Grace Leo. The 16th Bubble Wrap, Don't Forget the Bubbles, 2018. Available at:
With millions upon millions of journal articles being published every year it is impossible to keep up. Every month we ask some of our friends from PERUKI (Paediatric Emergency Research in UK and Ireland) to point out something that has caught their eye.
Article 1: The immediate impact of different types of television on young children’s executive function.
What’s it about?
The impact of television on children is a controversial topic with its effect on development not entirely clear. Recently the increase in mobile phone use has changed the focus of debate but it remains important to understand how increasing levels of screen time will affect our future generation. To test how television impacts on executive function (a collection of pre-frontal skills which impact on attention and working memory) children were shown two programmes. The first a “very popular fantastical cartoon about an animated sponge that lives under the sea” and the second a more educationally orientated cartoon about a pre-school aged boy. The core difference between the programmes was that the former was defined as fast paced (the scene completely changed every 11 seconds) whereas the latter had a slower pace (scene change every 34 seconds)
After watching the cartoons the children completed 3 different tasks to test executive function. An example of one test was a delayed gratification exercise in which they could chose a bag of marshmallows or goldfish crackers and could have 10 if they could wait for the experimenter to return into the room (but wouldn’t know how long that would be) or have 2 immediately.
The results demonstrated a 9 minute episode of a fast paced television cartoon significantly impaired executive function compared to the educational programme.
Why does it matter?
Pace of change in television shows may impact on decision making immediately after watching them. While familiar events are processed by established pathways, new and unexpected events, which the authors note “fantastical events often are” do not have a neurological framework to follow. There is no comment about at what age this effect may stop.
Clinically Relevant Bottom Line:
It’s possible watching Sponge Bob Square-Pants as a distraction video for a child you are cannulating may impact on your own decision making immediately afterwards.
Reviewed by: Damian Roland
Article 2: Subthreshold phototherapy during birth hospitalization to prevent readmission
What’s it about?
This retrospective study aimed to estimate the efficacy of subthreshold phototherapy in preventing readmissions. Generally phototherapy is considered a low-risk intervention whereas hospital readmissions soon after discharge are often perceived as a negative indicator of quality of care.
The authors analysed over 25 000 infants over a 4 year period with a total serum bilirubin (TSB) just below threshold for phototherapy. The protocol for deciding to perform TSB levels on infants unfortunately was not specified.
The paper found initiation of subthreshold phototherapy was effective in preventing readmissions (4.9% vs. 12.8%) but the number needed to treat to prevent 1 admission was approximately 14. Subthreshold phototherapy also led to a longer length of stay of 22 hours. Formula feeding had a similar protective effect against readmission for phototherapy (although this is not surprising as breastfeeding is a known risk factor of hyperbilirubinemia).
Why does it matter?
As clinicians we sometimes initiate treatment in anticipation of a possible treatment threshold – ‘to be on the safe side’ – but this study seems to suggest we do more harm by keeping them in hospital through unnecessary intervention, increased length of stay and higher hospitalization costs.
Clinical Relevant Bottom Line
This study suggests that performing subthreshold phototherapy in healthy newborns has a NNT of 14 and is likely to unnecessarily increase their length of birth hospitalization by approximately a day.
Reviewed by: Anke Raaijmakers
Article 3: Be Brave
What’s it about and why does it matter?
When a child goes through a difficult procedure in hospital, it’s common for many of us to praise them as being brave. But is this akin to shoving tissue boxes into the face of a grieving patient in that it may well serve the purpose of easing our own discomfort? In this short BMJ opinion piece, Sophie, a young adult with congenital heart disease shares her perspective on the challenge of constantly being told in hospital that she was so ‘brave’ and that there was nothing to be scared of. She discusses how it often made her feel that she shouldn’t be crying or talk about her distress during difficult procedures. Importantly she shares that we can find other ways to support children by acknowledge their distress, explaining, empathizing with them, giving them breaks and opportunities to feel more in control of tough situations.
The next time you tell a child that they are ‘so brave’ – stop and think about whether you’re sending the right message and how you might be able to best support and empathise with this individual.
Reviewed by: Grace Leo
Article 4: Topic
Aldridge P., Rao A., Sethumadavan R., Briggs N. Fever under 3 months and the full septic screen: Time to think again? A retrospective cohort study at a tertiary-level paediatric hospital. J Paediatr Child Health. 2018 Mar;54(3):272-278. doi: 10.1111/jpc.13743. Epub 2017 Oct 30.
What’s it about?
Febrile neonates can be very challenging when it comes to differentiating a serious bacterial infection from other relatively benign presentations. A number of significant papers have previously set out criteria or protocols whereby a “partial” septic screen can be undertaken. In this retrospective cohort study, based in the ED of a Sydney tertiary children’s hospital, 219 neonates presenting as febrile had their notes analysed to assess adherence with local guidelines. Further, the primary outcome sought to identify whether a “risk stratification protocol” would be both safe and effective compared to current practice and local guidelines.
Why does it matter?
