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Correction: Factors influencing appropriate use of interventions for management of women experiencing preterm birth: A mixed-methods systematic review and narrative synthesis

Gi, 22/09/2022 - 16:00

by Rana Islamiah Zahroh, Alya Hazfiarini, Katherine E. Eddy, Joshua P. Vogel, Ӧzge Tunçalp, Nicole Minckas, Fernando Althabe, Olufemi T. Oladapo, Meghan A. Bohren

Association of injury after prescription opioid initiation with risk for opioid-related adverse events among older Medicare beneficiaries in the United States: A nested case-control study

Gi, 22/09/2022 - 16:00

by Yu-Jung Jenny Wei, Cheng Chen, Ting-Yuan David Cheng, Siegfried O. Schmidt, Roger B. Fillingim, Almut G. Winterstein

Background

Injury, prevalent and potentially associated with prescription opioid use among older adults, has been implicated as a warning sign of serious opioid-related adverse events (ORAEs) including opioid misuse, dependence, and poisoning, but this association has not been empirically tested. The study aims to examine the association between incident injury after prescription opioid initiation and subsequent risk of ORAEs and to assess whether the association differs by recency of injury among older patients.

Methods and findings

This nested case-control study was conducted within a cohort of 126,752 individuals aged 65 years or older selected from a 5% sample of Medicare beneficiaries in the United States between 2011 and 2018. Cohort participants were newly prescribed opioid users with chronic noncancer pain who had no injury or ORAEs in the year before opioid initiation, had 30 days or more of observation, and had at least 1 additional opioid prescription dispensed during follow-up. We identified ORAE cases as patients who had an inpatient or outpatient encounter with diagnosis codes for opioid misuse, dependence, or poisoning. During a mean follow-up of 1.8 years, we identified 2,734 patients who were newly diagnosed with ORAEs and 10,936 controls matched on the year of cohort entry date and a disease risk score (DRS), a summary score derived from the probability of an ORAE outcome based on covariates measured prior to cohort entry and in the absence of injury. Multivariate conditional logistic regression was used to estimate ORAE risk associated with any and recency of injury, defined based on the primary diagnosis code of inpatient and outpatient encounters. Among the cases and controls, 68.0% (n = 1,859 for cases and n = 7,436 for controls) were women and the mean (SD) age was 74.5 (6.9) years. Overall, 54.0% (n = 1,475) of cases and 46.0% (n = 1,259) of controls experienced incident injury after opioid initiation. Patients with (versus without) injury after opioid therapy had higher risk of ORAEs after adjustment for time-varying confounders, including diagnosis of tobacco or alcohol use disorder, drug use disorder, chronic pain diagnosis, mental health disorder, pain-related comorbidities, frailty index, emergency department visit, skilled nursing facility stay, anticonvulsant use, and patterns of prescription opioid use (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.4; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2 to 1.5; P < 0.001). Increased risk of ORAEs was associated with current (≤30 days) injury (aOR = 2.8; 95% CI 2.3 to 3.4; P < 0.001), whereas risk of ORAEs was not significantly associated with recent (31 to 90 days; aOR = 0.93; 95% CI 0.73 to 1.17; P = 0.48), past (91 to 180 days; aOR = 1.08; 95% CI 0.88 to 1.33; P = 0.51), and remote (181 to 365 days; aOR = 0.88; 95% CI 0.73 to 1.1; P = 0.18) injury preceding the incident diagnosis of ORAE or matched date. Patients with injury and prescription opioid use versus those with neither in the month before the ORAE or matched date were at greater risk of ORAEs (aOR = 5.0; 95% CI 4.1 to 6.1; P < 0.001). Major limitations are that the study findings can only be generalized to older Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries and that unknown or unmeasured confounders have the potential to bias the observed association toward or away from the null.

Conclusions

In this study, we observed that incident diagnosis of injury following opioid initiation was associated with subsequent increased risk of ORAEs, and the risk was only significant among patients with injury in the month before the index date. Regular monitoring for injury may help identify older opioid users at high risk for ORAEs.

Childhood body mass index trajectories and associations with adult-onset chronic kidney disease in Denmark: A population-based cohort study

Me, 21/09/2022 - 16:00

by Julie Aarestrup, Kim Blond, Dorte Vistisen, Marit E. Jørgensen, Marie Frimodt-Møller, Britt W. Jensen, Jennifer L. Baker

Background

Although excess adult adiposity is a strong risk factor for chronic kidney disease (CKD), evidence for associations with early life body size is limited. We investigated whether childhood body mass index (BMI) trajectories are associated with adult-onset CKD and end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) using a population-based cohort. Further, we examined the role of adult-onset type 2 diabetes (T2D) in these associations.

Methods and findings

We included 151,506 boys and 148,590 girls from the Copenhagen School Health Records Register, born 1930 to 1987 with information on measured weights and heights at ages 6 to 15 years. Five sex-specific childhood BMI trajectories were analyzed. Information on the main outcomes CKD and ESKD, as well as T2D, came from national health registers. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using Poisson regression adjusted for year of birth. During a median of 30.8 person-years of follow-up, 5,968 men and 3,903 women developed CKD and 977 men and 543 women developed ESKD. For both sexes, the rates of CKD and ESKD increased significantly with higher child BMI trajectories in comparison with the average BMI trajectory (40% to 43% of individuals) and the below-average BMI trajectory (21% to 23% of individuals) had the lowest rates. When including T2D, most associations were significant and men (IRR = 1.39, 95% CI: 1.13 to 1.72) and women (IRR = 1.54, 95% CI: 1.28 to 1.86) with the obese childhood BMI trajectory (2% of individuals) had significantly higher CKD rates than the average BMI trajectory, whereas for ESKD, the associations were positive, but nonsignificant, for men (IRR = 1.38, 95% CI: 0.83 to 2.31) but significant for women (IRR = 1.97, 95% CI: 1.25 to 3.11) with the obese BMI trajectory. A main study limitation is the use of only hospital-based CKD diagnoses.

Conclusions

Individuals with childhood BMI trajectories above average had higher rates of CKD and ESKD than those with an average childhood BMI trajectory. When including T2D, most associations were significant, particularly with CKD, emphasizing the potential information that the early appearance of above-average BMI growth patterns provide in relation to adult-onset CKD beyond the information provided by T2D development.

