Publications by authors named "Peter H Dijk"

31 Publications

Multicentre survey of retinopathy of prematurity in Indonesia.

BMJ Paediatr Open 2021 22;5(1):e000761. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Neonatology, Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Background: The incidence of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is higher in Indonesia than in high-income countries. In order to reduce the incidence of the disease, a protocol on preventing, screening and treating ROP was published in Indonesia in 2010. To assist the practical implementation of the protocol, meetings were held in all Indonesia regions, calling attention to the high incidence of ROP and the methods to reduce it. In addition, national health insurance was introduced in 2014, making ROP screening and treatment accessible to more infants.

Objective: To evaluate whether the introduction of both the guideline drawing attention to the high incidence of ROP and national health insurance may have influenced the incidence of the disease in Indonesia.

Setting: Data were collected from 34 hospitals with different levels of care: national referral centres, university-based hospitals, and public and private hospitals.

Methods: A survey was administered with questions on admission numbers, mortality rates, ROP incidence, and its stages for 2016-2017 in relation to gestational age and birth weight.

Results: We identified 12 115 eligible infants with a gestational age of less than 34 weeks. Mortality was 24% and any stage ROP 6.7%. The mortality in infants aged less than 28 weeks was 67%, the incidence of all-stage ROP 18% and severe ROP 4%. In the group aged 28-32 weeks, the mortality was 24%, all-stage ROP 7% and severe ROP 4%-5%. Both mortality and the incidence of ROP were highest in university-based hospitals.

Conclusions: In the 2016-2017 period, the infant mortality rate before 32 weeks of age was higher in Indonesia than in high-income countries, but the incidence of ROP was comparable. This incidence is likely an underestimation due to the high mortality rate. The ROP incidence in 2016-2017 is lower than in surveys conducted before 2015. This decline is likely due to a higher practitioner awareness about ROP and national health insurance implementation in Indonesia.
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January 2021

How to prevent ROP in preterm infants in Indonesia?

Health Sci Rep 2021 Mar 18;4(1):e219. Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Department of Pediatrics Beatrix Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen Groningen The Netherlands.

Background And Aims: Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a severe disease in preterm infants. It is seen more frequently in Low-Middle Income Countries (LMIC) like Indonesia compared to High-Income Countries (HIC). Risk factors for ROP development are -extreme- preterm birth, use of oxygen, neonatal infections, respiratory problems, inadequate nutrition, and blood and exchange transfusions. In this paper, we give an overview of steps that can be taken in LMIC to prevent ROP and provide guidelines for screening and treating ROP.

Methods: Based on the literature search and data obtained by us in Indonesia's studies, we propose guidelines for the prevention, screening, and treatment of ROP in preterm infants in LMIC.

Results: Prevention of ROP starts before birth with preventing preterm labor, transferring a mother who might deliver <32 weeks to a perinatal center and giving corticosteroids to mothers that might deliver <34 weeks. Newborn resuscitation must be done using room air or, in the case of very preterm infants (<29-32 weeks) by using 30% oxygen. Respiratory problems must be prevented by starting continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in all preterm infants <32 weeks and in case of respiratory problems in more mature infants. If needed, the surfactant should be given in a minimally invasive manner, as ROP's lower incidence was found using this technique. The use of oxygen must be strictly regulated with a saturation monitor of 91-95%. Infections must be prevented as much as possible. Both oral and parenteral nutrition should be started in all preterm infants on day one of life with preferably mothers' milk. Blood transfusions can be prevented by reducing the amount of blood needed for laboratory analysis.

Discussion: Preterm babies should be born in facilities able to care for them optimally. The use of oxygen must be strictly regulated. ROP screening is mandatory in infants born <34 weeks, and infants who received supplemental oxygen for a prolonged period. In case of progression of ROP, immediate mandatory treatment is required.

Conclusion: Concerted action is needed to reduce the incidence of ROP in LMIC. "STOP - R1O2P3" is an acronym that can help implement standard practices in all neonatal intensive care units in LMIC to prevent development and progression.
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March 2021

Temporizing management vs immediate delivery in early-onset severe preeclampsia between 28 and 34 weeks of gestation (TOTEM study): An open-label randomized controlled trial.

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2021 01 28;100(1):109-118. Epub 2020 Aug 28.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Amsterdam University Medical Center, Amsterdam Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Introduction: There is little evidence to guide the timing of delivery of women with early-onset severe preeclampsia. We hypothesize that immediate delivery is not inferior for neonatal outcome but reduces maternal complications compared with temporizing management.

Material And Methods: This Dutch multicenter open-label randomized clinical trial investigated non-inferiority for neonatal outcome of temporizing management as compared with immediate delivery (TOTEM NTR 2986) in women between 27 and 33 weeks of gestation admitted for early-onset severe preeclampsia with or without HELLP syndrome. In participants allocated to receive immediate delivery, either induction of labor or cesarean section was initiated at least 48 hours after admission. Primary outcomes were adverse perinatal outcome, defined as a composite of severe respiratory distress syndrome, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, culture proven sepsis, intraventricular hemorrhage grade 3 or worse, periventricular leukomalacia grade 2 or worse, necrotizing enterocolitis stage 2 or worse, and perinatal death. Major maternal complications were secondary outcomes. It was estimated 1130 women needed to be enrolled. Analysis was by intention-to-treat.

Results: The trial was halted after 35 months because of slow recruitment. Between February 2011 and December 2013, a total of 56 women were randomized to immediate delivery (n = 26) or temporizing management (n = 30). Median gestational age at randomization was 30 weeks. Median prolongation of pregnancy was 2 days (interquartile range 1-3 days) in the temporizing management group. Mean birthweight was 1435 g after immediate delivery vs 1294 g after temporizing management (P = .14). The adverse perinatal outcome rate was 55% in the immediate delivery group vs 52% in the temporizing management group (relative risk 1.06; 95% confidence interval 0.67-1.70). In both groups there was one neonatal death and no maternal deaths. In the temporizing treatment group, one woman experienced pulmonary edema and one placental abruption. Analyses of only the singleton pregnancies did not result in other outcomes.

Conclusions: Early termination of the trial precluded any conclusions for the main outcomes. We observed that temporizing management resulted in a modest prolongation of pregnancy without changes in perinatal and maternal outcome. Conducting a randomized study for this important research question did not prove feasible.
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January 2021

Survival and causes of death in extremely preterm infants in the Netherlands.

Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2020 11 6. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

Department of Neonatology, Máxima Medical Centre, Veldhoven, The Netherlands.

Objective: In the Netherlands, the threshold for offering active treatment for spontaneous birth was lowered from 25 to 24 weeks' gestation in 2010. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of guideline implementation on survival and causes and timing of death in the years following implementation.

Design: National cohort study, using data from the Netherlands Perinatal Registry.

Patients: The study population included all 3312 stillborn and live born infants with a gestational age (GA) between 24 and 26 weeks born between January 2011 and December 2017. Infants with the same GA born between January 2007 and December 2009 (N=1400) were used as the reference group.

Main Outcome Measures: Survival to discharge, as well as cause and timing of death.

