1175 e-Letters

published between 2015 and 2018

  • Re:Bruising in children with bleeding disorders - Limitations
    Peter Collins

    Dear Editors

    We thank Drs Chakraborty and Morris for their interest in our study. We acknowledge that the children without bleeding disorders were only recruited in south Wales whilst those with bleeding disorders were recruited in centres around the UK. Given the data available we are not able to comment on whether children are likely to bruise differently dependent on where they live.

    We agree that...

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  • SIDS as the consequence of an immunological burst

    In his recent review “Infection: the neglected paradigm in SIDS research” Goldwater (2017) demonstrated that the infection model is the key pathological finding and the key epidemiological risk factor in SIDS. He reasoned that future research regarding the process how the microbiome shapes the immune system in infancy, will close remaining gaps in the knowledge about these tragic events. The well-known and worldwide similar distribution of age of SIDS-death with a clear peak between the 2nd and 4th month (AAP 2005, 2016) likewise supports this infection hypothesis. In this time slot the battle between microbial colonizing of the dermal and the mucosal tissue, including pathogens as well as microbiome building bacteria (Gensollen 2016) and the proceeding of the infant’s immature to a mature immune system (Basha 2014, Elahi 2013), potentially complicated by viral infections, opens a wide window for an immunological burst. In the neonate with little immunological memory the innate and adaptive immune system (immune cells, cytokines, antibodies, etc.) starts to mature rapidly in the first three months of his life (Basha 2014). Additionally CD71+ erythroid cells, which are enriched in the newborn period and which have actively immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory properties, vanish during the first months, leaving the infant exceedingly susceptible to infections (Elahi 2014).
    At the same time the passive protection by transplacentally transferred maternal antibodies, w...

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  • Yes, parental consent is important. But it is not the only factor.

    We thank Dr Neefjes for engaging so thoroughly with our research, which focuses on an important area of care that has a significant impact on parents, children and clinicians. We readily agree that early discussions about end-of-life care might be beneficial in giving parents more time to explore treatment options. Further research could explore whether earlier discussions would be acceptable and of benefit. In our research we found, unsurprisingly, that parents want the best for their children and that clinicians want to do the best for their patients. Reducing the chance for relationships to become ‘adversarial’ is in our view a good aim where possible. It is true that, if parents feel that they are no longer able to defend the best interests of their children, this loss of empowerment may precipitate conflict. However, it was apparent in our research that parents with whom we spoke did not think of their rights of consent in absolute terms. Instead they thought that their rights to consent were complex and not necessarily absolute in that they sometimes amounted to the power to agree to– or disagree with –a narrow range of options (including, in some cases, in relation to decisions to withdraw or withhold treatment). This is not to say that all other parents share this opinion (we lack evidence for such a general empirical claim), but more that the nuance in the way that these parents perceived consent may distinguish parental consent from consent in other populations....

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  • Tertium non datur

    Dr. Goldwater's review once again reflects a suberb understanding of SIDS and related phenomena. He consistently presents information to his readers in a most interesting and objectively accurate and well-written set of steps, which are typically precise, factual, and to the point. For example, he ends the review by observing as follows:
    " If multiple causes were involved, then it would be reasonable to expect a variety of pathological findings. This demonstrably is not the case. There is a fixed pattern to the vast majority of cases. The crux of the argument against broad polycausality of SIDS is the consistent pathological picture (usually in more than 90% of cases) "
    " In moving forward, SIDS researchers should be asking the following questions: (1) Does my hypothesis take into account the key pathological findings in SIDS? (2) Is my hypothesis congruent with the key epidemiological risk factors? (3) Does the hypothesis link questions (1) and (2) This review has shown that infection meets these questions appropriately and researchers in this area deserve acknowledgement and funding support. There remain gaps in our knowledge with regard to the infection model, but it is clear that other lines of research are not making the grade ...."
    Note that while Dr. Goldwater has provided a formidable case on behalf of supporting and funding infection related SIDS research, and also given that there unquestionably is a relationshi...

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  • Is limiting parental authority the answer?

    The authors conclude here that when withdrawing treatment in PICU is considered parents' refusal
    to consent can cause additional suffering as clinicians tend to extend burdensome treatment beyond
    what they think is reasonable to allow parents time to reconsider. Moreover, both parents and
    clinicians try to avoid approaching the courts for a decision.
    On the basis of these findings the authors suggest that limiting parental authority by using the concept of parental assent instead of consent could lead to an expeditious resolution in cases of disagreement and should be the focus of further research.
    This suggestion is not supported by the parental quotes used in this article. Indeed, one of the parent's objection to a court decision stems from his opinion that the decisions regarding withdrawal of treatment should be the domain of the parents. Limiting parental authority might therefore lead to increased adversarial relationships between the treating team and parents especially when parental views are overruled.
    Some quotes in this article as well as other research show that parents at the end of their child's life need time to
    often extensively research alternative treatments 'because you just need to have looked and
    exhausted every avenue'. Rather than limiting parental authority, it may thus be better to start the
    discussion regarding end of life care, including withholding treatment earlier....