Exposure to wildfire-related PM<sub>2.5</sub> and site-specific cancer mortality in Brazil from 2010 to 2016: A retrospective study

Lu, 19/09/2022 - 16:00

by Pei Yu, Rongbin Xu, Shanshan Li, Xu Yue, Gongbo Chen, Tingting Ye, Micheline S. Z. S. Coêlho, Paulo H. N. Saldiva, Malcolm R. Sim, Michael J. Abramson, Yuming Guo

Background

Long-term exposure to fine particles ≤2.5 μm in diameter (PM2.5) has been linked to cancer mortality. However, the effect of wildfire-related PM2.5 exposure on cancer mortality risk is unknown. This study evaluates the association between wildfire-related PM2.5 and site-specific cancer mortality in Brazil, from 2010 to 2016.

Methods and findings

Nationwide cancer death records were collected during 2010–2016 from the Brazilian Mortality Information System. Death records were linked with municipal-level wildfire- and non-wildfire-related PM2.5 concentrations, at a resolution of 2.0° latitude by 2.5° longitude. We applied a variant difference-in-differences approach with quasi-Poisson regression, adjusting for seasonal temperature and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the exposure for specific cancer sites were estimated. Attributable fractions and cancer deaths were also calculated. In total, 1,332,526 adult cancer deaths (age ≥ 20 years), from 5,565 Brazilian municipalities, covering 136 million adults were included. The mean annual wildfire-related PM2.5 concentration was 2.38 μg/m3, and the annual non-wildfire-related PM2.5 concentration was 8.20 μg/m3. The RR for mortality from all cancers was 1.02 (95% CI 1.01–1.03, p < 0.001) per 1-μg/m3 increase of wildfire-related PM2.5 concentration, which was higher than the RR per 1-μg/m3 increase of non-wildfire-related PM2.5 (1.01 [95% CI 1.00–1.01], p = 0.007, with p for difference = 0.003). Wildfire-related PM2.5 was associated with mortality from cancers of the nasopharynx (1.10 [95% CI 1.04–1.16], p = 0.002), esophagus (1.05 [95% CI 1.01–1.08], p = 0.012), stomach (1.03 [95% CI 1.01–1.06], p = 0.017), colon/rectum (1.08 [95% CI 1.05–1.11], p < 0.001), larynx (1.06 [95% CI 1.02–1.11], p = 0.003), skin (1.06 [95% CI 1.00–1.12], p = 0.003), breast (1.04 [95% CI 1.01–1.06], p = 0.007), prostate (1.03 [95% CI 1.01–1.06], p = 0.019), and testis (1.10 [95% CI 1.03–1.17], p = 0.002). For all cancers combined, the attributable deaths were 37 per 100,000 population and ranged from 18/100,000 in the Northeast Region of Brazil to 71/100,000 in the Central-West Region. Study limitations included a potential lack of assessment of the joint effects of gaseous pollutants, an inability to capture the migration of residents, and an inability to adjust for some potential confounders.

Conclusions

Exposure to wildfire-related PM2.5 can increase the risks of cancer mortality for many cancer sites, and the effect for wildfire-related PM2.5 was higher than for PM2.5 from non-wildfire sources.

New research on the global prevalence of female genital mutilation/cutting: Research, clinical, and policy implications

Gi, 15/09/2022 - 16:00

by Kerrie Stevenson, Brenda Kelly

In this perspective, Kerrie Stevenson and Brenda Kelly discuss new research on the prevalence of female genital mutilation/cutting alongside clinical and policy implications.

Hospital-treated infections in early- and mid-life and risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: A nationwide nested case-control study in Sweden

Gi, 15/09/2022 - 16:00

by Jiangwei Sun, Jonas F. Ludvigsson, Caroline Ingre, Fredrik Piehl, Karin Wirdefeldt, Ulrika Zagai, Weimin Ye, Fang Fang

Background

Experimental observations have suggested a role of infection in the etiology of neurodegenerative disease. In human studies, however, it is difficult to disentangle whether infection is a risk factor or rather a comorbidity or secondary event of neurodegenerative disease. To this end, we examined the risk of 3 most common neurodegenerative diseases in relation to previous inpatient or outpatient episodes of hospital-treated infections.

Methods and findings

We performed a nested case-control study based on several national registers in Sweden. Cases were individuals newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) during 1970 to 2016 in Sweden, identified from the National Patient Register. For each case, 5 controls individually matched to the case on sex and year of birth were randomly selected from the general population. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) with adjustment for potential confounders, including sex, year of birth, area of residence, educational attainment, family history of neurodegenerative disease, and Charlson comorbidity index. Infections experienced within 5 years before diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease were excluded to reduce the influence of surveillance bias and reverse causation. The analysis included 291,941 AD cases (median age at diagnosis: 76.2 years; male: 46.6%), 103,919 PD cases (74.3; 55.1%), and 10,161 ALS cases (69.3; 56.8%). A hospital-treated infection 5 or more years earlier was associated with an increased risk of AD (OR = 1.16, 95% CI: 1.15 to 1.18, P < 0.001) and PD (OR = 1.04, 95% CI: 1.02 to 1.06, P < 0.001). Similar results were observed for bacterial, viral, and other infections and among different sites of infection including gastrointestinal and genitourinary infections. Multiple infections before age 40 conveyed the greatest risk of AD (OR = 2.62, 95% CI: 2.52 to 2.72, P < 0.001) and PD (OR = 1.41, 95% CI: 1.29 to 1.53, P < 0.001). The associations were primarily due to AD and PD diagnosed before 60 years (OR = 1.93, 95% CI: 1.89 to 1.98 for AD, P < 0.001; OR = 1.29, 95% CI: 1.22 to 1.36 for PD, P < 0.001), whereas no association was found for those diagnosed at 60 years or older (OR = 1.00, 95% CI: 0.98 to 1.01 for AD, P = 0.508; OR = 1.01, 95% CI: 0.99 to 1.03 for PD, P = 0.382). No association was observed for ALS (OR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.92 to 1.03, P = 0.384), regardless of age at diagnosis. Excluding infections experienced within 10 years before diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease confirmed these findings. Study limitations include the potential misclassification of hospital-treated infections and neurodegenerative diseases due to incomplete coverage of the National Patient Register, as well as the residual confounding from unmeasured risk or protective factors for neurodegenerative diseases.

Conclusions

Hospital-treated infections, especially in early- and mid-life, were associated with an increased risk of AD and PD, primarily among AD and PD cases diagnosed before 60 years. These findings suggest that infectious events may be a trigger or amplifier of a preexisting disease process, leading to clinical onset of neurodegenerative disease at a relatively early age. However, due to the observational nature of the study, these results do not formally prove a causal link.

