Publications by authors named "Ulrich Merz"

8 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Clinical characteristics of children with viral single- and co-infections and a petechial rash.

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2013 May;32(5):e186-91

Paediatric Infectious Diseases, University Children's Hospital Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany.

Background: Children with petechial rash are more likely to undergo invasive diagnostics, to be treated with antibiotics for potential bacterial infection and to be hospitalized. However, viruses have also been associated with petechial rash. Nonetheless, a systematic analysis of viral infections with modern available techniques as quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction in the context of petechial rash is lacking. The purpose of this pediatric study was to prospectively uncover viral pathogens that may promote the emergence of petechiae and to analyze the correlation with the clinical characteristics and course.

Methods: We conducted a prospective study in children (0 to 18 years) presenting with petechiae and signs or symptoms of infection at the emergency department between November 2009 and March 2012. In nasopharyngeal aspirates the following viruses were analyzed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction: cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, parvovirus B19, influenza A and B, parainfluenza viruses, human respiratory syncytial virus A and B, human metapneumovirus, rhinovirus, enterovirus, adenovirus, human coronavirus OC43, 229E, NL63 and human bocavirus.

Results: A viral pathogen was identified in 67% of the analyzed 58 cases with petechial rash. Virus positive patients showed a significantly higher incidence of lower respiratory tract infections. Forty-one percent were viral coinfections, which were significantly younger than virus negative patients, had a higher leukocyte count and were hospitalized for a longer time.

Conclusions: A petechial rash is frequently associated viral single- and coinfections and can rapidly be identified via quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/INF.0b013e318280618dDOI Listing
May 2013

Are recurrent hyperglycemic episodes and median blood glucose level a prognostic factor for increased morbidity and mortality in premature infants

J Perinat Med 2007 ;35(3):245-8

Department for Neonatal and Conservative Pediatric Intensive Care, University Hospital, Medical Faculty RWTH, Pauwelsstr. 30, D-52074 Aachen, Germany.

Background: Tight blood glucose control with intravenous insulin reduces morbidity and mortality in adult surgical intensive care patients. This has never been investigated in premature infants weighing 150 mg/dL and median blood glucose levels in the first week of life on one hand, and morbidity and mortality in premature infants weighing
Patients And Methods: The following data were collected from 252 premature infants weighing /=150 mg/dL, median blood glucose level, allocation of patients into groups according to number of elevated blood glucose levels >/=150 mg/dL (0, 1-3 or >/=4 incidents), and median blood sugar level in relation to mortality and morbidity like IVH, ROP, and sepsis.

Results: A significant increase in mortality (P<0.0001) with increasing median blood glucose level and repeated (>/=4) incidents of blood glucose levels >/=150 mg/dL and in infants with low gestational age (<27 weeks) were observed. There was no correlation between blood glucose level and morbidity.

Conclusion: Premature infants with low gestational age (<27 weeks), elevated median blood glucose levels and/or repeatedly elevated blood glucose levels >/=150 mg/dL have a significantly increased mortality. However, further prospective studies considering the gestational age should determine the relationship between tight glucose control and mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/JPM.2007.057DOI Listing
July 2007

Intrathecal synthesis of anti-viral antibodies in pediatric patients.

Eur J Paediatr Neurol 2007 Jan 4;11(1):29-34. Epub 2006 Dec 4.

Department of Pediatrics, RWTH, University Hospital of Aachen, Pauwelsstrasse 30, 52064 Aachen, Germany.

Introduction: Detection of intrathecal synthesis of specific antibodies (antibody index (AI)) is an established method to prove cerebral viral infection. Experience on its clinical application in large patient groups, however, is sparse.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of pediatric patients with positive viral AI treated at RWTH Aachen University Hospital between 1999 and 2005.

Results: 63 patients were studied, including 14 with encephalitis, 12 with neuritis, nine with cerebral vasculitis, six with multiple sclerosis (MS), five with severe cephalgia, five with psychiatric symptoms, three with hearing loss, two with seizures, three with white matter diseases, two with movement disorders, one with meningococcal meningitis and one with sinus venous thrombosis. Seven had several positive AI among them only one patient with MS. Of the 51 patients with a single positive AI and not having MS, 16 showed a positive AI for herpes simplex-, 13 for varicella zoster-, nine for Epstein-Barr-, four for cytomegalo-, four for mumps-, three for rubella- and two for measles virus. Frequent combinations were varicella zoster virus (VZV) and vasculitis (n = 8), herpes simplex virus (HSV) and neuritis (n = 6), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) (n = 5), respectively, VZV (n = 4) and encephalitis as wells as mumps virus (n = 2) and hearing loss. Matched polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and AI data were available in 25 patients. PCR was simultaneously positive in three cases only.

