92 e-Letters

published between 2014 and 2017

  • Hemoglobin discordances in twins: Still unanswered!!!

    We read with great interest the article by Lianne Verbeek et al, published in this journal and found the results impressive however we didn’t agree with the conclusion drawn by the author.[1] In present study authors concluded that delayed cord clamping may not be advisable in second-born monochorionic twins after vaginal birth due to polycythemia and associated complications. We don’t agree with the authors in this regard. In this study there was no difference in symptomatic polycythemia, need for the partial exchange or mortality. There is no mention about hypoglycemia and jaundice in the study population. American heart association guidelines for neonatal resuscitation[2] recommends delayed cord clamping (DCC) for all preterms who didn’t require resuscitation in view of their potential benefits (decreased mortality, higher blood pressure and blood volume, less need for postnatal blood transfusion, less intraventricular hemorrhages and less risk of necrotizing enterocolitis) which outweighs minor possible complications (increased risks of polycythemia and jaundice). We suggest that till there is enough evidence to change practice we should follow DCC for first as well as second order twin in preterm as well as term babies.
    Despite so many studies[1,3,4] on this issue, we are still at the stage of hypothesis only. For better understanding, there is need of large prospective study which keeps a record of the timing of cord clamping to accept/ refute the hypothesis an...

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  • High flow nasal cannula versus NCPAP: No difference in time to full oral feeds

    We read with great interest the article by Sinead J Glackin et al, published in this journal and found the results impressive.[1]. However, we have certain observations about the conduct of the study.
    Even though it was a randomized controlled trial and authors mentioned that oral feeds were offered in both groups at least once every 72 hours and additional feeds were offered when neonates demonstrated feeding cues but they didn’t mention about the exact feeding schedule like frequency of oral feeding, volume per feed and rate of hike of feeds in each group. This bears an important implication on the primary outcome as well as the external validity of the study. If there is no well-defined policy then there will be individualization of practice and lot of bias in the study despite randomization. It’s also worth emphasizing here that the authors should have mentioned about the local guidelines practiced for feed hiking and definition of feed intolerance, for the sake of external validity.
    Despite being eligible and in a trial authors could give first oral feed 9-10 days after the enrollment. The reason for the delay of initiation of oral feeds for so many days despite eligibility is not very clear. Even in a randomized trail when we fail to initiate oral feeds before 33-34 weeks of corrected gestational age, it will not be feasible in routine practice. So, before using these results in clinical practice we should have strong evidence for the age of initiation of...

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  • Re: Haemoglobin discordances in twins: is "really" due to differences in timing of cord clamping? A consideration to Verbeek L and co-authors

    We thank Dr. de Carolis and co-authors for their interest in our study on hemoglobin (Hb) level differences at birth in uncomplicated monochorionic and dichorionic twins. We found that second-born monochorionic and dichorionic twins have higher Hb levels at birth compared to first-born twins when delivered vaginally. Since Hb differences at birth are also present in dichorionic twins, we hypothesized that Hb differences might be due to differences in timing of cord clamping, rather than placental vascular anastomoses.

    Several studies demonstrated that delayed cord clamping is associated with higher Hb levels at birth compared to early cord clamping[1], the physiological mechanism is not well understood. Although we agree that other factors may influence Hb levels during delayed cord clamping at birth, the effect of uterine contractions may be not as clear-cut as dr. de Carolis and co-authors suggest. It has been suggested that uterine contractions influence placento-fetal transfusion. However, Westgate et al. found that uterine contractions primarily cause a pressure-induced, differential reduction in flow in both vessels as well as a reduction in uterine flow.[2] This was also observed in lambs, where oxytocin-induced contractions led to a cessation of the umbilical venous flow and the flow in the umbilical artery was greatly reduced resulting in retrograde flow during diastole.[3]

    Reference List

    1. McDonald SJ, Middleton P, Dowswell T, Morris PS: Eff...

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  • Implementation of an automated oxygen Control system- Are we ready?

    We read with great interest the article by Van Zanten HA et al., published in this journal and found the results impressive.[1] However, we have certain observations about the conduct of the study
    Even though the authors state that this report was part of a quality improvement initiative in their NICU, the authors have neither reported the results in the format suitable for a quality improvement study nor have clearly stated the design; at the end of introduction they seem to mention that this was a retrospective data analysis; whereas, in the first line of the methods they state the design as a prospective observational study. Even though the automatic oxygen controller group would not have been affected much by any one of the design, the impact would have been in the manual group, keeping especially the training of the NICU staff in mind. It’s also worth emphasizing here that the authors mention about the local guidelines practiced for manual titration of supplemental oxygen based on the saturations, for the sake of external validity.[2]
    Minute wise data points used in this study may have significantly underestimated the hypoxemic episodes and thereby the proportion of times an infant remained in the ‘below target range’ saturations. In a logical sense, manual titration would have happened sooner than expected for a hypoxemic event and hence would not have been captured if more frequent data points are not considered. Using the same technology and a lesser in...