Results: After guideline implementation, there was a significant increase in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission rate for live born infants born at 24 weeks' GA (27%-69%, p<0.001), resulting in increased survival to discharge in 24-week live born infants (13%-34%, p<0.001). Top three causes of in-hospital mortality were necrotising enterocolitis (28%), respiratory distress syndrome (19%) and intraventricular haemorrhage (17%). A significant decrease in cause of death either complicated or caused by respiratory insufficiency was seen over time (34% in 2011-2014 to 23% in 2015-2017, p=0.006).

Conclusions: Implementation of the 2010 guideline resulted as expected in increased NICU admissions rate and postnatal survival of infants born at 24 weeks' GA. In the years after implementation, a shift in cause of death was seen from respiratory insufficiency towards necrotising enterocolitis and sepsis.
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November 2020

Increase in treatment of retinopathy of prematurity in the Netherlands from 2010 to 2017.

Acta Ophthalmol 2021 Feb 23;99(1):97-103. Epub 2020 Jul 23.

Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands.

Purpose: Compare patients treated for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) in two consecutive periods.

Methods: Retrospective inventory of anonymized neonatal and ophthalmological data of all patients treated for ROP from 2010 to 2017 in the Netherlands, subdivided in period (P)1: 1-1-2010 to 31-3-2013 and P2: 1-4-2013 to 31-12-2016. Treatment characteristics, adherence to early treatment for ROP (ETROP) criteria, outcome of treatment and changes in neonatal parameters and policy of care were compared.

Results: Overall 196 infants were included, 57 infants (113 eyes) in P1 and 139 (275 eyes) in P2, indicating a 2.1-fold increase in ROP treatment. No differences were found in mean gestational age (GA) (25.9 ± 1.7 versus 26.0 ± 1.7 weeks, p = 0.711), mean birth weight (791 ± 311 versus 764 ± 204 grams, p = 0.967) and other neonatal risk factors for ROP. In P2, the number of premature infants born <25 weeks increased by factor 1.23 and higher oxygen saturation levels were aimed at in most centres. At treatment decision, 59.6% (P1) versus 83.5% (P2) (p = 0.263) infants were classified as Type 1 ROP (ETROP classification). Infants were treated with laser photocoagulation (98 versus 96%) and intravitreal bevacizumab (2 versus 4%). Retreatment was necessary in 10 versus 21 (p = 0.160). Retinal detachment developed in 6 versus 13 infants (p = 0.791) of which 2 versus 6 bilateral (p = 0.599).

Conclusion: In period 2, the number of infants treated according to the ETROP criteria (Type 1) increased, the number of ROP treatments, retinal detachments and retreatments doubled and the absolute number of retinal detachments increased. Neonatal data did not provide a decisive explanation, although changes in neonatal policy were reported.
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February 2021

Lower versus Traditional Treatment Threshold for Neonatal Hypoglycemia.

N Engl J Med 2020 02;382(6):534-544

From OLVG, Department of Pediatrics (A.A.M.W.K., N.R.V.), and Academic Medical Center, Emma Children's Hospital, Department of Neonatology (D.H.G.M.N., J.H.K.), the University of Amsterdam, Pediatric Clinical Research Office (J.H.L.) and the VU Medical Center, Vrije Universiteit, Department of Neonatology (R.C.J.J.), Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, Meander Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, Amersfoort (P.F.E.), St. Antonius Hospital, Departments of Research and Epidemiology (L.M.D.) and Pediatrics (M.D.-B), Nieuwegein, Zaans Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, Zaandam (F.J.P.C.M.H.), Zuyderland Medical Center Heerlen, Department of Pediatrics, Sittard-Geleen (R.M.J.M.), Maastricht University Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics-Neonatology, Schools of Oncology and Developmental Biology (GROW) and NUTRIM, Maastricht (L.J.I.Z.), Erasmus MC-Sophia, Department of Neonatology (E.P.V.), Maasstad Hospital, Department of Pediatrics (H.G.S.), and St. Franciscus Gasthuis, Department of Pediatrics (M.W.A.H.), Rotterdam, Canisius-Wilhelmina Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, Nijmegen (B.A.S.), Amphia Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, Breda (R.H.T.B.), Rijnstate Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, Arnhem (J.J.V.), the University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Beatrix Children's Hospital, Department of Neonatology, Groningen (P.H.D.), University Medical Center Utrecht, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, Department of Neonatology, Utrecht (J.U.M.T.), Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, Dordrecht (A.C.M.), and the National Health Care Institute (ZINL), Diemen (N.B.) - all in the Netherlands; and the Hospital for Sick Children, Division of Neonatology/Child Health Evaluative Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto (M.O.).

Background: Worldwide, many newborns who are preterm, small or large for gestational age, or born to mothers with diabetes are screened for hypoglycemia, with a goal of preventing brain injury. However, there is no consensus on a treatment threshold that is safe but also avoids overtreatment.

Methods: In a multicenter, randomized, noninferiority trial involving 689 otherwise healthy newborns born at 35 weeks of gestation or later and identified as being at risk for hypoglycemia, we compared two threshold values for treatment of asymptomatic moderate hypoglycemia. We sought to determine whether a management strategy that used a lower threshold (treatment administered at a glucose concentration of <36 mg per deciliter [2.0 mmol per liter]) would be noninferior to a traditional threshold (treatment at a glucose concentration of <47 mg per deciliter [2.6 mmol per liter]) with respect to psychomotor development at 18 months, assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, third edition, Dutch version (Bayley-III-NL; scores range from 50 to 150 [mean {±SD}, 100±15]), with higher scores indicating more advanced development and 7.5 points (one half the SD) representing a clinically important difference). The lower threshold would be considered noninferior if scores were less than 7.5 points lower than scores in the traditional-threshold group.

Results: Bayley-III-NL scores were assessed in 287 of the 348 children (82.5%) in the lower-threshold group and in 295 of the 341 children (86.5%) in the traditional-threshold group. Cognitive and motor outcome scores were similar in the two groups (mean scores [±SE], 102.9±0.7 [cognitive] and 104.6±0.7 [motor] in the lower-threshold group and 102.2±0.7 [cognitive] and 104.9±0.7 [motor] in the traditional-threshold group). The prespecified inferiority limit was not crossed. The mean glucose concentration was 57±0.4 mg per deciliter (3.2±0.02 mmol per liter) in the lower-threshold group and 61±0.5 mg per deciliter (3.4±0.03 mmol per liter) in the traditional-threshold group. Fewer and less severe hypoglycemic episodes occurred in the traditional-threshold group, but that group had more invasive diagnostic and treatment interventions. Serious adverse events in the lower-threshold group included convulsions (during normoglycemia) in one newborn and one death.

Conclusions: In otherwise healthy newborns with asymptomatic moderate hypoglycemia, a lower glucose treatment threshold (36 mg per deciliter) was noninferior to a traditional threshold (47 mg per deciliter) with regard to psychomotor development at 18 months. (Funded by the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development; HypoEXIT Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN79705768.).
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February 2020

Phenobarbital, Midazolam Pharmacokinetics, Effectiveness, and Drug-Drug Interaction in Asphyxiated Neonates Undergoing Therapeutic Hypothermia.

Neonatology 2019 28;116(2):154-162. Epub 2019 Jun 28.

