eLetters

1486 e-Letters

  • Response to comments of Professor Marchetti

    Dear Sir

    We thank Professor Marchetti for his comments on our article in ADC (1). He raises two important questions we wish to comment on.

    Regarding which dose of aspirin to use, we are also interested in the suggestion that anti-aggregant doses of aspirin might be a preferred option for the acute inflammatory phase of Kawasaki disease (KD). It is indeed possible that future guidance may recommend low dose aspirin (3-5 mg/kg/day) at all stages of KD, as suggested by the retrospective data referred to by Professor Marchetti (2). Whilst we acknowledge the potential merits of such an approach, particularly in relation to avoidance of toxicity, there has never been a prospective controlled clinical trial to support this and therefore no high-level evidence on which to base firm guidance. Two other practical considerations are worthy of highlighting in relation to aspirin. Firstly, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, which antagonize platelet inhibition induced by aspirin (3), should be avoided in patients with KD receiving anti-aggregant doses of aspirin. Secondly, although the risk of low dose aspirin (3-5 mg/kg) in being associated with Reye syndrome is unknown, usual advice is to discontinue in the event of inter-current infection.

    Regarding the use of corticosteroids for primary treatment of KD, we have been strong advocates of this for several years, as reflected in previously published guidance (4, 5). This is now brought into...

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  • Response to comments of Dr Andrea Dotta and Dr Renato Cutrera

    Dear Editor,

    We thank you for the opportunity to discuss our data with the two correspondents who raised some concerns regarding the selected population of our analysis on neonatal outcomes following new reimbursement criteria on palivizumab use. They also reported data collected during the same time period and apparently different from our main results.

    In response to the first correspondent, our analysis is based on children < 2 years of age because the candidate for palivizumab treatments are included within this subpopulation. In fact, the therapeutic indication (1) of palivizumab includes not only the preterm infants up to 1 year of age but also children up to 2 years of age and treated for bronchopulmonary dysplasia or born with a serious heart disease. Furthermore, our selected population is consistent with previous analysis (2) that measured the association between updated guidelines-based palivizumab administration and hospitalization for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).   Table 1 of our study reports children up to 6 months of age, both at risk of RSV and including hospitalization data. We agree that this is probably the subpopulation with the major impact of the palivizumab treatment and regulatory decision. However, also in this case no differences in hospitalization rate have been detected before-after the AIFA’ limitation for palivizumab: 1031/47.608 (21.7 ‰) and 436/22715 (19.2 ‰) hospitalizations, respectiv...

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  • Response to Dr Smith - balanced fluids

    Dear Sir/ Editor,

    Dr Smith makes relevant and interesting points regarding the terminology used for fluids, which can be used for both “resuscitation” purposes and “maintenance” therapy, and we thank him for his interest and response.

    The purpose of this clinical question was to review the current evidence for paediatric patients in relation to “ balanced fluids”, a term emerging in the medical literature. NICE recommends using any isotonic crystalloid, which covers a wide range of sodium concentration from 130 to 154mmol/L (reference 1 in the article).

    The loss of electrolytes, either from the gut or as a result of renal impairment, needs regular clinical review. We observe that repeated bicarbonate measurements are not regularly undertaken after initial assessment or following admission and it is important to remind trainees to consider these losses, hence our recommendation of daily monitoring of electrolytes. By following this approach, appropriate individualised adjustments can be made to the fluid prescription of patients as necessary.

    Our conclusion from this question highlighted that research needs to be undertaken in the paediatric population of bicarbonate/ lactate containing fluids to determine whether this may affect acute kidney injury and other specific clinical outcomes. We agree attention to detail is always necessary when caring for infants and children receiving intrav...

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  • Kawasaki disease: is it time to consider the antiplatelet dose of aspirin even in the acute phase of the disease?