Discussion: AI testing identifies a similar spectrum of pathogens as known from cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) PCR studies. It complements the PCR and increases the chance for adequate diagnosis and treatment of patients with assumed cerebral viral infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejpn.2006.10.003DOI Listing
January 2007

Three new cases of congenital agenesis of the trachea.

Eur J Pediatr 2007 Jan 3;166(1):79-82. Epub 2006 Aug 3.

Department for Neonatal and Conservative Pediatric Intensive Care, University Hospital, Medical Faculty RWTH, 52074 Aachen, Germany.

Congenital absence of the trachea is a rare anomaly that might confront the obstetrician or neonatologist with an unexpected emergency. These patients present with cyanosis, severe respiratory distress, insufficient gas exchange, absence of audible crying and difficult or impossible endotracheal intubation. In more than 90% it is associated with further congenital malformations. Adequate oxygenation depends on the existence of a tracheo- or bronchooesphageal fistula and the length of the proximal trachea. We present the cases of three neonates with tracheal agenesis with tracheooesophageal fistula. Two of the neonates died within the first hour of life because endotracheal intubation was impossible and oxygenation through an oesophageally placed tube was insufficient. The third infant could be oxygenated through a tracheooesophageal fistula. The ventilation was at least insufficient and no surgical intervention was made. The diagnosis of a congenital absence of the trachea usually is made after birth because of the clinical signs and the course within the first minutes of life. The only way that the diagnosis can be made prenatally is by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The knowledge of this clinical picture helps to make decisions in an unexpected emergency in the immediate postpartum period and also in patients whose ventilation is very difficult right from the start.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00431-006-0210-4DOI Listing
January 2007

Gender-based differences in children with sepsis and ARDS: the ESPNIC ARDS Database Group.

Intensive Care Med 2003 Oct 15;29(10):1770-3. Epub 2003 Aug 15.

University Childrens Hospital, Adenauerallee 119, 53113 Bonn, Germany.

Male gender predisposes to severe sepsis and septic shock. This effect has been ascribed to higher levels of testosterone. The ESPNIC ARDS database was searched, to determine if there was evidence of a similar male preponderance in severe sepsis in prepubertal patients in spite of low levels of male sex hormones at this age. A total of 72 patients beyond neonatal age up to 8 years of age with sepsis were identified. The male/female (M/F) ratio was 1.7 (1.0;2.7) and differed significantly from non-septic ARDS patients in this age group [n = 209; M/F = 1.0 (0.8;1.3)]. The highest M/F-ratio was observed in the first year of life. The gender-ratio was the same as reported in adult patients with sepsis. In infants between 1 month and 12 months of age, the ratio was 2.8 (1.2;6.1) (Chi2= 5.6; P< 0.01), in children from 1 year to 8 years of age it was 1.2 (0.7;2.2) (n.s.). In a subgroup of patients with severe sepsis or septic shock, caused by other bacteria than Neisseria meningitidis, the M/F-ratio was 2.1 (1.2;3.6) (Chi2= 4.9; P<0.05), while in patients with meningococcal sepsis (n=20) the M/F-ratio was 1.0 (0.4;2.3). In prepubertal ARDS patients with sepsis an increased frequency of male patients is found, comparable to adults. No male preponderance exists in patients with ARDS due to meningococcal septic shock. Since levels of testosterone and other sex hormones are extremely low at this age, we conclude that factors others than testosterone are involved in the male preponderance in severe sepsis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00134-003-1948-zDOI Listing
October 2003

Early treatment with erythropoietin beta ameliorates anemia and reduces transfusion requirements in infants with birth weights below 1000 g.

J Pediatr 2002 Jul;141(1):8-15

Objective: To investigate whether recombinant erythropoietin (rhEPO) reduces the need for transfusion in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants (birth weight 500-999 g) and to determine the optimal time for treatment.