Department of Clinical Pharmacy, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background: Phenobarbital and midazolam are commonly used drugs in (near-)term neonates treated with therapeutic hypothermia for hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, for sedation, and/or as anti-epileptic drug. Phenobarbital is an inducer of cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A, while midazolam is a CYP3A substrate. Therefore, co-treatment with phenobarbital might impact midazolam clearance.

Objectives: To assess pharmacokinetics and clinical anti-epileptic effectiveness of phenobarbital and midazolam in asphyxiated neonates and to develop dosing guidelines.

Methods: Data were collected in the prospective multicentre PharmaCool study. In the present study, neonates treated with therapeutic hypothermia and receiving midazolam and/or phenobarbital were included. Plasma concentrations of phenobarbital and midazolam including its metabolites were determined in blood samples drawn on days 2-5 after birth. Pharmacokinetic analyses were performed using non-linear mixed effects modelling; clinical effectiveness was defined as no use of additional anti-epileptic drugs.

Results: Data were available from 113 (phenobarbital) and 118 (midazolam) neonates; 68 were treated with both medications. Only clearance of 1-hydroxy midazolam was influenced by hypothermia. Phenobarbital co-administration increased midazolam clearance by a factor 2.3 (95% CI 1.9-2.9, p < 0.05). Anticonvulsant effectiveness was 65.5% for phenobarbital and 37.1% for add-on midazolam.

Conclusions: Therapeutic hypothermia does not influence clearance of phenobarbital or midazolam in (near-)term neonates with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy. A phenobarbital dose of 30 mg/kg is advised to reach therapeutic concentrations. Phenobarbital co-administration significantly increased midazolam clearance. Should phenobarbital be substituted by non-CYP3A inducers as first-line anticonvulsant, a 50% lower midazolam maintenance dose might be appropriate to avoid excessive exposure during the first days after birth.
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May 2020

Should transcutaneous bilirubin be measured in preterm infants receiving phototherapy? The relationship between transcutaneous and total serum bilirubin in preterm infants with and without phototherapy.

PLoS One 2019 14;14(6):e0218131. Epub 2019 Jun 14.

Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Beatrix Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Our objective was to analyze the relationship between transcutaneous bilirubin (TcB) measured on an unexposed area of skin and total serum bilirubin (TSB) in preterm infants before, during, and after phototherapy (PT). For this purpose paired TSB and TcB levels were measured daily during the first ten days after birth in preterm infants of less than 32 weeks' gestation. TcB was measured with a Dräger Jaundice Meter JM-103 on the covered hipbone. Agreement between TSB and TcB levels was assessed before, during, and after PT. True negative and corresponding false negative percentages were calculated using different TcB cut-off levels. Data are presented as mean (±SD). We obtained 856 paired TcB and TSB levels in 109 preterm infants (66 boys, gestational age 29.4 ± 1.6 weeks and birth weight 1282 g ± 316 g). We found that the difference between TSB and TcB before PT was significantly lower, 44 (±36) μmol/L, than the difference during and after PT, 61 (±29) μmol/L and 63 (±25) μmol/L, respectively; P < 0.01. Blood sampling could be reduced by 42%, with 2% false negatives, when 50 μmol/L was added to the TcB level at 70% of the PT threshold. Our conclusion is that phototherapy enhances underestimation of TSB by TcB in preterms, even if measured on unexposed skin. The use of specific TcB cut-off levels substantially reduces the need for TSB measurements.
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February 2020

Current phototherapy practice on Java, Indonesia.

BMC Pediatr 2019 06 8;19(1):188. Epub 2019 Jun 8.

Department of Pediatrics, Beatrix Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Background: In Indonesia, the burden of severe hyperbilirubinemia is higher compared to other countries. Whether this is related to ineffective phototherapy (PT) is unknown. The aim of this study is to investigate the performance of phototherapy devices in hospitals on Java, Indonesia.

Methods: In 17 hospitals we measured 77 combinations of 20 different phototherapy devices, with and without curtains drawn around the incubator/crib. With a model to mimic the silhouette of an infant, we measured the irradiance levels with an Ohmeda BiliBlanket Meter II, recorded the distance between device and model, and compared these to manufacturers' specifications.

Results: In nine hospitals the irradiance levels were less than required for standard PT: < 10 μW/cm/nm and in eight hospitals irradiance failed to reach the levels for intensive phototherapy: 30 μW/cm/nm. Three hospitals provided very high irradiance levels: > 50 μW/cm/nm. Half of the distances between device and model were greater than recommended. Distance was inversely correlated with irradiance levels (R = 0.1838; P < 0.05). The effect of curtains on irradiance levels was highly variable, ranging from - 6.15 to + 15.4 μW/cm2/nm, with a mean difference (SD) of 1.82 (3.81) μW/cm2/nm (P = 0.486).

Conclusions: In half of the hospitals that we studied on Java the levels of irradiance are too low and, in some cases, too high. Given the risks of insufficient phototherapy or adverse effects, we recommend that manufacturers provide radiometers so hospitals can optimize the performance of their phototherapy devices.
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June 2019

Pharmacokinetics of morphine in encephalopathic neonates treated with therapeutic hypothermia.

PLoS One 2019 14;14(2):e0211910. Epub 2019 Feb 14.

Department of Clinical Pharmacy, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Objective: Morphine is a commonly used drug in encephalopathic neonates treated with therapeutic hypothermia after perinatal asphyxia. Pharmacokinetics and optimal dosing of morphine in this population are largely unknown. The objective of this study was to describe pharmacokinetics of morphine and its metabolites morphine-3-glucuronide and morphine-6-glucuronide in encephalopathic neonates treated with therapeutic hypothermia and to develop pharmacokinetics based dosing guidelines for this population.

Study Design: Term and near-term encephalopathic neonates treated with therapeutic hypothermia and receiving morphine were included in two multicenter cohort studies between 2008-2010 (SHIVER) and 2010-2014 (PharmaCool). Data were collected during hypothermia and rewarming, including blood samples for quantification of morphine and its metabolites. Parental informed consent was obtained for all participants.

Results: 244 patients (GA mean (sd) 39.8 (1.6) weeks, BW mean (sd) 3,428 (613) g, male 61.5%) were included. Morphine clearance was reduced under hypothermia (33.5°C) by 6.89%/°C (95% CI 5.37%/°C- 8.41%/°C, p<0.001) and metabolite clearance by 4.91%/°C (95% CI 3.53%/°C- 6.22%/°C, p<0.001) compared to normothermia (36.5°C). Simulations showed that a loading dose of 50 μg/kg followed by continuous infusion of 5 μg/kg/h resulted in morphine plasma concentrations in the desired range (between 10 and 40 μg/L) during hypothermia.

Conclusions: Clearance of morphine and its metabolites in neonates is affected by therapeutic hypothermia. The regimen suggested by the simulations will be sufficient in the majority of patients. However, due to the large interpatient variability a higher dose might be necessary in individual patients to achieve the desired effect.

Trial Registration: NTR2529.
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November 2019

Effect of Hydrocortisone Therapy Initiated 7 to 14 Days After Birth on Mortality or Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia Among Very Preterm Infants Receiving Mechanical Ventilation: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA 2019 01;321(4):354-363

Department of Neonatology, Emma Children's Hospital, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Importance: Dexamethasone initiated after the first week of life reduces the rate of death or bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) but may cause long-term adverse effects in very preterm infants. Hydrocortisone is increasingly used as an alternative, but evidence supporting its efficacy and safety is lacking.