    The results of the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit survey show that aspirin in Kawasaki disease (KD) is used in the UK and Ireland at a medium dose of 30-50 mg/kg/day in the acute phase of the disease (1). The guidelines of the American Heart Association (AHA) of 2017 do not give a clear indication on what dose of aspirin should be used in the acute phase of KD, stating that "there are no data to suggest that one dose of aspirin is superior to the other" (3).
    However, a recent review of the evidence of literature on the use of aspirin in KD (3), clearly shows that, in conjunction with intravenous immunoglobulin, low-dose ASA (3-5 mg/kg/day) in acute KD is not inferior to high-dose ASA (80-100 mg/kg/day) for reducing the risk of coronary artery (CA) abnormalities, duration of fever, responsiveness to IVIG and time of hospitalization (3). These results supports using low-dose (3-5 mg/kg/day) aspirin in the acute phase of KD (3,4). These studies did not consider the concomitant use of steroid therapy, of which the guidelines of AHA do not define a standardized use (2).
    The question of which dose of ASA is used in the acute phase is relevant considering that aspirin treatment exposes a risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, hepatotoxicity and neurosensory hearing impairment and Reye syndrome, and that this effect is strictly dose dependent and related to duration of therapy (3).
    We believe that the time has come to reconsider and update the guideli...

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  • Correct target population for Palivizumab cost-utility analysis

    Dear authors,

    We are kindly observing that the study on hospitalizations for infection due to respiratory syncytial virus should be conducted on infants aged <1 year old [1], and not on infants aged <2 years old. Such a choice is motivated by medical literature and since the prescription of palivizumab on the general population of preterm infants is up to 1 year of age. Moreover, the study does not tightly classify the hospitalization depending on the gestational age, a lack of information that exclude the possibility of a punctual statistical analysis on the infants whose gestational age is between 29-35 weeks, population matter of the analysis, impacted by the AIFA reimbursement limitations.
    In the study infants aged <2 years old have been considered, the same subjects are statistically contributing to two consecutive seasons with different ages. The algebraic sum of the season 2014-2015 / 2015-2016 perpetuate the complexity of analysis of hospitalization for a specific season, if the infant is hospitalized in the season of his/her birth or next year.
    As reported by Medici et al. [2], respiratory syncytial virus infection has a 2-years evolution, with a less critical year following a year with more abundant virus diffusion. By algebraically summing the data from two consecutive years the seasonality, so the stochasticity, is lost. Eventually the season 2016-2017 appear to be the less critical season. Environmental and patient conditions such...

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  • Neonatal Outcome in Italy: a clinical point of view

    Dear authors, dear editors,

    We are writing to respond with our data, that, in the same region (Lazio), indicate a different pattern.
    We have focused on the patients that were previously eligible for palivizumab treatment (only preterm infants, with gestational age>29 weeks), in three different hospitals located in Rome.
    Please consider that the time frame is the year before and the year after of the AIFA reimbursement limitations, the same years where in Figure 1 of your manuscript you show higher hospitalizations before and lower hospitalizations after AIFA limitations.
    At the NICU Casilino Hospital (ref.A) we have noticed an increase in the number of bronchiolitis from the year before (6 bronchiolitis/35 children with 30-32WGA; 17%) to the year after limitations (12/47; 26%).
    At the Sapienza University of Rome we have registered an increase in hospitalizations for bronchiolitis in children with 30-36 WGA from 14 out of 165 hospitalizations (8.5%) during the 2015/16 season to 21/141 hospitalizations in the subsequent season (14.9%, p =0.05). Of them, respectively 8 (14%) and 13 (18.3%) were due to RSV, although the difference is not statistically significant. The total number of VRS+ increased significantly in the second year (ref.B).
    At the OPBG we have analysed only the data from the 2016/17 season and we have noticed a higher incidence of bronchiolitis in the late preterm (13 VRS+/27 children 30-37WGA, not treated with palivizuma...

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  • Resuscitation or maintenance?

    Having just read this article I am concerned about the terminology used as I am not sure it truly reflects the clinical problem posed. The article refers to "maintenance" fluids but the question asked relates more to “resuscitation” fluids.