Clinical and programmatic outcomes of HIV-exposed infants enrolled in care at geographically diverse clinics, 1997–2021: A cohort study

Gi, 15/09/2022 - 16:00

by Andrew Edmonds, Ellen Brazier, Beverly S. Musick, Marcel Yotebieng, John Humphrey, Lisa L. Abuogi, Adebola Adedimeji, Olivia Keiser, Malango Msukwa, James G. Carlucci, Marcelle Maia, Jorge A. Pinto, Valériane Leroy, Mary-Ann Davies, Kara K. Wools-Kaloustian, on behalf of IeDEA

Background

Although 1·3 million women with HIV give birth annually, care and outcomes for HIV-exposed infants remain incompletely understood. We analyzed programmatic and health indicators in a large, multidecade global dataset of linked mother–infant records from clinics and programs associated with the International epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) consortium.

Methods and findings

HIV-exposed infants were eligible for this retrospective cohort analysis if enrolled at <18 months at 198 clinics in 10 countries across 5 IeDEA regions: East Africa (EA), Central Africa (CA), West Africa (WA), Southern Africa (SA), and the Caribbean, Central, and South America network (CCASAnet). We estimated cumulative incidences of DNA PCR testing, loss to follow-up (LTFU), HIV diagnosis, and death through 24 months of age using proportional subdistribution hazard models accounting for competing risks. Competing risks were transfer, care withdrawal, and confirmation of negative HIV status, along with LTFU and death, when not the outcome of interest. In CA and EA, we quantified associations between maternal/infant characteristics and each outcome. A total of 82,067 infants (47,300 EA, 10,699 CA, 6,503 WA, 15,770 SA, 1,795 CCASAnet) born from 1997 to 2021 were included. Maternal antiretroviral therapy (ART) use during pregnancy ranged from 65·6% (CCASAnet) to 89·5% (EA), with improvements in all regions over time. Twenty-four-month cumulative incidences varied widely across regions, ranging from 12·3% (95% confidence limit [CL], 11·2%,13·5%) in WA to 94·8% (95% CL, 94·6%,95·1%) in EA for DNA PCR testing; 56·2% (95% CL, 55·2%,57·1%) in EA to 98·5% (95% CL, 98·3%,98·7%) in WA for LTFU; 1·9% (95% CL, 1·6%,2·3%) in WA to 10·3% (95% CL, 9·7%,10·9%) in EA for HIV diagnosis; and 0·5% (95% CL, 0·2%,1·0%) in CCASAnet to 4·7% (95% CL, 4·4%,5·0%) in EA for death. Although infant retention did not improve, HIV diagnosis and death decreased over time, and in EA, the cumulative incidence of HIV diagnosis decreased substantially, declining to 2·9% (95% CL, 1·5%,5·4%) in 2020. Maternal ART was associated with decreased infant mortality (subdistribution hazard ratio [sdHR], 0·65; 95% CL, 0·47,0·91 in EA, and sdHR, 0·51; 95% CL, 0·36,0·74 in CA) and HIV diagnosis (sdHR, 0·40; 95% CL, 0·31,0·50 in EA, and sdHR, 0·41; 95% CL, 0·31,0·54 in CA). Study limitations include potential misclassification of outcomes in real-world service delivery data and possible nonrepresentativeness of IeDEA sites and the population of HIV-exposed infants they serve.

Conclusions

While there was marked regional and temporal heterogeneity in clinical and programmatic outcomes, infant LTFU was high across all regions and time periods. Further efforts are needed to keep HIV-exposed infants in care to receive essential services to reduce HIV infection and mortality.

Continued attendance in a PrEP program despite low adherence and non-protective drug levels among adolescent girls and young women in Kenya: Results from a prospective cohort study

Lu, 12/09/2022 - 16:00

by Jean de Dieu Tapsoba, Jane Cover, Christopher Obong’o, Martha Brady, Tim R. Cressey, Kira Mori, Gordon Okomo, Edward Kariithi, Rael Obanda, Daniel Oluoch Madiang, Ying Qing Chen, Paul Drain, Ann Duerr

Background

In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) ages 15 to 24 years represent <10% of the population yet account for 1 in 5 new HIV infections. Although oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine (TDF/FTC) can be highly effective, low persistence in PrEP programs and poor adherence have limited its ability to reduce HIV incidence among women.

Methods and findings

A total of 336 AGYW participating in the PEPFAR-funded DREAMS PrEP program in western Kenya were enrolled into a study of PrEP use conducted between 6/2019 to 1/2020. AGYW, which used daily oral TDF/FTC, completed interviews and provided dried blood spots (DBS) for measurement of tenofovir-diphosphate (TFV-DP) concentrations at enrollment and 3 months later, and 176/302 (58.3%, 95% confidence interval [95% CI 52.3 to 63.8]) met our definition of PrEP persistence: having expressed intention to use PrEP and attended both the second interview and an interim refill visit. Among AGYW with DBS taken at the second interview, only 9/197 (4.6%, [95% CI 1.6 to 7.5]) had protective TFV-DP levels (≥700 fmol/punch) and 163/197 (82.7%, [95% CI 77.5 to 88]) had levels consistent with no recent PrEP use (<10 fmol/punch). Perception of being at moderate-to-high risk for HIV if not taking PrEP was associated with persistence (adjusted odds ratio, 10.17 [95% CI 5.14 to 20.13], p < 0.001) in a model accounting for county of residence and variables that had p-value <0.1 in unadjusted analysis (age, being in school, initiated PrEP 2 to 3 months before the first interview, still active in DREAMS, having children, having multiple sex partners, partner aware of PrEP use, partner very supportive of PrEP use, partner has other partners, AGYW believes that a partner puts her at risk, male condom use, injectable contraceptive use, and implant contraceptive use). Among AGYW who reported continuing PrEP, >90% indicated they were using PrEP to prevent HIV, although almost all had non-protective TFV-DP levels. Limitations included short study duration and inclusion of only DREAMS participants.

Conclusions

Many AGYW persisted in the PrEP program without taking PrEP frequently enough to receive benefit. Notably, AGYW who persisted had a higher self-perceived risk of HIV infection. These AGYW may be optimal candidates for long-acting PrEP.