Objective: To assess the effect of hydrocortisone initiated between 7 and 14 days after birth on death or BPD in very preterm infants.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial conducted in 19 neonatal intensive care units in the Netherlands and Belgium from November 15, 2011, to December 23, 2016, among preterm infants with a gestational age of less than 30 weeks and/or birth weight of less than 1250 g who were ventilator dependent between 7 and 14 days of life, with follow-up to hospital discharge ending December 12, 2017.

Interventions: Infants were randomly assigned to receive a 22-day course of systemic hydrocortisone (cumulative dose, 72.5 mg/kg) (n = 182) or placebo (n = 190).

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary outcome was a composite of death or BPD assessed at 36 weeks' postmenstrual age. Twenty-nine secondary outcomes were analyzed up to hospital discharge, including death and BPD at 36 weeks' postmenstrual age.

Results: Among 372 patients randomized (mean gestational age, 26 weeks; 55% male), 371 completed the trial; parents withdrew consent for 1 child treated with hydrocortisone. Death or BPD occurred in 128 of 181 infants (70.7%) randomized to hydrocortisone and in 140 of 190 infants (73.7%) randomized to placebo (adjusted risk difference, -3.6% [95% CI, -12.7% to 5.4%]; adjusted odds ratio, 0.87 [95% CI, 0.54-1.38]; P = .54). Of 29 secondary outcomes, 8 showed significant differences, including death at 36 weeks' postmenstrual age (15.5% with hydrocortisone vs 23.7% with placebo; risk difference, -8.2% [95% CI, -16.2% to -0.1%]; odds ratio, 0.59 [95% CI, 0.35-0.995]; P = .048). Twenty-one outcomes showed nonsignificant differences, including BPD (55.2% with hydrocortisone vs 50.0% with placebo; risk difference, 5.2% [95% CI, -4.9% to 15.2%]; odds ratio, 1.24 [95% CI, 0.82-1.86]; P = .31). Hyperglycemia requiring insulin therapy was the only adverse effect reported more often in the hydrocortisone group (18.2%) than in the placebo group (7.9%).

Conclusions And Relevance: Among mechanically ventilated very preterm infants, administration of hydrocortisone between 7 and 14 days after birth, compared with placebo, did not improve the composite outcome of death or BPD at 36 weeks' postmenstrual age. These findings do not support the use of hydrocortisone for this indication.

Trial Registration: Netherlands National Trial Register Identifier: NTR2768.
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January 2019

Adherence to hyperbilirubinemia guidelines by midwives, general practitioners, and pediatricians in Indonesia.

PLoS One 2018 19;13(4):e0196076. Epub 2018 Apr 19.

Department of Pediatrics, Beatrix Children Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Severe hyperbilirubinemia, which may result in kernicterus, is seen more frequently in low and middle-income countries, such as Indonesia, than in high-income countries. In Indonesia midwives, general practitioners (GPs), and pediatricians are involved in the care of jaundiced newborn infants. It is unknown whether the high incidence of severe hyperbilirubinemia in this country is related to a lack of awareness of existing hyperbilirubinemia guidelines issued by, for example, the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, or the Indonesian Health Ministry, or to a lack of adherence to such guidelines. The aim of this questionnaire study was to assess health professionals' awareness of existing guidelines and their adherence to these guidelines in daily practice. We handed out a ten-question questionnaire to midwives, GPs, and pediatricians that included questions about the professionals themselves as well as clinical questions. The midwives completed 291 questionnaires, the GPs 206, and the pediatricians 154, all of which we used for our analysis. Almost 30% of the midwives and 23% of the GPs were either unaware of any existing guidelines or they did not adhere to them. Only 54% of the midwives recognized the warning signs of severe hyperbilirubinemia correctly, compared to 68% of the GPs and 89% of the pediatricians. Twenty-eight percent of the midwives and 31% of the GPs indicated that their first follow-up visit was after 72 hours, while 90% of them discharged infants after less than 48 hours after birth. The awareness of and adherence to guidelines for preventing and treating hyperbilirubinemia is low amongst the midwives and GPs in Indonesia. This may be an important contributing factor in the high incidence of severe hyperbilirubinemia in Indonesia.
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July 2018

Evaluation of a System-Specific Function To Describe the Pharmacokinetics of Benzylpenicillin in Term Neonates Undergoing Moderate Hypothermia.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2018 04 27;62(4). Epub 2018 Mar 27.

Department of Neonatology, Emma Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The pharmacokinetic (PK) properties of intravenous (i.v.) benzylpenicillin in term neonates undergoing moderate hypothermia after perinatal asphyxia were evaluated, as they have been unknown until now. A system-specific modeling approach was applied, in which our recently developed covariate model describing developmental and temperature-induced changes in amoxicillin clearance (CL) in the same patient study population was incorporated into a population PK model of benzylpenicillin with birthweight (BW)-based allometric scaling. Pediatric population covariate models describing the developmental changes in drug elimination may constitute system-specific information and may therefore be incorporated into PK models of drugs cleared through the same pathway. The performance of this system-specific model was compared to that of a reference model. Furthermore, Monte-Carlo simulations were performed to evaluate the optimal dose. The system-specific model performed as well as the reference model. Significant correlations were found between CL and postnatal age (PNA), gestational age (GA), body temperature (TEMP), urine output (UO; system-specific model), and multiorgan failure (reference model). For a typical patient with a GA of 40 weeks, BW of 3,000 g, PNA of 2 days (TEMP, 33.5°C), and normal UO (2 ml/kg/h), benzylpenicillin CL was 0.48 liter/h (interindividual variability [IIV] of 49%) and the volume of distribution of the central compartment was 0.62 liter/kg (IIV of 53%) in the system-specific model. Based on simulations, we advise a benzylpenicillin i.v. dose regimen of 75,000 IU/kg/day every 8 h (q8h), 150,000 IU/kg/day q8h, and 200,000 IU/kg/day q6h for patients with GAs of 36 to 37 weeks, 38 to 41 weeks, and ≥42 weeks, respectively. The system-specific model may be used for other drugs cleared through the same pathway accelerating model development.
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April 2018

Improved referral and survival of newborns after scaling up of intensive care in Suriname.

BMC Pediatr 2017 Nov 14;17(1):189. Epub 2017 Nov 14.

Academic Pediatric Center Suriname, Academic Hospital Paramaribo, Flustraat 1, Paramaribo, Suriname.

Background: Scaling up neonatal care facilities in developing countries can improve survival of newborns. Recently, the only tertiary neonatal care facility in Suriname transitioned to a modern environment in which interventions to improve intensive care were performed. This study evaluates impact of this transition on referral pattern and outcomes of newborns.

Methods: A retrospective chart study amongst newborns admitted to the facility was performed and outcomes of newborns between two 9-month periods before and after the transition in March 2015 were compared.