    It is important to be clear as to the aim of treatment in the individual patient when prescribing fluids rather than just following a guideline. The paper debates the relative merits of 0.9% sodium chloride and balanced fluids as “maintenance” fluids. To my mind “maintenance” fluids are administered to patients who have a replete extracellular fluid (ECF) volume. If ECF volume is low then “resuscitation” fluids are required. “Maintenance” and “resuscitation” fluids have different roles and therefore might be expected to have different characteristics.

    As the article refers to “maintenance” fluids I will deal with these first. This fluid is needed to replicate the fluid that the patient would normally be drinking but for a variety of reasons may not be able to ingest. It should be differentiated in turn from "replacement" fluid which is the fluid given on top of the "maintenance" fluid when patients have fluid losses in excess of those normally anticipated. This includes diarrhoea, vomiting and fluid from surgical drains. The fluid used for "replacement" needs to match the composition and volume of the fluid being lost. Once "resuscitation" and "replacement" fluid...

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  • Identification and prevention of respiratory problems linked to eating and drinking difficulties for children and young people with cerebral palsy.

    I welcome Himmelmann’s editorial concerning the prevention of respiratory problems for individuals with cerebral palsy1. As a speech and language therapist working within a multi-disciplinary nutrition team, I recognise the need to increase our understanding of the complex interactions between risk factors through collaboration across stakeholders. It is of particular concern that solids or liquids in the lungs or windpipe have been identified as the cause of death for almost a quarter of people with cerebral palsy2.

    With this in mind, we developed the Eating and Drinking Ability Classification System (EDACS) for people with cerebral palsy from age 3 years. EDACS classifies limitations to eating and drinking ability in 1 of 5 levels, replacing frequently used terms “mild”, “moderate” and “severe” which lack shared definition. Key features of “safety” and “efficiency” are used to determine 5 distinct levels of ability: from Level I Eats and drinks safely and efficiently through to Level V Unable to eat or drink safely – tube feeding may be considered to provide nutrition. EDACS demonstrated strong content validity and excellent inter-observer reliability when used by speech and language therapists3. EDACS is free to download from www.edacs.org along with sixteen completed translations. Ten other language translations are currently in process.

    Himmelmann1 points out associations between limitations to gross motor function and...

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  • Response to e-letter entitled: Importance of dermatology in paediatric vulval disease

     

    Thank you for the opportunity to reply, here is our response.

    We would like to thank the authors for their valuable comments, we believe that these comments add to and complement our article. Our article aimed to cover a wide breadth of common gynaecological conditions that can affect children and unfortunately we were therefore not able to go in to great detail for each condition covered. We would certainly agree on the importance of an early diagnosis for lichen sclerosus and collaboration with a dermatologist for treatment if available. The British Association of Dermatologists guidelines for the management of lichen sclerosus was not published when we wrote our article, we can see that this is a very valuable resource.

    Kind Regards

    Jo Ritchie

  • Importance of dermatology in paediatric vulval disease

    Dear Sir,

    We read with interest the review on ‘The paediatrician and the management of common gynaecological conditions’ (1). This is an important topic but we have concerns about incorrect information in this paper with respect to vulval disorders. Most vulval conditions are dermatological rather than gynaecological and the involvement of a dermatologist in the management of these children is vital. The breadth of paediatric vulval disease is not reflected in this paper including the concept of vulval presentation of various skin conditions (eg. psoriasis, chronic bullous dermatosis of childhood, erythema multiforme) and the need to examine the rest of the skin including the hair, nails and mucosa.

    There appears to be some confusion within the article, for example, a vaginal discharge is not a vulval disorder. While a discharge can lead to a vulvitis, the two problems of vaginitis and vulvitis should be distinguished as the investigation and management of each is very different.

    The commonest condition seen in children presenting with vulval symptoms is an irritant dermatitis which is not specifically mentioned in the section on vulval irritation. This is often seen in those with a background of atopy and requires emollients and a mild topical steroid application intermittently with good hygiene measures. Other important disorders such as Lipschutz ulcers and genital warts have been omitted.

    However, our major concerns relate to the section o...

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