Structural factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection risk in an urban slum setting in Salvador, Brazil: A cross-sectional survey

Gi, 08/09/2022 - 16:00

by Mariam O. Fofana, Nivison Nery Jr, Juan P. Aguilar Ticona, Emilia M. M. de Andrade Belitardo, Renato Victoriano, Rôsangela O. Anjos, Moyra M. Portilho, Mayara C. de Santana, Laiara L. dos Santos, Daiana de Oliveira, Jaqueline S. Cruz, M. Catherine Muenker, Ricardo Khouri, Elsio A. Wunder Jr, Matt D. T. Hitchings, Olatunji Johnson, Mitermayer G. Reis, Guilherme S. Ribeiro, Derek A. T. Cummings, Federico Costa, Albert I. Ko

Background

The structural environment of urban slums, including physical, demographic, and socioeconomic attributes, renders inhabitants more vulnerable to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Yet, little is known about the specific determinants that contribute to high transmission within these communities. We therefore aimed to investigate SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in an urban slum in Brazil.

Methods and findings

We performed a cross-sectional serosurvey of an established cohort of 2,041 urban slum residents from the city of Salvador, Brazil between November 2020 and February 2021, following the first Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic wave in the country and during the onset of the second wave. The median age in this population was 29 years (interquartile range [IQR] 16 to 44); most participants reported their ethnicity as Black (51.5%) or Brown (41.7%), and 58.5% were female. The median size of participating households was 3 (IQR 2 to 4), with a median daily per capita income of 2.32 (IQR 0.33–5.15) US Dollars.The main outcome measure was presence of IgG against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. We implemented multilevel models with random intercepts for each household to estimate seroprevalence and associated risk factors, adjusting for the sensitivity and specificity of the assay, and the age and gender distribution of our study population. We identified high seroprevalence (47.9%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 44.2% to 52.1%), particularly among female residents (50.3% [95% CI 46.3% to 54.8%] versus 44.6% [95% CI 40.1% to 49.4%] among male residents, p < 0.01) and among children (54.4% [95% CI 49.6% to 59.3%] versus 45.4% [95% CI 41.5% to 49.7%] among adults, p < 0.01). Adults residing in households with children were more likely to be seropositive (48.6% [95% CI 44.8% to 52.3%] versus 40.7% [95% CI 37.2% to 44.3%], p < 0.01). Women who were unemployed and living below the poverty threshold (daily per capita household income <$1.25) were more likely to be seropositive compared to men with the same employment and income status (53.9% [95% CI 47.0% to 60.6%] versus 32.9% [95% CI 23.2% to 44.3%], p < 0.01). Participation in the study was voluntary, which may limit the generalizability of our findings.

Conclusions

Prior to the peak of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, cumulative incidence as assessed by serology approached 50% in a Brazilian urban slum population. In contrast to observations from industrialized countries, SARS-CoV-2 incidence was highest among children, as well as women living in extreme poverty. These findings emphasize the need for targeted interventions that provide safe environments for children and mitigate the structural risks posed by crowding and poverty for the most vulnerable residents of urban slum communities.

Tighter or less tight glycaemic targets for women with gestational diabetes mellitus for reducing maternal and perinatal morbidity: A stepped-wedge, cluster-randomised trial

Gi, 08/09/2022 - 16:00

by Caroline A. Crowther, Deborah Samuel, Ruth Hughes, Thach Tran, Julie Brown, Jane M. Alsweiler, on behalf of the TARGET Study Group

Background

Treatment for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) aims to reduce maternal hyperglycaemia. The TARGET Trial assessed whether tighter compared with less tight glycaemic control reduced maternal and perinatal morbidity.

Methods and findings

In this stepped-wedge, cluster-randomised trial, identification number ACTRN12615000282583, 10 hospitals in New Zealand were randomised to 1 of 5 implementation dates. The trial was registered before the first participant was enrolled. All hospitals initially used less tight targets (fasting plasma glucose (FPG) <5.5 mmol/L (<99 mg/dL), 1-hour <8.0 mmol/L (<144 mg/dL), 2 hour postprandial <7.0 mmol/L (<126 mg/dL)) and every 4 months, 2 hospitals moved to use tighter targets (FPG ≤5.0 mmol/L (≤90 mg/dL), 1-hour ≤7.4 mmol/L (≤133 mg/dL), 2 hour postprandial ≤6.7 mmol/L) (≤121 mg/dL). Women with GDM, blinded to the targets in use, were eligible. The primary outcome was large for gestational age. Secondary outcomes assessed maternal and infant health. Analyses were by intention to treat. Between May 2015 and November 2017, data were collected from 1,100 women with GDM (1,108 infants); 598 women (602 infants) used the tighter targets and 502 women (506 infants) used the less tight targets. The rate of large for gestational age was similar between the treatment target groups (88/599, 14.7% versus 76/502, 15.1%; adjusted relative risk [adjRR] 0.96, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.66 to 1.40, P = 0.839). The composite serious health outcome for the infant of perinatal death, birth trauma, or shoulder dystocia was apparently reduced in the tighter group when adjusted for gestational age at diagnosis of GDM, BMI, ethnicity, and history of GDM compared with the less tight group (8/599, 1.3% versus 13/505, 2.6%, adjRR 0.23, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.88, P = 0.032). No differences were seen for the other infant secondary outcomes apart from a shorter stay in intensive care (P = 0.041). Secondary outcomes for the woman showed an apparent increase for the composite serious health outcome that included major haemorrhage, coagulopathy, embolism, and obstetric complications in the tighter group (35/595, 5.9% versus 15/501, 3.0%, adjRR 2.29, 95% CI 1.14 to 4.59, P = 0.020). There were no differences between the target groups in the risk for pre-eclampsia, induction of labour, or cesarean birth, but more women using tighter targets required pharmacological treatment (404/595, 67.9% versus 293/501, 58.5%, adjRR 1.20, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.44, P = 0.047). The main study limitation is that the treatment targets used may vary to those in use in some countries.

Conclusions

Tighter glycaemic targets in women with GDM compared to less tight targets did not reduce the risk of a large for gestational age infant, but did reduce serious infant morbidity, although serious maternal morbidity was increased. These findings can be used to aid decisions on the glycaemic targets women with GDM should use.

Trial registration

The Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR). ACTRN12615000282583.

Time to end parachute science

Ma, 06/09/2022 - 16:00

by Beryne Odeny, Raffaella Bosurgi

Associations between insomnia and pregnancy and perinatal outcomes: Evidence from mendelian randomization and multivariable regression analyses

Ma, 06/09/2022 - 16:00

by Qian Yang, Maria Carolina Borges, Eleanor Sanderson, Maria C. Magnus, Fanny Kilpi, Paul J. Collings, Ana Luiza Soares, Jane West, Per Magnus, John Wright, Siri E. Håberg, Kate Tilling, Deborah A. Lawlor

Background

Insomnia is common and associated with adverse pregnancy and perinatal outcomes in observational studies. However, those associations could be vulnerable to residual confounding or reverse causality. Our aim was to estimate the association of insomnia with stillbirth, miscarriage, gestational diabetes (GD), hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP), perinatal depression, preterm birth (PTB), and low/high offspring birthweight (LBW/HBW).