Results: After the transition more intensive care was delivered (RR 1.23; 95% CI 1.07-1.42) and more outborn newborns were treated (RR 2.02; 95% CI 1.39-2.95) with similar birth weight in both periods (P=0.16). Mortality of inborn and outborn newborns was reduced (RR 0.62; 95% CI 0.41-0.94), along with mortality of sepsis (RR 0.37; 95% CI 0.17-0.81) and asphyxia (RR 0.21; 95% CI 0.51-0.87). Mortality of newborns with a birth weight <1000 grams (34.8%; RR 0.90; 95% CI 0.43-1.90) and incidence of sepsis (38.8%, 95% CI 33.3-44.6) and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) (12.5%, 95% CI 6.2-23.6) remained high after the transition.

Conclusions: After scaling up intensive care at our neonatal care facility more outborn newborns were admitted and survival improved for both in- and outborn newborns. Challenges ahead are sustainability, further improvement of tertiary function, and prevention of NEC and sepsis.
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November 2017

Unconjugated free bilirubin in preterm infants.

Early Hum Dev 2017 Mar - Apr;106-107:25-32. Epub 2017 Feb 6.

Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Beatrix Children's Hospital, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, 9713 GZ Groningen, The Netherlands.

Background: Hyperbilirubinemia guidelines are based on total serum bilirubin (TSB), in combination with either gestational age (GA) or birth weight (BW), postnatal age and specific risk factors. However, TSB is a poor predictor of bilirubin-induced neurotoxicity (BIND). Free unconjugated bilirubin (UCBfree) and the UCBfree/TSB ratio are more directly related to BIND, but data on their postnatal courses are unknown.

Aims: To characterize the postnatal courses of UCBfree and UCBfree/TSB ratio, and assess their relationships with clinical characteristics.

Subjects: 72 preterm infants≤32weeks GA, admitted to the University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands.

Study Design: During the first postnatal week, bilirubin plasma parameters were analyzed and their relationship with clinical parameters was analyzed. Postnatal changes were analyzed using Generalized Estimating Equations. Data are expressed as medians [ranges].

Results: Less than 10% of the cohort (GA: 29 [26-31] weeks; BW: 1165 [600-1975] g) showed hyperbilirubinemic risk factors. We observed a large variation in UCBfree (27 [1-197] nmol/L), that could partly be explained by postnatal age and gender, but not by other risk factors. Maximal UCBfree levels of 50 [13-197] nmol/L occurred at day 4 and were higher in males. In contrast to TSB, UCBfree/TSB ratios (0.19 [0.01-1.04]) were higher in infants with low GA/BW.

Conclusion: UCBfree levels vary considerably in preterm infants, despite a low incidence of hyperbilirubinemic risk factors and similar TSB-based phototherapy treatment. UCBfree could not be predicted by GA or BW, but UCBfree/TSB ratios are highest in the smallest preterms, while they have the lowest TSB levels.
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December 2017

Outcome of isolated gastroschisis; an international study, systematic review and meta-analysis.

Early Hum Dev 2016 12 27;103:209-218. Epub 2016 Oct 27.

University Medical Center Utrecht, Division Woman and Baby, Department of Obstetrics, Utrecht, The Netherlands.. Electronic address:

Objective: To determine outcome of children born with isolated gastroschisis (no extra-gastrointestinal congenital abnormalities).

Study Design: International cohort study and meta-analysis.

Primary Outcome: time to full enteral feeding (TFEF); secondary outcomes: Duration of mechanical ventilation, length of stay (LOS), mortality and differences in outcome between simple and complex gastroschisis (complex; born with bowel atresia, volvulus, perforation or necrosis). To compare the cohort study results with literature three databases were searched. Studies were eligible for inclusion if cases were born in developed countries with isolated gastroschisis after 1990, number of cases >20 and TFEF was reported.

Results: The cohort study included 204 liveborn cases of isolated gastroschisis. The TFEF, median duration of ventilation and LOS was, 26days (range 6-515), 2days (range 0-90) and 33days (range 11-515), respectively. Overall mortality was 10.8%. TFEF and LOS were significantly longer (P<0.0001) and mortality was fourfold higher in the complex group. Seventeen studies, amongst the current study, were included for further meta-analysis comprising a total of 1652 patients. Mean TFEF was 35.3±4.4days, length of ventilation was 5.5±2.0days, LOS was 46.4±5.2days and mortality risk was 0.06 [0.04-0.07 95%CI]. Outcome of simple and complex gastroschisis was described in five studies. TFEF, ventilation time, LOS were significant longer and mortality rate was 3.64 [1.95-6.83 95%CI] times higher in complex cases.

Conclusions: These results give a good indication of the expected TFEF, ventilation time and LOS and mortality risk in children born with isolated gastroschisis, although ranges remain wide. This study shows the importance of dividing gastroschisis into simple and complex for the prediction of outcome.
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December 2016

The Thompson Encephalopathy Score and Short-Term Outcomes in Asphyxiated Newborns Treated With Therapeutic Hypothermia.

Pediatr Neurol 2016 07 1;60:49-53. Epub 2016 Apr 1.

Department of Neonatology, Emma Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: The Thompson encephalopathy score is a clinical score to assess newborns suffering from perinatal asphyxia. Previous studies revealed a high sensitivity and specificity of the Thompson encephalopathy score for adverse outcomes (death or severe disability). Because the Thompson encephalopathy score was developed before the use of therapeutic hypothermia, its value was reassessed.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the association of the Thompson encephalopathy score with adverse short-term outcomes, defined as death before discharge, development of severe epilepsy, or the presence of multiple organ failure in asphyxiated newborns undergoing therapeutic hypothermia.

Methods: The study period ranged from November 2010 to October 2014. A total of 12 tertiary neonatal intensive care units participated. Demographic and clinical data were collected from the "PharmaCool" multicenter study, an observational cohort study analyzing pharmacokinetics of medication during therapeutic hypothermia. With multiple logistic regression analyses the association of the Thompson encephalopathy scores with outcomes was studied.

Results: Data of 142 newborns were analyzed (male: 86; female: 56). Median Thompson score was 9 (interquartile range: 8 to 12). Median gestational age was 40 weeks (interquartile range 38 to 41), mean birth weight was 3362 grams (standard deviation: 605). All newborns manifested perinatal asphyxia and underwent therapeutic hypothermia. Death before discharge occurred in 23.9% and severe epilepsy in 21.1% of the cases. In total, 59.2% of the patients had multiple organ failure. The Thompson encephalopathy score was not associated with multiple organ failure, but a Thompson encephalopathy score ≥12 was associated with death before discharge (odds ratio: 3.9; confidence interval: 1.3 to 11.2) and with development of severe epilepsy (odds ratio: 8.4; confidence interval: 2.5 to 27.8).

Conclusion: The Thompson encephalopathy score is a useful clinical tool, even in cooled asphyxiated newborns. A score ≥12 is associated with adverse outcomes (death before discharge and development of severe epilepsy). The Thompson encephalopathy score is not associated with the development of multiple organ failure.
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July 2016

Altered gentamicin pharmacokinetics in term neonates undergoing controlled hypothermia.

Br J Clin Pharmacol 2016 06 10;81(6):1067-77. Epub 2016 Mar 10.

Department of Pharmacy, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam.

