Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Helping High Risk Infants and Parents Sleep Better: ATS Guidelines for Outpatient Care of Premature Infants

Premature infants, particularly born before 30 weeks gestation who have been given a diagnosis of chronic lung disease, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, or post-prematurity respiratory disease face significant challenges in transition from the NICU environment to life at home.  The lack of guidelines to help focus care and quality medical literature differentiating outcomes is stark.  Parents and physicians need tools to care for these high risk infants. These new ATS guidelines nicely evaluate the role of inhaled medications, swallowing assessment, airway endoscopy, and especially sleep testing and provide timely recommendations.

Outpatient Respiratory Management of Infants, Children, and Adolescents with Post-Prematurity Respiratory Disease: An Official American Thoracic Society Clinical Practice Guideline

New recommendations are available to help guide physicians who must determine when and how to treat infants, children and adolescents with post-prematurity respiratory disease (PPRD). The American Thoracic Society has published an official clinical practice guideline in which a multidisciplinary panel of experts provide 13 conditional recommendations on the diagnostic testing and clinical management of these young people. The complete guideline detailing these recommendations was posted online ahead of print in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Worldwide, approximately 12 million —10 percent of live births—are born prematurely and are at risk for respiratory disease, the most common of which is bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). However, all , even those who do not meet the criteria for having BPD, may develop poor respiratory health later in life with signs and symptoms including cough, recurrent wheezing, exercise intolerance, low blood oxygen (hypoxemia) and reduced pulmonary function. These individuals are classified as having PPRD.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

SARS-CoV-2 acute bronchiolitis in hospitalized children: Neither frequent nor more severe

SARS-CoV-2 associated respiratory illnesses may include pneumonia, asthma exacerbations and acute bronchiolitis among others.  Risk to children in comparison to adults is remarkably low.  However, acute bronchiolitis is the most common cause of hospitalization in infants.  This study assessed frequency of hospitalization due to SARS-CoV-2 and found frequency and severity to be low, estimated at less than 2% of all hospitalized children.

SARS-CoV-2 acute bronchiolitis in hospitalized children: Neither frequent nor more severe


Endemic coronaviruses have been found in acute bronchiolitis, mainly as a coinfecting virus. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been responsible for respiratory illness in hospitalized children. The characteristics of patients with bronchiolitis have not been extensively described.


Cross-sectional study of patients with bronchiolitis and SARS-CoV-2 infection enrolled in a prospective multicenter cohort of children hospitalized with COVID-19 in Spain from March 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021.


Twelve of 666 children infected with SARS-CoV-2 who required hospital admission met the diagnostic criteria for bronchiolitis (1.8%). Median age was 1.9 months (range: 0.4–10.1). Six cases had household contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case. Main complaints were cough (11 patients), rhinorrhea (10), difficulty breathing (8), and fever (8). Eleven cases were classified as mild or moderate and one as severe. Laboratory tests performed in seven patients did not evidence anemia, lymphopenia, or high C-reactive protein levels. Chest X-rays were performed in six children, and one case showed remarkable findings. Coinfection with metapneumovirus was detected in the patient with the most severe course; Bordetella pertussis was detected in another patient. Seven patients required oxygen therapy. Albuterol was administered in four patients. One patient was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit. Median length of admission was 4 days (range: 3–14). No patient died or showed any sequelae at discharge. Two patients developed recurrent bronchospasms.


SARS-CoV-2 infection does not seem to be a main trigger of severe bronchiolitis, and children with this condition should be managed according to clinical practice guidelines. 

Pediatric Pulmonology


January 2022

Pages 57-65

Read article here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Setting Discharge Goals for High Risk Infants

 A useful and much study needed since neonatologists and consulting pediatric pulmonologists rely on few reliable indicators to judge discharge readiness.  And with little guidance, often managed care restrictions may prompt premature discharge.  A baseline CO2 retention above a certain threshold always seemed like at least 1 useful measure, now supported by this South Korean study.

Children with chronic lung disease of prematurity tend to have reduced lung function, increased susceptibility to respiratory viral illness, and elevated risk for rehospitalization.  Setting goals for discharge are greatly needed in this high risk population.

Capillary partial pressure of carbon dioxide for predicting rehospitalization in preterm infants under noninvasive respiratory support with severe bronchopulmonary dysplasia



The severity of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is an important predictor of prognosis in preterm infants. However, the severity of BPD was determined mainly by the degree of oxygen supplementation and mode of respiratory support.


This retrospective study aimed to examine the role of partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) in predicting rehospitalization among preterm infants with severe BPD without invasive ventilation at 36 weeks' postmenstrual age (PMA).