We know that clinical variance is widespread within paediatrics; the question is often when and why this happens. In this pragmatic assessment of clinical practice, Aldridge et al discuss both warranted and unwarranted variance in the adherence to guidelines.
Additionally, adherence to a risk stratification protocol seeks to reduce the overall number of unnecessary interventions (particularly lumbar puncture and chest radiograph), whilst maintaining a low miss rate for both Serious and Invasive Bacterial Infections (both of which are simply and elegantly defined in this paper). I’ve previously written about the “Step-by-step” approach, and this study sits alongside that and other papers in the space of an algorithmic approach. Notably, this paper’s risk stratification protocol does not use procalcitonin, and has non-zero numerators in all arms, making the miss rate relevant. I strongly recommend you read the teams work in its entirety here.
Reviewed by: Henry Goldstein
Bubble Wrap Plus
The Bubble Wrap would like to introduce a new segment from Dr Anke Raaijmakers working with Professor Jaan Toelen & his team of the University Hospitals in Leuven (Belgium) to share their monthly Journal Club Reading List. The content covers a broad range of relevant topics for anyone that looks after children. This comprehensive list of ‘articles to read’ comes from 34 journals, including the major Paediatric Journals (Pediatrics, The Journal of Pediatrics, Archives of Disease in Childhood, JAMA pediatrics, Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health) as well as general journals (NEJM, Lancet, JAMA, BMJ) and may also include papers from several subspecialist paediatric journals.
This month’s list from February features answers to intriguing questions such as: ‘Does your neonatal ibuprofen exposure affect renal function during adolescence?’, ‘What is the prevalence of sexting in our youths’ and ‘Do we over-diagnose Kawasaki disease?’ We would like to encourage all of our readers to use this list as a useful starting point for exploring other recent articles in Paediatrics.
You will find the list is broken down into four sections:
Israëls J, et al. Eur J Pediatr. 2018 Feb 26.
Cummings C, et al. Paediatr Child Health. 2018 Feb;23(1):e18-e24.
Innes NPT, et al. Arch Dis Child. 2018 Feb 20.
Beck JB, et al. Pediatrics. 2018 Feb 13.
The Psychology of Clinical Decision Making – Implications for Medication Use.
Avorn J. N Engl J Med. 2018 Feb 22;378(8):689-691.
Filewod NC, et al. Lancet. 2018 Feb 3;391(10119):410-412.
Raaijmakers A, et al. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2018 Mar;103(2):F107-F111.
Madigan S, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2018 Feb 26.
Englander E, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2018 Feb 26.
Lavin LR, et al. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2018 Feb 1
Yildirim M, et al. J Child Neurol. 2018 Jan 1:883073817754176.
Wickremasinghe AC, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2018 Feb 26.
Taylor JA, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2018 Feb 26.
Lionetti E, et al. J Pediatr. 2018 Mar;194:116-122.e2.
Bellos I, et al. Eur J Pediatr. 2018 Feb 23.
Roberson NP, et al. Pediatr Radiol. 2018 Feb 23.
Reilev M, et al. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2018 Feb 22.
Bell JC, et al. Arch Dis Child. 2018 Feb 22.
Coon ER, et al. Arch Dis Child. 2018 Feb 22.
Koletzko S, et al. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2018 Mar;66(3):417-424.
Gangoiti I, et al. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2018 Feb 16.
Jakob A, et al. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2018 Feb 3.
Jone PN, et al. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2018 Feb 15.
Twilhaar ES, et al. JAMA Pediatr. 2018 Feb 19.
Achten NB, et al. Eur J Pediatr. 2018 Feb 18.
Liu T, et al. Arch Dis Child. 2018 Feb 16.
Håberg SE, et al. Pediatrics. 2018 Feb 15.
Mintegi S, et al. Arch Dis Child. 2018 Feb 15.
Elliot C, et al. J Paediatr Child Health. 2018 Feb 14.
Schneider J, et al. Pediatrics. 2018 Feb 13.
Thomson J, et al. Pediatrics. 2018 Feb 2.
Vliegenthart R, et al. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2018 Feb 7.
Ramasamy R, et al. Arch Dis Child. 2018 Feb 7.
Norris JE, et al. J Paediatr Child Health. 2018 Feb 13.
Vilanova-Sanchez A, et al. J Pediatr Surg. 2018 Jan 31.
Wojtera M, et al. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2018 Feb 7.
Kane AF, et al. J Pediatr. 2018 Feb 2.
Ruest S, et al. J Pediatr. 2018 Feb 1.
Brand DA, et al. J Pediatr. 2018 Feb 2.
Van Kalleveen MW, et al. Eur J Pediatr. 2018 Feb 1.
Shakhnovich V, et al. J Pediatr. 2018 Feb;193:102-108.e1.
Battersby C, et al. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2018 Mar;103(2):F182-F189.
Perrone S, et al. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2018 Mar;103(2):F163-F166.
Blank DA, et al. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2018 Mar;103(2):F157-F162.
That’s it for this month. Many thanks to all of our reviewers who have taken the time to scour the literature so you don’t have to.