Aim(s): Little is known about the pharmacokinetic (PK) properties of gentamicin in newborns undergoing controlled hypothermia after suffering from hypoxic−ischaemic encephalopathy due to perinatal asphyxia. This study prospectively evaluates and describes the population PK of gentamicin in these patients

Methods: Demographic, clinical and laboratory data of patients included in a multicentre prospective observational cohort study (the ‘PharmaCool Study’) were collected. A non-linear mixed-effects regression analysis (nonmem®) was performed to describe the population PK of gentamicin. The most optimal dosing regimen was evaluated based on simulations of the final model.

Results: A total of 47 patients receiving gentamicin were included in the analysis. The PK were best described by an allometric two compartment model with gestational age (GA) as a covariate on clearance (CL). During hypothermia the CL of a typical patient (3 kg, GA 40 weeks, 2 days post-natal age (PNA)) was 0.06 l kg−1 h−1 (inter-individual variability (IIV) 26.6%) and volume of distribution of the central compartment (Vc) was 0.46 l kg−1 (IIV 40.8%). CL was constant during hypothermia and rewarming, but increased by 29% after reaching normothermia (>96 h PNA).

Conclusions: This study describes the PK of gentamicin in neonates undergoing controlled hypothermia. The 29% higher CL in the normothermic phase compared with the preceding phases suggests a delay in normalization of CL after rewarming has occurred. Based on simulations we recommend an empiric dose of 5 mg kg−1 every 36 h or every 24 h for patients with GA 36–40 weeks and GA 42 weeks, respectively.
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June 2016

The Ages and Stages Questionnaire and Neurodevelopmental Impairment in Two-Year-Old Preterm-Born Children.

PLoS One 2015 20;10(7):e0133087. Epub 2015 Jul 20.

Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Beatrix Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Objective: To test the ability of the Ages and Stages Questionnaire, Third Edition (ASQ3) to help identify or exclude neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) in very preterm-born children at the corrected age of two.

Methods: We studied the test results of 224 children, born at <32 postmenstrual weeks, who had scores on ASQ3 and Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition (BSIDIII) and neurological examination at 22-26 months' corrected age. We defined NDI as a score of <70 on the cognitive--or motor composite scale of BSIDIII, or impairment on neurological examination or audiovisual screening. We compared NDI with abnormal ASQ3 scores, i.e., < -2SDs on any domain, and with ASQ3 total scores. To correct for possible overestimation of BSIDIII, we also analyzed the adjusted BSIDIII thresholds for NDI, i.e., scores <80 and <85.

Results: We found 61 (27%) children with abnormal ASQ3 scores, and 10 (4.5%) children who had NDI with original BSIDIII thresholds (<70). Twelve children had NDI at BSIDIII thresholds at <80, and 15 had <85. None of the 163 (73%) children who passed ASQ3 had NDI. The sensitivity of ASQ3 to detect NDI was excellent (100%), its specificity was acceptable (76%), and its negative predictive value (NPV) was 100%. Sensitivity and NPV remained high with the adjusted BSIDIII thresholds.

Conclusion: The Ages and Stages Questionnaire is a simple, valid and cost-effective screening tool to help identify and exclude NDI in very preterm-born children at the corrected age of two years.
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April 2016

Cerebral oxygenation is associated with neurodevelopmental outcome of preterm children at age 2 to 3 years.

Dev Med Child Neurol 2015 May 8;57(5):449-55. Epub 2014 Nov 8.

Division of Neonatology, Beatrix Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Aim: The aim of the study was to determine whether regional cerebral tissue oxygen saturation (r(c)SO2) and fractional tissue oxygen extraction (FTOE), using near-infrared spectroscopy, are associated with neurodevelopmental outcome of preterm infants.

Method: We measured rc SO2 on days 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 15 after birth in 83 preterm infants (<32wks gestational age), and calculated FTOE=(SpO2 -r(c)SO2)/SpO2. Cognitive, motor, neurological, and behavioural outcomes were determined at 2 to 3 years using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition (BSID-III), an age-specific neurological examination, and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) respectively. Multiple linear regression analyses were used to determine whether r(c)SO2 and FTOE contributed to outcome.

Results: We followed up 67 infants. The lower quartile (P(25-50)) and highest quartile (P(75-100)) of r(c)SO2 on day 1 were associated with poorer cognitive outcome (p=0.044 and p=0.008 respectively). A lower area under the curve (AUC; over 15d) of r(c)SO2 was associated with poorer cognitive outcome (p=0.014). The lower quartile (P(25-50)) AUC of r(c)SO2 was associated with poorer fine motor outcome (p=0.004). The amount of time r(c)SO2 <50% on day 1 was negatively associated with gross motor outcome (p=0.002). The highest quartile of FTOE on day 1 was associated with poorer total motor outcome (p=0.041).

Interpretation: Cerebral oxygen saturation during the first 2 weeks after birth is associated with neurodevelopmental outcome of preterm infants at 2 to 3 years. High and low r(c)SO2 on day 1 were associated with poorer neurodevelopmental outcome.
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May 2015

Bilirubin-albumin binding, bilirubin/albumin ratios, and free bilirubin levels: where do we stand?

Semin Perinatol 2014 Nov 7;38(7):412-21. Epub 2014 Oct 7.

Department of Pediatrics, Beatrix Children׳s Hospital, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, Groningen 9713 GZ, The Netherlands.

Treatment for unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia is predominantly based on one parameter, i.e., total serum bilirubin (TSB) levels. Yet, overt kernicterus has been reported in preterm infants at relatively low TSB levels, and it has been repeatedly shown that free unconjugated bilirubin (freeUCB) levels, or bilirubin/albumin (B/A) ratios for that matter, are more closely associated with bilirubin neurotoxicity. In this article, we review bilirubin-albumin binding, UCBfree levels, and B/A ratios in addition to TSB levels to individualize and optimize treatment especially in preterm infants. Methods to measure bilirubin-albumin binding or UCBfree are neither routinely performed in Western clinical laboratories nor incorporated in current management guidelines on unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia. For bilirubin-albumin binding, this seems justified because several of these methods have been challenged, and sufficiently powered prospective trials on the clinical benefits are lacking. Technological advances in the measurement of UCBfree may provide a convenient means for integrating UCBfree measurements into routine clinical management of jaundiced infants. A point-of-care method, as well as determination of UCBfree levels in various newborn populations, is desirable to learn more about variations in time and how various clinical pathophysiological conditions affect UCBfree levels. This will improve the estimation of approximate UCBfree levels associated with neurotoxicity. To delineate the role of UCBfree in the management of jaundiced (preterm) infants, trials are needed using UCBfree as treatment parameter. The additional use of the B/A ratio in jaundiced preterms has been evaluated in the Bilirubin Albumin Ratio Trial (BARTrial; Clinical Trials: ISRCTN74465643) but failed to demonstrate better neurodevelopmental outcome in preterm infants <32 weeks assigned to the study group. Awaiting a study in which infants are assigned to be managed solely on the basis of their B/A ratio (with TSB excluded ) versus TSB levels alone-and determining which group does better-the additional use of the B/A ratio in the management of hyperbilirubinemia in preterms is not advised. In conjunction with TSB levels, other parameters possibly allow for more accurate prediction of bilirubin toxicity. Yet, different methodologies for estimating these parameters exist, and sufficiently powered, prospective clinical trials supporting their clinical benefit, i.e., reduced bilirubin neurotoxicity when using these parameters, are lacking. Their use in addition to TSB needs to be prospectively evaluated, especially in preterm neonates, and preferentially in randomized clinical trials, which include specific risk factors and assessment of clinical relevant outcome measures for detecting those infants at risk of bilirubin toxicity.
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November 2014

The bilirubin albumin ratio in the management of hyperbilirubinemia in preterm infants to improve neurodevelopmental outcome: a randomized controlled trial--BARTrial.