Methods and findings

We used 2-sample mendelian randomization (MR) with 81 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) instrumenting for a lifelong predisposition to insomnia. Our outcomes included ever experiencing stillbirth, ever experiencing miscarriage, GD, HDP, perinatal depression, PTB (gestational age <37 completed weeks), LBW (<2,500 grams), and HBW (>4,500 grams). We used data from women of European descent (N = 356,069, mean ages at delivery 25.5 to 30.0 years) from UK Biobank (UKB), FinnGen, Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), Born in Bradford (BiB), and the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort (MoBa). Main MR analyses used inverse variance weighting (IVW), with weighted median and MR-Egger as sensitivity analyses. We compared MR estimates with multivariable regression of insomnia in pregnancy on outcomes in ALSPAC (N = 11,745). IVW showed evidence of an association of genetic susceptibility to insomnia with miscarriage (odds ratio (OR): 1.60, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.18, 2.17, p = 0.002), perinatal depression (OR 3.56, 95% CI: 1.49, 8.54, p = 0.004), and LBW (OR 3.17, 95% CI: 1.69, 5.96, p < 0.001). IVW results did not support associations of insomnia with stillbirth, GD, HDP, PTB, and HBW, with wide CIs including the null. Associations of genetic susceptibility to insomnia with miscarriage, perinatal depression, and LBW were not observed in weighted median or MR-Egger analyses. Results from these sensitivity analyses were directionally consistent with IVW results for all outcomes, with the exception of GD, perinatal depression, and PTB in MR-Egger. Multivariable regression showed associations of insomnia at 18 weeks of gestation with perinatal depression (OR 2.96, 95% CI: 2.42, 3.63, p < 0.001), but not with LBW (OR 0.92, 95% CI: 0.69, 1.24, p = 0.60). Multivariable regression with miscarriage and stillbirth was not possible due to small numbers in index pregnancies. Key limitations are potential horizontal pleiotropy (particularly for perinatal depression) and low statistical power in MR, and residual confounding in multivariable regression.

Conclusions

In this study, we observed some evidence in support of a possible causal relationship between genetically predicted insomnia and miscarriage, perinatal depression, and LBW. Our study also found observational evidence in support of an association between insomnia in pregnancy and perinatal depression, with no clear multivariable evidence of an association with LBW. Our findings highlight the importance of healthy sleep in women of reproductive age, though replication in larger studies, including with genetic instruments specific to insomnia in pregnancy are important.

Correction: Obesity and risk of female reproductive conditions: A Mendelian randomisation study

Ve, 02/09/2022 - 16:00

by Samvida S. Venkatesh, Teresa Ferreira, Stefania Benonisdottir, Nilufer Rahmioglu, Christian M. Becker, Ingrid Granne, Krina T. Zondervan, Michael V. Holmes, Cecilia M. Lindgren, Laura B. L. Wittemans

Burden of malaria in pregnancy among adolescent girls compared to adult women in 5 sub-Saharan African countries: A secondary individual participant data meta-analysis of 2 clinical trials

Ve, 02/09/2022 - 16:00

by Clara Pons-Duran, Ghyslain Mombo-Ngoma, Eusebio Macete, Meghna Desai, Mwaka A. Kakolwa, Rella Zoleko-Manego, Smaïla Ouédragou, Valérie Briand, Anifa Valá, Abdunoor M. Kabanywanyi, Peter Ouma, Achille Massougbodji, Esperança Sevene, Michel Cot, John J. Aponte, Alfredo Mayor, Laurence Slutsker, Michael Ramharter, Clara Menéndez, Raquel González

Background

Malaria is among the top causes of death in adolescent girls (10 to 19 years) globally. Adolescent motherhood is associated with increased risk of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes. The interaction of malaria, adolescence, and pregnancy is especially relevant in malaria endemic areas, where rates of adolescent pregnancy are high. However, data on burden of malaria among adolescent girls are limited. This study aimed at investigating whether adolescent girls were at a greater risk of experiencing malaria-related outcomes in pregnancy—parasitaemia and clinical disease—than adult women.

Methods and findings

An individual secondary participant-level meta-analysis was conducted using data from 5,804 pregnant women participating in 2 malaria prevention clinical trials in Benin, Gabon, Kenya, Mozambique, and Tanzania between 2009 and 2014. Of the sample, 1,201 participants were adolescent girls with a mean age of 17.5 years (standard deviation (SD) 1.3) and 886 (73.8%) of them primigravidae. Among the 4,603 adult women with mean age of 27.0 years (SD 5.4), 595 (12.9%) were primigravidae. Mean gestational age at enrolment was 20.2 weeks (SD 5.2) and 1,069 (18.4%) participants were HIV-infected. Women were followed monthly until the postpartum visit (1 month to 6 weeks after delivery). This study considered outcomes including clinical episodes during pregnancy, peripheral parasitaemia at delivery, and placental malaria. A 2-stage meta-analysis approach was followed by pooling single multivariable regression results into standard DerSimonian–Laird random-effects models. Adolescent girls were more likely than adult women to present with clinical malaria during pregnancy (incidence risk ratio (IRR) 1.70, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.20; 2.39, p-value = 0.003, I2 = 0.0%, N = 4,092), peripheral parasitaemia at delivery (odds ratio (OR) 2.28, 95% CI 1.46; 3.55, p-value < 0.001, I2 = 0.0%, N = 3,977), and placental infection (OR 1.97, 95% CI 1.31; 2.98, p-value = 0.001, I2 = 1.4%, N = 4,797). Similar associations were observed among the subgroup of HIV-uninfected participants: IRR 1.72 (95% CI 1.22; 2.45, p-value = 0.002, I2 = 0.0%, N = 3,531) for clinical malaria episodes, OR 2.39 (95% CI 1.49; 3.86, p-value < 0.001, I2 = 0.0%, N = 3,053) for peripheral parasitaemia, and OR 1.88 (95% CI 1.06 to 3.33, p-value = 0.03, I2 = 34.9%, N = 3,847) for placental malaria. Among HIV-infected subgroups statistically significant associations were not observed. Similar associations were found in the subgroup analysis by gravidity. The small sample size and outcome prevalence in specific countries limited the inclusion of some countries in the meta-analysis. Furthermore, peripheral parasitaemia and placental malaria presented a considerable level of missing data—12.6% and 18.2% of participants had missing data on those outcomes, respectively. Given the original scope of the clinical trials, asymptomatic malaria infection was only assessed at the end of pregnancy through peripheral and placental parasitaemia.