We assessed preterm infants aged <32 gestational weeks with severe BPD who were receiving noninvasive respiratory support at 36 weeks' PMA. Patients were compared after stratifying them according to the history of rehospitalization owing to respiratory infection before a corrected age (CA) of 1 year and pCO2 measured by capillary blood gas analysis at 36 weeks' PMA.


Among 54 infants who had severe BPD with noninvasive respiratory support at 36 weeks' PMA, 16 (29.6%) experienced rehospitalization due to respiratory problems. At 36 weeks' PMA, the amount of oxygen supplementation (0.30 vs. 0.28, p = 0.021) and pCO2 (62.1 vs. 53.6 mmHg, p = 0.006) were higher in the rehospitalization group than in the no rehospitalization group. Multivariate logistic analysis findings indicated that pCO2 ≥ 57.4 mmHg was the only factor associated with rehospitalization (adjusted odds ratio: 8.017, 95% confidence interval 1.239–51.859).


High pCO2 during noninvasive respiratory support at 36 weeks' PMA in severe BPD was associated with rehospitalization. Consideration of the degree of impairment in ventilatory capacity may improve the prediction of later respiratory outcomes in infants with BPD.

Pediatric Pulmonology


December 2021

Pages 3863-3869

Read abstract here.

Monday, November 8, 2021

FDA approves dupilumab for children aged 6 to 11 with moderate to severe asthma

Now that another biologic therapy is available for pediatric severe asthma, it is important to look at the indications for add on biologic therapy for asthma.  In general, there are 2 broad categories of asthma that may warrant adding an injectable biologic therapy:

1) Children and adolescents with severe asthma, poorly controlled despite compliance with high dose asthma therapy.  Here, poorly controlled may indicate frequent hospitalization, ER, or urgent care visits.  In addition, systemic steroid use and symptoms that affect quality of life (school, exercise, etc) are important considerations.

2) Children and adolescents with severe asthma that is controlled, but requires high dose asthma controller medication.  This is an important consideration because high dose inhaled glucocorticoids have been associated with a numbers of risks including reduced growth velocity, obesity, adrenal insufficiency, and ocular side effects like cataracts.

The FDA has approved dupilumab as an add-on maintenance treatment for children aged 6 to 11 years with moderate to severe asthma characterized by an eosinophilic phenotype or with oral corticosteroid-dependent asthma.
The expanded approval of dupilumab (Dupixent, Regeneron/Sanofi) to children aged 6 to 11 was based on data from the phase 3, double-blind, placebo-controlled LIBERTY ASTHMA VOYAGE trial that evaluated efficacy and safety of dupilumab compared with standard care in children with uncontrolled moderate to severe asthma. More than 90% of children in the trial had at least one concurrent type 2 inflammatory condition, according to a company press release.
“I was impressed that dupilumab met not only its primary endpoint of reduction in asthma exacerbations, but also all key secondary endpoints in the pediatric ASTHMA VOYAGE trial,” Leonard B. Bacharier, MD, professor of pediatrics at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and principal investigator of the ASTHMA LIBERTY VOYAGE trial, told Healio. “I anticipate that clinicians will begin to include dupilumab in their discussions with families of children with uncontrolled moderate-severe asthma. Many children in this age group continue to experience repeated asthma exacerbations, and experience side effects from frequent courses of systemic corticosteroids. Dupilumab’s demonstrated efficacy in significantly reducing exacerbations will allow such children greater disease control.” 

Read article here.

Monday, October 18, 2021

COVID 19 Risk With Asthma

Good News (Mostly) for Asthma Patients During Pandemic

COVID 19 has not shown the risk to asthma sufferers that many experts anticipated.  The role of biologic use and risk may still be unclear.  However, COVID 19 is a mucosal respiratory virus and can likely trigger a viral asthma exacerbation especially for those that are uncontrolled.  This is why it's important to work with your asthma specialist to optimize control especially in the problem seasons.  These include:
1) Having a written asthma action plan with clear recommendations for flare ups
2) Regular follow up with asthma specialist to monitor asthma control
3) Becoming familiar with symptoms of poor control, including frequent SABA use and exercise intolerance

Two studies presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) virtual meeting should reassure asthma patients and their physicians about their risks from COVID-19.

On the one hand, "no evidence of excess deaths was directly attributed to asthma" in a study of Scottish data on hospital admissions and death certificates during the first COVID-19 wave in early 2020, said Steven Smith, MRCP, of Gartnavel General Hospital in Glasgow.

And on the other, analysis of asthma patients receiving biologic drugs in Greek clinics showed no overall increase in COVID infection rates relative to the general population through April of this year, reported Andriana Papaioannou, MD, PhD, of Attikon University Hospital in Athens.