PLoS One 2014 13;9(6):e99466. Epub 2014 Jun 13.

Department of Pediatrics, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background And Objective: High bilirubin/albumin (B/A) ratios increase the risk of bilirubin neurotoxicity. The B/A ratio may be a valuable measure, in addition to the total serum bilirubin (TSB), in the management of hyperbilirubinemia. We aimed to assess whether the additional use of B/A ratios in the management of hyperbilirubinemia in preterm infants improved neurodevelopmental outcome.

Methods: In a prospective, randomized controlled trial, 615 preterm infants of 32 weeks' gestation or less were randomly assigned to treatment based on either B/A ratio and TSB thresholds (consensus-based), whichever threshold was crossed first, or on the TSB thresholds only. The primary outcome was neurodevelopment at 18 to 24 months' corrected age as assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development III by investigators unaware of treatment allocation. Secondary outcomes included complications of preterm birth and death.

Results: Composite motor (100 ± 13 vs. 101 ± 12) and cognitive (101 ± 12 vs. 101 ± 11) scores did not differ between the B/A ratio and TSB groups. Demographic characteristics, maximal TSB levels, B/A ratios, and other secondary outcomes were similar. The rates of death and/or severe neurodevelopmental impairment for the B/A ratio versus TSB groups were 15.4% versus 15.5% (P = 1.0) and 2.8% versus 1.4% (P = 0.62) for birth weights ≤ 1000 g and 1.8% versus 5.8% (P = 0.03) and 4.1% versus 2.0% (P = 0.26) for birth weights of >1000 g.

Conclusions: The additional use of B/A ratio in the management of hyperbilirubinemia in preterm infants did not improve their neurodevelopmental outcome.

Trial Registration: ISRCTN74465643.
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October 2015

Severe neonatal hyperbilirubinemia in the Netherlands.

Neonatology 2013 24;104(2):137-42. Epub 2013 Jul 24.

Department of Neonatology, Beatrix Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Background: The occurrence of severe neonatal hyperbilirubinemia (SH) is partly attributed to nonhospitalized perinatal care. The Netherlands have a high frequency of home births and nonhospitalized perinatal care, and the incidence of SH is unknown.

Objective: To assess the effects of home births and early hospital discharge on the incidence of SH in term-born infants in the Netherlands.

Methods: In this nationwide prospective surveillance study between 2005 and 2009, infants (≥37 weeks GA) were included if total serum bilirubin (TSB) was ≥500 µmol/l or if they received an exchange transfusion when TSB was ≥340 µmol/l.

Results: Seventy-one infants had SH (incidence 10.4/100,000); 43 had a TSB ≥500 μmol/l (incidence 6.3/100,000) and 45 (63%) underwent an exchange transfusion. 26% of the infants with SH were born at home, which is similar to 22% of all term infants who are born at home in the Netherlands (p = 0.41). Maximum TSB levels were similar in infants born at home (523 ± 114 μmol/l) and infants born in hospital (510 ± 123 μmol/l; p = 0.70). Of the 51 infants born in hospital, 33 were discharged and readmitted with SH, with maximal TSB levels (567 ± 114 μmol/l), which were higher than in infants who remained hospitalized (406 ± 47 μmol/l; p = 0.0001).

Conclusion: The incidence of severe hyperbilirubinemia in term-born infants in the Netherlands is 10.4 per 100,000, which is similar to other developed countries. Home birth and early hospital discharge do not necessarily lead to a higher incidence of SH, provided that perinatal home care is well organized.
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March 2014

Evaluation of treatment thresholds for unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia in preterm infants: effects on serum bilirubin and on hearing loss?

PLoS One 2013 7;8(5):e62858. Epub 2013 May 7.

Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Beatrix Children's Hospital, UMC Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Background: Severe unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia may cause deafness. In the Netherlands, 25% lower total serum bilirubin (TSB) treatment thresholds were recently implemented for preterm infants.

Objective: To determine the rate of hearing loss in jaundiced preterms treated at high or at low TSB thresholds.

Design/methods: In this retrospective study conducted at two neonatal intensive care units in the Netherlands, we included preterms (gestational age <32 weeks) treated for unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia at high or low TSB thresholds. Infants with major congenital malformations, syndromes, chromosomal abnormalities or toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes, syphilis, and human immunodeficiency infections were excluded. We analyzed clinical characteristics and TSB levels during the first ten postnatal days. After two failed automated Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) tests we used the results of the diagnostic ABR examination to define normal, unilateral, and bilateral hearing loss (>35 dB).

Results: There were 479 patients in the high and 144 in the low threshold group. Both groups had similar gestational ages (29.5 weeks) and birth weights (1300 g). Mean and mean peak TSB levels were significantly lower after the implementation of the novel thresholds: 152 ± 43 µmol/L and 212 ± 52 µmol/L versus 131 ± 37 µmol/L and 188 ± 46 µmol/L for the high versus low thresholds, respectively (P<0.001). The incidence of hearing loss was 2.7% (13/479) in the high and 0.7% (1/144) in the low TSB threshold group (NNT = 50, 95% CI, 25-3302).

Conclusions: Implementation of lower treatment thresholds resulted in reduced mean and peak TSB levels. The incidence of hearing impairment in preterms with a gestational age <32 weeks treated at low TSB thresholds was substantially lower compared to preterms treated at high TSB thresholds. Further research with larger sample sizes and power is needed to determine if this effect is statistically significant.
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December 2013

High variability and low irradiance of phototherapy devices in Dutch NICUs.

Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2013 Mar 18;98(2):F112-6. Epub 2012 May 18.

Department of Neonatology, Beatrix Children’s Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands.

Objective: To evaluate phototherapy practices by measuring the irradiance levels of phototherapy (PT) devices.

Design: Prospective study.

Setting: Tertiary neonatal intensive care units.

Patients: None.

Interventions: Irradiance levels of PT devices used in the 10 Dutch Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) were measured according to the local PT practice patterns. The irradiance levels of all overhead and fibre-optic PT devices were measured with a radiometer using an infant silhouette model.

Results: Eight different PT devices were used in the 10 NICUs; five were overhead devices and three fibre-optic pads. The median (range) irradiance level for overhead PT devices was 9.7 (4.3-32.6) µW/cm(2)/nm and for fibre-optic pads 6.8 (0.8-15.6) µW/cm(2)/nm. Approximately 50% of PT devices failed to meet the minimal recommended irradiance level of 10 µW/cm(2)/nm. Maximal irradiance levels for overhead PT spot lights were inversely related to the distance between device and infant model (R2=0.33). The distances ranged from 37 cm to 65 cm.