Conclusions

In this study, we observed that adolescent girls in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are more prone to experience clinical malaria episodes during pregnancy and have peripheral malaria and placental infection at delivery than adult women. Moreover, to the best of our knowledge, for the first time this study disaggregates figures and stratifies analyses by HIV infection. Similar associations were found for both HIV-infected and uninfected women, although those for HIV-infected participants were not statistically significant. Our finding suggests that adolescent girls may benefit from targeted malaria prevention strategies even before they become pregnant.

Cancer in children born after frozen-thawed embryo transfer: A cohort study

Gi, 01/09/2022 - 16:00

by Nona Sargisian, Birgitta Lannering, Max Petzold, Signe Opdahl, Mika Gissler, Anja Pinborg, Anna-Karina Aaris Henningsen, Aila Tiitinen, Liv Bente Romundstad, Anne Lærke Spangmose, Christina Bergh, Ulla-Britt Wennerholm

Background

The aim was to investigate whether children born after assisted reproduction technology (ART), particularly after frozen-thawed embryo transfer (FET), are at higher risk of childhood cancer than children born after fresh embryo transfer and spontaneous conception.

Methods and findings

We performed a registry-based cohort study using data from the 4 Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. The study included 7,944,248 children, out of whom 171,774 children were born after use of ART (2.2%) and 7,772,474 children were born after spontaneous conception, representing all children born between the years 1994 to 2014 in Denmark, 1990 to 2014 in Finland, 1984 to 2015 in Norway, and 1985 to 2015 in Sweden. Rates for any cancer and specific cancer groups in children born after each conception method were determined by cross-linking national ART registry data with national cancer and health data registries and population registries. We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate the risk of any cancer, with age as the time scale.After a mean follow-up of 9.9 and 12.5 years, the incidence rate (IR) of cancer before age 18 years was 19.3/100,000 person-years for children born after ART (329 cases) and 16.7/100,000 person-years for children born after spontaneous conception (16,184 cases). Adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) was 1.08, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.96 to 1.21, p = 0.18. Adjustment was performed for sex, plurality, year of birth, country of birth, maternal age at birth, and parity. Children born after FET had a higher risk of cancer (48 cases; IR 30.1/100,000 person-years) compared to both fresh embryo transfer (IR 18.8/100,000 person-years), aHR 1.59, 95% CI 1.15 to 2.20, p = 0.005, and spontaneous conception, aHR 1.65, 95% CI 1.24 to 2.19, p = 0.001. Adjustment either for macrosomia, birth weight, or major birth defects attenuated the association marginally. Higher risks of epithelial tumors and melanoma after any assisted reproductive method and of leukemia after FET were observed.The main limitation of this study is the small number of children with cancer in the FET group.

Conclusions

Children born after FET had a higher risk of childhood cancer than children born after fresh embryo transfer and spontaneous conception. The results should be interpreted cautiously based on the small number of children with cancer, but the findings raise concerns considering the increasing use of FET, in particular freeze-all strategies without clear medical indications.

Trial registration

Trial registration number: ISRCTN 11780826.

The global prevalence of female genital mutilation/cutting: A systematic review and meta-analysis of national, regional, facility, and school-based studies

Gi, 01/09/2022 - 16:00

by Leen Farouki, Zeinab El-Dirani, Sawsan Abdulrahim, Christelle Akl, Chaza Akik, Stephen J. McCall

Background

Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is a nonmedical procedure entailing the modification of the external female genitalia. A description of the prevalence and distribution of FGM/C allows the tracking of progress toward ending FGM/C by 2030 (Sustainable Development Goal (SDG): target 5.3). This systematic review aimed to examine FGM/C prevalence and types, by World Health Organization (WHO) region and country.

Methods and findings

A systematic search using Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and keywords from 2009 to March 24, 2022 was undertaken in MEDLINE, PubMED, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and Embase to identify studies presenting FGM/C prevalence. Abstract and full-text screening, quality assessment, and data extraction were undertaken by 2 reviewers. Only nationally representative studies were included in the meta-analysis. Pooled FGM/C prevalence was estimated by random-effects meta-analysis using generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs). FGM/C prevalence with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), prediction intervals (PIs), and FGM/C type were presented separately by women aged 15 to 49 years and girls aged 0 to 14 years.A total of 163 studies met the inclusion criteria and 30 were included in the meta-analysis, of which 23 were from the WHO African Region (AFR), 6 from the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), and 1 from the South East Asian Region (SEAR). These studies included data from 406,068 women across 30 countries and 296,267 girls across 25 countries; the pooled prevalence estimate of FGM/C among women aged 15 to 49 years was 36.9% (95% CI: 19.6% to 58.3%; PI: 0.4% to 99.0%), and 8.27% (95% CI: 3.7% to 17.3%; PI: 0.1% to 89.3%) among girls aged 0 to 14 years. Among included countries, this gave a total estimated prevalence of 84,650,032 women (95% CI: 45,009,041 to 133,834,224) and 13,734,845 girls with FGM/C (95% CI: 6,211,405 to 28,731,901). Somalia had the highest FGM/C prevalence among women (99.2%), and Mali had the highest among girls (72.7%). The most common type of FGM/C among women was “flesh removed” (Type I or II) in 19 countries. Among girls, “not sewn closed” (Type I, II, or IV) and “flesh removed” (Type I or II) were the most common types in 8 countries, respectively. Among repeated nationally representative studies, FGM/C decreased for both women and girls in 26 countries. The main limitation of the study methodology is that estimates were based on available published data, which may not reflect the actual global prevalence of FGM/C.

Conclusions

In this study, we observed large variation in FGM/C prevalence between countries, and the prevalence appears to be declining in many countries, which is encouraging as it minimizes physical and physiological harm for a future generation of women. This prevalence estimate is lower than the actual global prevalence of FGM/C due to data gaps, noncomparable denominators, and unavailable surveys. Yet, considerable policy and community-level interventions are required in many countries to meet the SDG target 5.3.

Trial registration

Registration: CRD42020186937.

Vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 hospitalization with the Alpha, Delta, or Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant: A nationwide Danish cohort study

Gi, 01/09/2022 - 16:00

by Mie Agermose Gram, Hanne-Dorthe Emborg, Astrid Blicher Schelde, Nikolaj Ulrik Friis, Katrine Finderup Nielsen, Ida Rask Moustsen-Helms, Rebecca Legarth, Janni Uyen Hoa Lam, Manon Chaine, Aisha Zahoor Malik, Morten Rasmussen, Jannik Fonager, Raphael Niklaus Sieber, Marc Stegger, Steen Ethelberg, Palle Valentiner-Branth, Christian Holm Hansen

Background

The continued occurrence of more contagious Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants and waning immunity over time require ongoing reevaluation of the vaccine effectiveness (VE). This study aimed to estimate the effectiveness in 2 age groups (12 to 59 and 60 years or above) of 2 or 3 vaccine doses (BNT162b2 mRNA or mRNA-1273) by time since vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 infection and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) hospitalization in an Alpha-, Delta-, or Omicron-dominated period.

Methods and findings

A Danish nationwide cohort study design was used to estimate VE against SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 hospitalization with the Alpha, Delta, or Omicron variant. Information was obtained from nationwide registries and linked using a unique personal identification number. The study included all previously uninfected residents in Denmark aged 12 years or above (18 years or above for the analysis of 3 doses) in the Alpha (February 20 to June 15, 2021), Delta (July 4 to November 20, 2021), and Omicron (December 21, 2021 to January 31, 2022) dominated periods. VE estimates including 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated (1-hazard ratio∙100) using Cox proportional hazard regression models with underlying calendar time and adjustments for age, sex, comorbidity, and geographical region. Vaccination status was included as a time-varying exposure. In the oldest age group, VE against infection after 2 doses was 90.7% (95% CI: 88.2; 92.7) for the Alpha variant, 82.3% (95% CI: 75.5; 87.2) for the Delta variant, and 39.9% (95% CI: 26.3; 50.9) for the Omicron variant 14 to 30 days since vaccination. The VE waned over time and was 73.2% (Alpha, 95% CI: 57.1; 83.3), 50.0% (Delta, 95% CI: 46.7; 53.0), and 4.4% (Omicron, 95% CI: −0.1; 8.7) >120 days since vaccination. Higher estimates were observed after the third dose with VE estimates against infection of 86.1% (Delta, 95% CI: 83.3; 88.4) and 57.7% (Omicron, 95% CI: 55.9; 59.5) 14 to 30 days since vaccination. Among both age groups, VE against COVID-19 hospitalization 14 to 30 days since vaccination with 2 or 3 doses was 98.1% or above for the Alpha and Delta variants. Among both age groups, VE against COVID-19 hospitalization 14 to 30 days since vaccination with 2 or 3 doses was 95.5% or above for the Omicron variant. The main limitation of this study is the nonrandomized study design including potential differences between the unvaccinated (reference group) and vaccinated individuals.

Conclusions

Two vaccine doses provided high protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 hospitalization with the Alpha and Delta variants with protection, notably against infection, waning over time. Two vaccine doses provided only limited and short-lived protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection with Omicron. However, the protection against COVID-19 hospitalization following Omicron SARS-CoV-2 infection was higher. The third vaccine dose substantially increased the level and duration of protection against infection with the Omicron variant and provided a high level of sustained protection against COVID-19 hospitalization among the +60-year-olds.

Healthcare utilization and maternal and child mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic in 18 low- and middle-income countries: An interrupted time-series analysis with mathematical modeling of administrative data

Ma, 30/08/2022 - 16:00

by Tashrik Ahmed, Timothy Roberton, Petra Vergeer, Peter M. Hansen, Michael A. Peters, Anthony Adofo Ofosu, Charles Mwansambo, Charles Nzelu, Chea Sanford Wesseh, Francis Smart, Jean Patrick Alfred, Mamoutou Diabate, Martina Baye, Mohamed Lamine Yansane, Naod Wendrad, Nur Ali Mohamud, Paul Mbaka, Sylvain Yuma, Youssoupha Ndiaye, Husnia Sadat, Helal Uddin, Helen Kiarie, Raharison Tsihory, George Mwinnyaa, Jean de Dieu Rusatira, Pablo Amor Fernandez, Pierre Muhoza, Prativa Baral, Salomé Drouard, Tawab Hashemi, Jed Friedman, Gil Shapira

Background

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had wide-reaching direct and indirect impacts on population health. In low- and middle-income countries, these impacts can halt progress toward reducing maternal and child mortality. This study estimates changes in health services utilization during the pandemic and the associated consequences for maternal, neonatal, and child mortality.

Methods and findings

Data on service utilization from January 2018 to June 2021 were extracted from health management information systems of 18 low- and lower-middle-income countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, and Uganda). An interrupted time-series design was used to estimate the percent change in the volumes of outpatient consultations and maternal and child health services delivered during the pandemic compared to projected volumes based on prepandemic trends. The Lives Saved Tool mathematical model was used to project the impact of the service utilization disruptions on child and maternal mortality. In addition, the estimated monthly disruptions were also correlated to the monthly number of COVID-19 deaths officially reported, time since the start of the pandemic, and relative severity of mobility restrictions. Across the 18 countries, we estimate an average decline in OPD volume of 13.1% and average declines of 2.6% to 4.6% for maternal and child services. We projected that decreases in essential health service utilization between March 2020 and June 2021 were associated with 113,962 excess deaths (110,686 children under 5, and 3,276 mothers), representing 3.6% and 1.5% increases in child and maternal mortality, respectively. This excess mortality is associated with the decline in utilization of the essential health services included in the analysis, but the utilization shortfalls vary substantially between countries, health services, and over time. The largest disruptions, associated with 27.5% of the excess deaths, occurred during the second quarter of 2020, regardless of whether countries reported the highest rate of COVID-19-related mortality during the same months. There is a significant relationship between the magnitude of service disruptions and the stringency of mobility restrictions. The study is limited by the extent to which administrative data, which varies in quality across countries, can accurately capture the changes in service coverage in the population.

