Tonic-clonic convulsions and convulsive status epilepticus (currently defined as a tonic-clonic convulsion lasting at least 30 minutes) are medical emergencies and require urgent and appropriate anticonvulsant treatment. International consensus is that an anticonvulsant drug should be administered for any tonic-clonic convulsion that has been continuing for at least five minutes. Benzodiazepines (diazepam, lorazepam, midazolam) are traditionally regarded as first-line drugs and phenobarbital, phenytoin and paraldehyde as second-line drugs.
This is an update of a Cochrane Review first published in 2002 and updated in 2008.
We have not identified any new high-quality evidence on the efficacy or safety of an anticonvulsant in stopping an acute tonic-clonic convulsion that would inform clinical practice. There appears to be a very low risk of adverse events, specifically respiratory depression. Intravenous lorazepam and diazepam appear to be associated with similar rates of seizure cessation and respiratory depression. Although intravenous lorazepam and intravenous diazepam lead to more rapid seizure cessation, the time taken to obtain intravenous access may undermine this effect. In the absence of intravenous access, buccal midazolam or rectal diazepam are therefore acceptable first-line anticonvulsants for the treatment of an acute tonic-clonic convulsion that has lasted at least five minutes. There is no evidence provided by this review to support the use of intranasal midazolam or lorazepam as alternatives to buccal midazolam or rectal diazepam.
Pediatric cervical spine injury (CSI) after blunt trauma is rare. Nonetheless, missing these injuries can have severe consequences. To prevent the overuse of radiographic imaging, two clinical decision tools have been developed: The National Emergency X-Radiography Utilization Study (NEXUS) criteria and the Canadian C-spine Rule (CCR). Both tools are proven to be accurate in deciding whether or not diagnostic imaging is needed in adults presenting for blunt trauma screening at the emergency department. However, little information is known about the accuracy of these triage tools in a pediatric population.
There are currently few studies assessing the diagnostic test accuracy of the NEXUS criteria and CCR in children. At the moment, there is not enough evidence to determine the accuracy of the Canadian C-spine Rule to detect CSI in pediatric trauma patients following blunt trauma. The confidence interval of the sensitivity of the NEXUS criteria between the individual studies showed a wide range, with a lower limit varying from 0.18 to 0.91 with a total of four false negative test results, meaning that if physicians use the NEXUS criteria in children, there is a chance of missing CSI. Since missing CSI could have severe consequences with the risk of significant morbidity, we consider that the NEXUS criteria are at best a guide to clinical assessment, with current evidence not supporting strict or protocolized adoption of the tool into pediatric trauma care. Moreover, we have to keep in mind that the sensitivity differs among several studies, and individual confidence intervals of these studies show a wide range. Our main conclusion is therefore that additional well-designed studies with large sample sizes are required to better evaluate the accuracy of the NEXUS criteria or the Canadian C-spine Rule, or both, in order to determine whether they are appropriate triage tools for the clearance of the cervical spine in children following blunt trauma.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) is common in infants, and feed thickeners are often used to manage it in infants as they are simple to use and perceived to be harmless. However, conflicting evidence exists to support the use of feed thickeners.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux is a physiological self resolving phenomenon in infants that does not necessarily require any treatment. However, we found moderate-certainty evidence that feed thickeners should be considered if regurgitation symptoms persist in term bottle-fed infants. The reduction of two episodes of regurgitation per day is likely to be of clinical significance to caregivers. Due to the limited information available, we were unable to assess the use of feed thickeners in infants who are breastfeeding or preterm nor could we conclude which type of feed thickener is superior.
Most tobacco control programmes for adolescents are based around prevention of uptake, but teenage smoking is still common. It is unclear if interventions that are effective for adults can also help adolescents to quit. This is the update of a Cochrane Review first published in 2006.
There is limited evidence that either behavioural support or smoking cessation medication increases the proportion of young people that stop smoking in the long-term. Findings are most promising for group-based behavioural interventions, but evidence remains limited for all intervention types. There continues to be a need for well-designed, adequately powered, randomized controlled trials of interventions for this population of smokers.
Paediatric neurodiagnostic investigations, including brain neuroimaging and electroencephalography (EEG), play an important role in the assessment of neurodevelopmental disorders. The use of an appropriate sedative agent is important to ensure the successful completion of the neurodiagnostic procedures, particularly in children, who are usually unable to remain still throughout the procedure.
The quality of evidence for the comparisons of oral chloral hydrate against several other methods of sedation was very variable. Oral chloral hydrate appears to have a lower sedation failure rate when compared with oral promethazine for children undergoing paediatric neurodiagnostic procedures. The sedation failure was similar for other comparisons such as oral dexmedetomidine, oral hydroxyzine hydrochloride, and oral midazolam. When compared with intravenous pentobarbital and music therapy, oral chloral hydrate had a higher sedation failure rate. However, it must be noted that the evidence for the outcomes for the comparisons of oral chloral hydrate against intravenous pentobarbital and music therapy was of very low to low quality, therefore the corresponding findings should be interpreted with caution.
Further research should determine the effects of oral chloral hydrate on major clinical outcomes such as successful completion of procedures, requirements for additional sedative agent, and degree of sedation measured using validated scales, which were rarely assessed in the studies included in this review. The safety profile of chloral hydrate should be studied further, especially the risk of major adverse effects such as bradycardia, hypotension, and oxygen desaturation.
Persons with sickle cell disease (SCD) are particularly susceptible to infection. Infants and very young children are especially vulnerable. The ‘Co-operative Study of Sickle Cell Disease’ observed an incidence rate for pneumococcal septicaemia of 10 per 100 person years in children under the age of three years. Vaccines, including customary pneumococcal vaccines, may be of limited use in this age group. Therefore, prophylactic penicillin regimens may be advisable for this population. This is an update of a Cochrane Review first published in 2002, and previously updated, most recently in 2014.
Persistent pulmonary hypertension in the neonate (PPHN) is associated with high mortality. Currently, the therapeutic mainstay for PPHN consists of assisted ventilation and administration of inhaled nitric oxide (iNO). However, nitric oxide is costly, and its use may not be appropriate in resource-poor settings. Approximately 30% of patients fail to respond to iNO. High concentrations of phosphodiesterases in the pulmonary vasculature have led to the use of phosphodiesterase inhibitors such as sildenafil or milrinone.
Conclusions: Sildenafil used for treatment of pulmonary hypertension has potential for reducing mortality and improving oxygenation in neonates, especially in resource-limited settings where iNO is not available.