Conclusions: PT devices in the Dutch NICUs show considerable variability with often too low irradiance levels. These results indicate that suboptimal PT is frequently applied and may even be ineffective towards reducing total serum bilirubin levels. These results underline the need for greater awareness among all healthcare workers towards the requirements for effective PT including measurements of irradiance and distance.
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March 2013

Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of medication in asphyxiated newborns during controlled hypothermia. The PharmaCool multicenter study.

BMC Pediatr 2012 May 22;12:45. Epub 2012 May 22.

Department of Neonatology, Emma Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: In the Netherlands, perinatal asphyxia (severe perinatal oxygen shortage) necessitating newborn resuscitation occurs in at least 200 of the 180-185.000 newly born infants per year. International randomized controlled trials have demonstrated an improved neurological outcome with therapeutic hypothermia. During hypothermia neonates receive sedative, analgesic, anti-epileptic and antibiotic drugs. So far little information is available how the pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) of these drugs are influenced by post resuscitation multi organ failure and the metabolic effects of the cooling treatment itself. As a result, evidence based dosing guidelines are lacking. This multicenter observational cohort study was designed to answer the question how hypothermia influences the distribution, metabolism and elimination of commonly used drugs in neonatal intensive care.

Methods/design: Multicenter cohort study. All term neonates treated with hypothermia for Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) resulting from perinatal asphyxia in all ten Dutch Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) will be eligible for this study. During hypothermia and rewarming blood samples will be taken from indwelling catheters to investigate blood concentrations of several antibiotics, analgesics, sedatives and anti-epileptic drugs. For each individual drug the population PK will be characterized using Nonlinear Mixed Effects Modelling (NONMEM). It will be investigated how clearance and volume of distribution are influenced by hypothermia also taking maturation of neonate into account. Similarly, integrated PK-PD models will be developed relating the time course of drug concentration to pharmacodynamic parameters such as successful seizure treatment; pain assessment and infection clearance.

Discussion: On basis of the derived population PK-PD models dosing guidelines will be developed for the application of drugs during neonatal hypothermia treatment. The results of this study will lead to an evidence based drug treatment of hypothermic neonatal patients. Results will be published in a national web based evidence based paediatric formulary, peer reviewed journals and international paediatric drug references.

Trial Registration: NTR2529.
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May 2012

An evidence-based view on hyperbilirubinaemia.

Acta Paediatr 2012 Apr;101(464):3-10

Department of Neonatology, Beatrix Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Introduction: We conducted a review of the evidence which contributes to the current care of jaundiced newborn infants.

Methods: Literature was searched for reviews and randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Results: Six Cochrane reviews and eight other reviews and eighteen recent RCTs are discussed.

Conclusions: Many children still suffer life-long consequences of severe hyperbilirubinaemia, which could almost always have been prevented relatively easily. Up to date, guidelines summarizing the available evidence into unambiguous recommendations are needed to guide healthcare professionals in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment for infants with hyperbilirubinaemia.
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April 2012

Systemic Hydrocortisone To Prevent Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia in preterm infants (the SToP-BPD study); a multicenter randomized placebo controlled trial.

BMC Pediatr 2011 Nov 9;11:102. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Department of Neonatology, Emma Children's Hospital, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Background: Randomized controlled trials have shown that treatment of chronically ventilated preterm infants after the first week of life with dexamethasone reduces the incidence of the combined outcome death or bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). However, there are concerns that dexamethasone may increase the risk of adverse neurodevelopmental outcome. Hydrocortisone has been suggested as an alternative therapy. So far no randomized controlled trial has investigated its efficacy when administered after the first week of life to ventilated preterm infants.

Methods/design: The SToP-BPD trial is a randomized double blind placebo controlled multicenter study including 400 very low birth weight infants (gestational age < 30 weeks and/or birth weight < 1250 grams), who are ventilator dependent at a postnatal age of 7 - 14 days. Hydrocortisone (cumulative dose 72.5 mg/kg) or placebo is administered during a 22 day tapering schedule. Primary outcome measure is the combined outcome mortality or BPD at 36 weeks postmenstrual age. Secondary outcomes are short term effects on the pulmonary condition, adverse effects during hospitalization, and long-term neurodevelopmental sequelae assessed at 2 years corrected gestational age. Analysis will be on an intention to treat basis.

Discussion: This trial will determine the efficacy and safety of postnatal hydrocortisone administration at a moderately early postnatal onset compared to placebo for the reduction of the combined outcome mortality and BPD at 36 weeks postmenstrual age in ventilator dependent preterm infants.
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November 2011

Measurements of neonatal bilirubin and albumin concentrations: a need for improvement and quality control.

Eur J Pediatr 2011 Aug 7;170(8):977-82. Epub 2011 Jan 7.

Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Beatrix Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, 9700 RB, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Accurate and precise bilirubin and albumin measurements are essential for proper management of jaundiced neonates. Data hereon are lacking for Dutch laboratories. We aimed to determine variability of measurements of bilirubin and albumin concentrations typical for (preterm) neonates. Aqueous, human serum albumin-based samples with different concentrations of bilirubin (100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 μmol/L) and albumin (0, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 g/L) were sent to laboratories of all Dutch neonatal intensive care units (n = 10). Bilirubin and albumin recoveries of the specimens were measured using locally available routine analytical methods. The mean, standard deviation, and coefficients of variations (CV) were calculated per sample. Bilirubin concentrations were underestimated in the absence of albumin (maximal CV 26.0%). When the albumin concentration was 10 or 20 g/L, the bilirubin concentrations of the samples were overestimated (maximal CV 14.1% and 9.2%, respectively). Variability increased with higher weighed-in bilirubin concentrations. Measured albumin levels were ~10% lower than albumin levels of manufactured samples. Bilirubin concentration did not influence albumin measurements. The maximal CV was 6.8%. In conclusion, interlaboratory variability of bilirubin and albumin measurements is high. Recalibration and introduction of a specific quality assessment scheme for neonatal samples is recommended to ensure exchangeability of bilirubin and albumin measurements among laboratories and to control the observed large variability.
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August 2011

[Guideline 'Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of hyperbilirubinemia in the neonate with a gestational age of 35 or more weeks'].

Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 2009 ;153:A93

Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen, Beatrix Kinderziekenhuis, afd. Kindergeneeskunde, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Bilirubin encephalopathy and kernicterus are preventable conditions. Nevertheless cases continue to occur. It is difficult to identify those infants who may develop severe hyperbilirubinemia, because icterus neonatorum occurs in most newborns. The aim of this guideline is to reduce the incidence of severe neonatal hyperbilirubinemia and bilirubin encephalopathy, and at the same time to minimise the risk of unintended side effects. At the initiative of the Dutch Pediatric Association and with methodological support from the Dutch Institute for Healthcare Improvement (CBO), a multidisciplinary working group adapted the clinical practice guideline on hyperbilirubinemia of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to the Dutch situation. This guideline provides recommendations for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of hyperbilirubinemia in neonates (>or= 35 weeks). For all newborns a risk assessment for the development of hyperbilirubinemia is made and they are to be systematically assessed during the first week of life. The guideline provides various intervention thresholds for risk groups, recommendations for the use of intravenous immunoglobulin in the event of severe hyperbilirubinemia on the basis of blood group antagonisms, and recommendations for conjugated hyperbilirubinemia. During the transfer of care, information about the risk factors in particular must be satisfactorily passed on.
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November 2009