Conclusions

Declines in healthcare utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic amplified the pandemic’s harmful impacts on health outcomes and threaten to reverse gains in reducing maternal and child mortality. As efforts and resource allocation toward prevention and treatment of COVID-19 continue, essential health services must be maintained, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

Quantifying inequities in COVID-19 vaccine distribution over time by social vulnerability, race and ethnicity, and location: A population-level analysis in St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri

Ve, 26/08/2022 - 16:00

by Aaloke Mody, Cory Bradley, Salil Redkar, Branson Fox, Ingrid Eshun-Wilson, Matifadza G. Hlatshwayo, Anne Trolard, Khai Hoan Tram, Lindsey M. Filiatreau, Franda Thomas, Matt Haslam, George Turabelidze, Vetta Sanders-Thompson, William G. Powderly, Elvin H. Geng

Background

Equity in vaccination coverage is a cornerstone for a successful public health response to COVID-19. To deepen understanding of the extent to which vaccination coverage compares with initial strategies for equitable vaccination, we explore primary vaccine series and booster rollout over time and by race/ethnicity, social vulnerability, and geography.

Methods and findings

We analyzed data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on all COVID-19 vaccinations administered across 7 counties in the St. Louis region and 4 counties in the Kansas City region. We compared rates of receiving the primary COVID-19 vaccine series and boosters relative to time, race/ethnicity, zip-code-level Social Vulnerability Index (SVI), vaccine location type, and COVID-19 disease burden. We adapted a well-established tool for measuring inequity—the Lorenz curve—to quantify inequities in COVID-19 vaccination relative to these key metrics. Between 15 December 2020 and 15 February 2022, 1,763,036 individuals completed the primary series and 872,324 received a booster. During early phases of the primary series rollout, Black and Hispanic individuals from high SVI zip codes were vaccinated at less than half the rate of White individuals from low SVI zip codes, but rates increased over time until they were higher than rates in White individuals after June 2021; Asian individuals maintained high levels of vaccination throughout. Increasing vaccination rates in Black and Hispanic communities corresponded with periods when more vaccinations were offered at small community-based sites such as pharmacies rather than larger health systems and mass vaccination sites. Using Lorenz curves, zip codes in the quartile with the lowest rates of primary series completion accounted for 19.3%, 18.1%, 10.8%, and 8.8% of vaccinations while representing 25% of the total population, cases, deaths, or population-level SVI, respectively. When tracking Gini coefficients, these disparities were greatest earlier during rollout, but improvements were slow and modest and vaccine disparities remained across all metrics even after 1 year. Patterns of disparities for boosters were similar but often of much greater magnitude during rollout in fall 2021. Study limitations include inherent limitations in the vaccine registry dataset such as missing and misclassified race/ethnicity and zip code variables and potential changes in zip code population sizes since census enumeration.

Conclusions

Inequities in the initial COVID-19 vaccination and booster rollout in 2 large US metropolitan areas were apparent across racial/ethnic communities, across levels of social vulnerability, over time, and across types of vaccination administration sites. Disparities in receipt of the primary vaccine series attenuated over time during a period in which sites of vaccination administration diversified, but were recapitulated during booster rollout. These findings highlight how public health strategies from the outset must directly target these deeply embedded structural and systemic determinants of disparities and track equity metrics over time to avoid perpetuating inequities in healthcare access.

Presentations of children to emergency departments across Europe and the COVID-19 pandemic: A multinational observational study

Ve, 26/08/2022 - 16:00

by Ruud G. Nijman, Kate Honeyford, Ruth Farrugia, Katy Rose, Zsolt Bognar, Danilo Buonsenso, Liviana Da Dalt, Tisham De, Ian K. Maconochie, Niccolo Parri, Damian Roland, Tobias Alfven, Camille Aupiais, Michael Barrett, Romain Basmaci, Dorine Borensztajn, Susana Castanhinha, Corinne Vasilico, Sheena Durnin, Paddy Fitzpatrick, Laszlo Fodor, Borja Gomez, Susanne Greber-Platzer, Romain Guedj, Stuart Hartshorn, Florian Hey, Lina Jankauskaite, Daniela Kohlfuerst, Mojca Kolnik, Mark D. Lyttle, Patrícia Mação, Maria Inês Mascarenhas, Shrouk Messahel, Esra Akyüz Özkan, Zanda Pučuka, Sofia Reis, Alexis Rybak, Malin Ryd Rinder, Ozlem Teksam, Caner Turan, Valtýr Stefánsson Thors, Roberto Velasco, Silvia Bressan, Henriette A. Moll, Rianne Oostenbrink, Luigi Titomanlio, in association with the REPEM network (Research in European Pediatric Emergency Medicine) as part of the EPISODES study group

Background

During the initial phase of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, reduced numbers of acutely ill or injured children presented to emergency departments (EDs). Concerns were raised about the potential for delayed and more severe presentations and an increase in diagnoses such as diabetic ketoacidosis and mental health issues. This multinational observational study aimed to study the number of children presenting to EDs across Europe during the early COVID-19 pandemic and factors influencing this and to investigate changes in severity of illness and diagnoses.

Methods and findings

Routine health data were extracted retrospectively from electronic patient records of children aged 18 years and under, presenting to 38 EDs in 16 European countries for the period January 2018 to May 2020, using predefined and standardized data domains. Observed and predicted numbers of ED attendances were calculated for the period February 2020 to May 2020. Poisson models and incidence rate ratios (IRRs), using predicted counts for each site as offset to adjust for case-mix differences, were used to compare age groups, diagnoses, and outcomes.Reductions in pediatric ED attendances, hospital admissions, and high triage urgencies were seen in all participating sites. ED attendances were relatively higher in countries with lower SARS-CoV-2 prevalence (IRR 2.26, 95% CI 1.90 to 2.70, p < 0.001) and in children aged <12 months (12 to <24 months IRR 0.86, 95% CI 0.84 to 0.89; 2 to <5 years IRR 0.80, 95% CI 0.78 to 0.82; 5 to <12 years IRR 0.68, 95% CI 0.67 to 0.70; 12 to 18 years IRR 0.72, 95% CI 0.70 to 0.74; versus age <12 months as reference group, p < 0.001). The lowering of pediatric intensive care admissions was not as great as that of general admissions (IRR 1.30, 95% CI 1.16 to 1.45, p < 0.001). Lower triage urgencies were reduced more than higher triage urgencies (urgent triage IRR 1.10, 95% CI 1.08 to 1.12; emergent and very urgent triage IRR 1.53, 95% CI 1.49 to 1.57; versus nonurgent triage category, p < 0.001). Reductions were highest and sustained throughout the study period for children with communicable infectious diseases. The main limitation was the retrospective nature of the study, using routine clinical data from a wide range of European hospitals and health systems.

Conclusions

Reductions in ED attendances were seen across Europe during the first COVID-19 lockdown period. More severely ill children continued to attend hospital more frequently compared to those with minor injuries and illnesses, although absolute numbers fell.

Trial registration

ISRCTN91495258 https://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN91495258.