These encouraging results come against a backdrop of worry about how patients with preexisting respiratory disease, who may also be taking immune-modulating drugs, would fare during the pandemic.

There were two concerning blips in the Greek data, however. Papaioannou's group found that, among the 26 biologic-treated patients who did come down with COVID-19, nine needed hospitalization -- a considerably higher proportion than among COVID patients in the general Greek population, she said.

Read article here.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Sleepless in Lockdown

The impact of lockdown on sleep patterns of children and adolescents with ADHD

Among the consequences of COVID 19 lockdowns and extended virtual learning, a deterioration in sleep-wake patterns especially among at risk children was anticipated and now confirmed in this Italian study surveying parents with children with ADHD.   Children an adolescents were more likely to have delayed sleep time, anxiety, awakenings, and daytime sleepiness. Unfortunately, many of the maladaptive sleep patterns may take longer to reverse and require a concerted sleep strategy.



The current study examined the impact of home confinement (lockdown) because of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sleep patterns of children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


Nine hundred ninety-two parents of children and adolescents with ADHD filled out an anonymous online survey through the ADHD family association website. The survey investigated the sleep patterns and disturbances (using a modified version of the Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children) and screen exposure time before and during lockdown.


During lockdown, 59.3% of children and 69.4% of adolescents with ADHD reported a change of bedtime, with a significant increase in patients with ADHD who went to sleep at 11 pm or later. Sleep duration, in contrast, resulted in 2 opposing processes with more children and adolescents sleeping either less than 6 hours/night or 10–11 hours/night. Among children and adolescents, respectively, 19.9% and 22% slept less than they did before lockdown, whereas 21.4% and 27.4% slept for more hours. Bedtime delay and decreased sleep duration were associated with an increase in screen time exposure. Moreover, patients with ADHD reported an increase in sleep disturbances when compared to their previous condition, mainly including difficulties falling asleep, anxiety at bedtime, night awakenings, nightmares, and daytime sleepiness.


Lockdown impacted sleep-wake rhythms by strengthening the maladaptive sleep patterns reported in usual-life conditions in children and adolescents with ADHD.


Bruni O, Giallonardo M, Sacco R, Ferri R, Melegari MG. The impact of lockdown on sleep patterns of children and adolescents with ADHD. J Clin Sleep Med. 2021;17(9):1759–1765

Read abstract here.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Sleeping for Better Cardiovascular Health in Children and Adolescents

There is a reason why personal sleep monitoring devices have proliferated in the wearable technology space.  Poor sleep health is linked to reduced cognitive function, quality of life, and cardiovascular outcomes.  Children are not immune to these complications, but they may present differently.  Obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia have all been correlated in some form to obstructive sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing.

Be on the lookout for the any of the following:

1) Chronic snoring, mouth breathing, pauses in breathing during sleep especially when associated with tonsillar enlargement

2) Signs of daytime sleepiness despite adequate sleep time.  Sleep needs in children vary by age, so it is important that sleep times reflect that.  Also, it is common for sleepiness to look completely different in children.  Problems with focus, attention and labile emotions and irritability in the second half of the day are quite common.

3) Special risk populations, including children that are obese, or those that have other medical disorders known to predispose to sleep apnea, such as Down Syndrome or other craniofacial abnormalities.

Any of the above warrants evaluation with a pediatric sleep specialist to discuss testing.

AHA Releases Scientific Statement on Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Health in Children and Adolescents

 In a recent scientific statement, the American Heart Association (AHA) outlined evidence highlighting the effect of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) on the cardiovascular health of children and adolescents. The full statement was published in Journal of the American Heart Association.

The AHA noted that this statement may be used to develop future guidelines in managing OSA with regard to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in the pediatric population.

Epidemiology and Risk Factors

Patients with OSA experience disruption during sleep caused by upper airway obstruction. In children and adolescents, the clinical presentation of the condition can vary by age, but it is generally characterized by habitual snoring, labored breathing, gasps/snorting noises, and daytime sleepiness. According to the AHA, 1% to 6% of children and adolescents have OSA. Current evidence suggests that the OSA prevalence in a pediatric population peaks between 2 and 8 years of age and corresponds to a peak in adenotonsillar hypertrophy prevalence.

Primary risk factors for OSA in the pediatric population include obesity, allergic rhinitis, upper and lower airway disease, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, low muscle tone, neuromuscular disorders, and craniofacial malformations. In addition, sickle cell disease (SCD) may be an independent risk factor for OSA. Premature birth, or birth that occurs prior to 37 weeks’ gestation, may also be associated with an increased risk for sleep-disordered breathing among children, partially because of delayed development of respiratory control.

Read article here.