 using the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network Registry, an aggregated deidentified electronic health registry comprising 7 PEDs. Patient encounters were included among all patients 18 years or younger at the time of the ED visit. We evaluated differences in emergency department wait time (time from arrival to first medical evaluation) considering patient race/ethnicity as the exposure.</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>Of 448,563 visits, median wait time was 35 minutes (interquartile range, 17-71 minutes). Compared with non-Hispanic White (NHW) children, non-Hispanic Black (NHB), Hispanic, and other race children waited 27%, 33%, and 12% longer, respectively. These differences were attenuated after adjusting for triage acuity level, mode of arrival, sex, age, insurance, time of day, and month [adjusted median wait time ratios (95% confidence intervals): 1.11 (1.10-1.12) for NHB, 1.12 (1.11-1.13) for Hispanic, and 1.05 (1.03-1.06) for other race children compared with NHW children]. Differences in wait time for NHB and other race children were no longer significant after adjusting for clinical site. Fully adjusted median wait times among Hispanic children were longer compared with NHW children [1.04 (1.03-1.05)].</p>

<p><strong>CONCLUSIONS: </strong>In unadjusted analyses, non-White children experienced longer PED wait times than NHW children. After adjusting for illness severity, patient demographics, and overcrowding measures, wait times for NHB and other race children were largely determined by site of care. Hispanic children experienced longer within-site and between-site wait times compared with NHW children. Additional research is needed to understand structures and processes of care contributing to wait time differences between sites that disproportionately impact non-White patients.</p>

DOI

10.1097/PEC.0000000000002483

Alternate Title

Pediatr Emerg Care

PMID

34140453

Title

Updates on pediatric sepsis.

Year of Publication

2020

Number of Pages

981-993

Date Published

2020 Oct

ISSN Number

2688-1152

Abstract

<p>Sepsis, defined as an infection with dysregulated host response leading to life-threatening organ dysfunction, continues to carry a high potential for morbidity and mortality in children. The recognition of sepsis in children in the emergency department (ED) can be challenging, related to the high prevalence of common febrile infections, poor specificity of discriminating features, and the capacity of children to compensate until advanced stages of shock. Sepsis outcomes are strongly dependent on the timeliness of recognition and treatment, which has led to the successful implementation of quality improvement programs, increasing the reliability of sepsis treatment in many US institutions. We review clinical, laboratory, and technical modalities that can be incorporated into ED practice to facilitate the recognition, treatment, and reassessment of children with suspected sepsis. The 2020 updated pediatric sepsis guidelines are reviewed and framed in the context of ED interventions, including guidelines for antibiotic administration, fluid resuscitation, and the use of vasoactive agents. Despite a large body of literature on pediatric sepsis epidemiology in recent years, the evidence base for treatment and management components remains limited, implying an urgent need for large trials in this field. In conclusion, although the burden and impact of pediatric sepsis remains substantial, progress in our understanding of the disease and its management have led to revised guidelines and the available data emphasizes the importance of local quality improvement programs.</p>

DOI

10.1002/emp2.12173

Alternate Title

J Am Coll Emerg Physicians Open

PMID

33145549

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