Methods: In a blinded multicenter trial, 219 ELBW infants were randomized on day 3 to one of 3 groups: early rhEPO group (rhEPO from the first week for 9 weeks, n = 74), late rhEPO group (rhEPO from the fourth week for 6 weeks, n = 74), or control group (no rhEPO, n = 71). All infants received enteral iron (3-9 mg/kg/day) from the first week. The rhEPO beta dose was 750 IU/kg/week. Success was defined as no transfusion and hematocrit levels never below 30%.

Results: Success rate was 13% in the early rhEPO group, 11% in the late rhEPO group, and 4% in the control group (P =.026 for early rhEPO versus control group). Median transfusion volume was 0.4 versus 0.5 versus 0.7 mL/kg/day (P =.02) and median donor exposure was 1.0 versus 1.0 versus 2.0 (P =.05) in the early rhEPO group, the late rhEPO group, and the control group, respectively. Infection risk was not increased and weight gain was not delayed with rhEPO beta.

Conclusion: Early rhEPO beta treatment effectively reduces the need for transfusion in ELBW infants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1067/mpd.2002.124309DOI Listing
July 2002

Functional upper airway obstruction in a child with Freeman-Sheldon syndrome.

ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec 2002 Jan-Feb;64(1):53-6

Neonatologische Intensivmedizin, Kinderklinik, Aachen, Deutschland.

Freeman-Sheldon syndrome is defined as a combination of microstomia, deep set eyes, small palpebral fissures, arthrogryposis with ulnar deviation of the hand, talipes equinovarus and generalized muscular hypertension. Respiratory and swallowing problems are frequently encountered in these patients due to small orifices of mouth and nose. Obstruction of the upper airway tract resulting in tracheostomy has only been described twice. The described child manifested the typical dysmorphic features of Freeman-Sheldon syndrome and suffered from serious respiratory distress and swallowing difficulties from birth. The boy died at the age of 7 months after accidental decannulation of the tracheostoma during sleep. He did not show anatomical or histopathological abnormalities in the pharyngeal, laryngeal or tracheal regions. We assume that the only explanation of the repeated obstructive episodes is a functional muscular obstruction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000049271DOI Listing
August 2002

Partial liquid ventilation reduces release of leukotriene B4 and interleukin-6 in bronchoalveolar lavage in surfactant-depleted newborn pigs.

Pediatr Res 2002 Feb;51(2):183-9

Children's Hospital, Neonatal Intensive Care, Aachen University of Technology, 52057 Aachen, Germany.

Perfluorocarbons have been shown to reduce the inflammatory process generated by alveolar macrophages in vitro. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of different ventilator modalities such as partial liquid ventilation (PLV), conventional ventilation (CV), and high-frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFOV) on the release of inflammatory mediators in vivo. Acute lung injury was induced in 30 male piglets by repeated saline lavage (arterial oxygen tension, <60 mm Hg; fraction of inspired oxygen, 1.0). Thereafter, animals were randomly assigned to one of five groups of six animals each: 1) 24 h of CV; 2) 24 h of CV plus surfactant therapy (S+CV); 3) 24 h of HFOV plus surfactant therapy (S+HFOV); 4) 1 h of PLV followed by 23 h of CV (PLV); and 5) 24 h of CV without previous lung injury (control group). Piglets randomized to S+CV or S+HFOV received natural surfactant (100 mg/kg). PLV with FC-77 was started in an initial dose of 30 mL/kg over 30 min followed by 0.5 mL x kg(-1) x min(-1) for another 30 min. After 1 h of PLV the animals were conventionally ventilated for 23 h. Before acute lung injury and after 24 h the number of inflammatory cells and the levels of IL-6, leukotriene B4, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha were measured in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Additionally, the oxygenation index and the histopathologic damage were evaluated. Before acute lung injury, the number of inflammatory cells and the levels of mediators in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were not different among the groups. After 24 h, the number of granulocytes in the PLV group was as low as in the control group. leukotriene B4 and IL-6 levels were found to be elevated in all groups except the control group (p < 0.01). The release of leukotriene B4 and IL-6 was lowest in the PLV group when compared with S+HFOV, S+CV, or CV (p < 0.05). No differences among the groups were detected for tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Although the concentrations of leukotriene B4 and IL-6 after PLV were lowest in the PLV group, histopathologic evidence of damage and the oxygenation index in the PLV group did not differ from that found in the S+CV or S+HFOV groups. In conclusion, PLV with perfluorocarbons may protect the lung from acute pulmonary inflammation more effectively than CV or HFOV does.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1203/00006450-200202000-00010DOI Listing
February 2002