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  • Is Bexsero® (MenB vaccine) effective in preventing invasive meningococcal disease? Experience of a tertiary hospital in the UK

    Is Bexsero® (MenB vaccine) effective in preventing invasive meningococcal disease? Experience of a tertiary hospital in the UK. Novel meningococcus serogroup B vaccine (Bexsero®) was introduced in UK national immunisation programme on 1 September 2015. All babies born from July 2015 were offered the vaccine alongside other routine immunisations and all babies born in May 2015 were offered Bexsero® as a one-off catch-up. Bexsero® is estimated to protect against 73–88% of MenB strains causing invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in England and Wales1,2. Among the diseases preventable by immunisation, IMD remains a high public profile illness deserving the most rigorous consideration because of its rapid and severe onset, high mortality rate and burden of sequelae. Epidemiological data suggest that infants in the first year of life experience the highest risk of infection peaking at around 5 months and declining thereafter. We continue to observe IMD in the first year of life despite the introduction of Bexsero® in our national immunisation programme (Table 1). This retrospective data was obtained as part of service evaluation at Central Manchester University Hospital Foundation Trust from our microbiology department. We are one of the biggest integrated Children's hospitals in the UK providing a wide range of services for the North West region and have over 220,000 patient visits each year. The epidemiological year starts from July to June, rath...

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  • Policy reviews 5 years after valuable in holding to account

    Lemer has very usefully carried out a 5 year review of policy implementation. Policy is only as good as the receivers at the other end and these change frequently along with an ever changing political and economic landscape.Thus the exercise is valuable in not only taking stock but also reminding those in power of an independent review process with recommendations which should transcend governments. Sadly , the focus on funding education of the workforce (recommendations 10-12) do not appear to have been a priority and without this foundation, we will not move ahead sufficiently fast with a child and family friendly service. The Children and Young Persons Outcomes Framework is similarly the result of much work in a previous government and must not be allowed to whither on the vine. Perhaps we should regularly remind policy makers in the current administration of the value of persistence with other such initiatives which have a broad professional consensus and can be dusted off and re-badged as necessary to tempt politicians to move the goal posts a little closer to what is required to optimize child health? Lets see how far we have got in another 5 years.

  • Single night oximetry may be inadequate

    We would like to thank the authors of the Pavone paper for their interest in our paper (1,2). We are sorry for not quoting their paper in our study report but do confirm that we were aware of it (2). In our introduction we selected several papers to quote in order to introduce the uncertainty with respect to the need to record 1, 2 or 3 nights of overnight oximetry and the Pavone paper was not one we selected. The Pavone paper claims excellent night to night consistency in oximetry and that only one night of oximetry measurement is necessary while our study did not find this to be the case (2).
    While we agree that the Pavone study used a pulsed oximeter with some superior properties (Radical Masimo) compared to that which we used (Nonin 9600) we do not believe that this is one of the most important reasons why our results differ from the Pavone study.
    We believe the main reasons for differences between the two papers include;
    1] Different primary aims - our study was aimed to determine whether doing 2 or 3 nights oximetry would increase the chances of getting adequate traces to make a report. We therefore included all studies (whether satisfactory or not). In the Pavone study only those with 2 nights each with > 6 hours satisfactory tracing were included and about one third of the children initially identified were therefore excluded. We do not know what then happened to these children – i.e. whether further studies had to be rescheduled. Clearly selec...

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  • A false equivalency between CFS/ME and CDF

    The title of the paper and the majority of the introduction imply that the study is about adolescents with CFS/ME. However, the final sentence of the introduction undermines that objective: “As children in our study were not examined by a physician, we have used the term ‘chronic disabling fatigue’ (CDF) rather than CFS/ME to indicate chronic fatigue that is disabling.”

    Those children may have had a variety of different diseases that cause prolonged fatigue, yet we are led to believe that a study of their collective conditions can somehow add to the body of literature on a specific disease process. CFS/ME is a highly contentious disease with a great deal of conflicting evidence and hypotheses; answers as to its exact nature and cause are as yet to be determined. By publishing a study of patients who are so poorly defined as to be undefined, Archives of Disease in Childhood has further muddied already murky waters. The addition of this study to the body of literature is not only unhelpful, but is actively detrimental to the pursuit of answers for patients with this highly disabling disease.

    How are ADC or the authors able to justify publishing a study that to all appearances is about CFS/ME, yet fails to properly assess if any of the study participants actually have CFS/ME?

  • Ward-based High-flow Nasal Cannula Therapy May Delay ICU Admission and Increase Requirement for Intubation in Young Infants with Bronchiolitis

    Dear Editor,
    We woud like to respond to one of the issues raised in the audit of high
    flow nasal cannula (HHFNC) recently published (1). As the authors observed, although evidence for efficacy is lacking,
    clinical pactice has rapidly expanded the indications for respiratory
    support on the ward using HHFNC. We have observed a number of cases
    where commencement of HHFNC may have delayed referral to the PICU
    service, and are concerned that this may have affected the level of
    respiratory support required on subsequent admission to PICU. Humidified high flow nasal cannula (HHFNC) provides heated and
    humidified air/oxygen flow to support respiratory function in sick
    infants and children. Flow rates may be up to 60L/min, and are usually
    titrated at 1-3L/kg depending on clinical work of breathing (WOB). The
    concentration of oxygen may be adjusted to maintain oxygen saturations
    within the normal range for each child. Pediatric units providing this
    therapy, usually do so within agreed guidelines. Some units mandate
    admission to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), and some
    administer HHFNC on the ward. There is some evidence that the use of
    HHFNC may reduce the need for PICU admission and more advanced
    respiratory support (2). However, studies to date have not stratified
    infants further, into categories of risk of failure of therapy (3). Yet
    infants with significan...

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