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  • congenital depression of skull

    I read with interest your article on spontaneous ping pong parietal fracture in newborns with impressive color images .The word 'fracture' can be quite traumatic to the parents and should avaoided if there is no radiological evidence of break in the cortex 1. It should then just be labelled as depression of skull bone without a fracture rather than labelling as DCF( depressed calvarial fracture) as mentioned in your article .You have also clearly demonstrated in your 3D CT image also that there was no break but only invagination of parietal bone .The management would also not change whether the depression is with or without fracture .
    References -
    Tayeh,et al.BMJCase Rep2016.doi:1136/bcr-2016-215437

  • Implementation of an automated oxygen Control system- Are we ready?

    We read with great interest the article by Van Zanten HA et al., published in this journal and found it very useful.1 The author rightly stated that the results reflect the real situation as data were collected for the duration infants were admitted, while nurses taking care of them and where workload varied. It will be very relevant for developing countries where nurse patient ratio is poor. But; at the same time would like to offer following comments, clarification to which would benefit the readers of this journal and will help in replication of these results in different settings also.
    It is not very clear whether it was a prospective study or retrospective. In Introduction section, in the end, the author mentioned that we performed a retrospective study in preterm infants to evaluate automated fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) control when it was used as standard care and thus for a longer period. While in “Methods” section it is mentioned that it was a prospective observational study. These contradictory statements create confusion to the reader.
    The author mentioned that during the manual period, the nurses manually titrated the supplemental oxygen following local guidelines. However; these guidelines are not given in the current paper. It would be better if clear guidelines would have been described like other studies to improve the external validity and generalizability.2
    In the present study, FiO2 and pulse oximeter saturation (SpO2) were sa...

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  • Letter to editor

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    We read with great interest the article by Sanghvi et al1 titled “Sanghvi KP, Kabra NS, Padhi P, Singh U, Dash SK, Avasthi BS. Prophylactic propranolol for prevention of ROP and visual outcome at 1 year (PreROP trial). Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2017 Jan 13. pii: fetalneonatal-2016-311548. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2016-311548. [Epub ahead of print]” published in your journal which concluded that prophylactic propranolol in the prescribed dose of 1 mg/kg/day showed a decreasing trend in all outcomes of ROP though statistically not significant. We appreciate that it was a double blinded study which tried to see the effect of propranolol prophylaxis on ROP prevention in lower doses without any serious adverse events.

    This trial was need based and addressed a very important and clinically relevant issue. However, we would like to address a few important concerns which came to our notice while reading through the article.

    The authors state that the analysis was planned according to intention to treat(ITT) analysis, but if we see the final analysis in flow diagram, the babies which were lost to follow up are not included in the analysis. Thus, it is not a ITT but a per protocol analysis.2

    The babies received study drug till 37 weeks or till complete vasularization of retina. Were blood dextrose levels monitored till this time? If the response is yes, then this would expose these tiny neonates to unnecessary daily pricks and pa...

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  • Re: Logistic regression equation and (co)variance matrix for estimating developmental outcome in very preterm infants

    Dear Dr. Degraeuwe,

    We thank you very much for your question and we would appreciate having the opportunity to share the full results of the regression analyses for our 3 outcomes: neurodevelopmental impairment, significant neurodevelopmental impairment and significant neurodevelopmental impairment or death. The omission of this information was due solely to the manuscript restrictions on words and tables. We agree with you that this information is useful. As we are not able to provide tables in an e-letter, we would be happy to share this information via e-mail with any interested reader.


    Anne Synnes, MDCM, MHSC, FRCPC
    Neonatologist, BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre,
    Clinical Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia
    Director, Canadian Neonatal Follow-Up Network
    Vancouver, Canada

  • Haemoglobin discordances in twins: is "really" due to differences in timing of cord clamping? A consideration to Verbeek L and co-authors
    Maria Pia De Carolis

    Dear Editor, We read with interest the article by Verbeek L. et al [1], showing that the second-born twin has higher levels of hemoglobin (Hb) than first-born co-twins after vaginal delivery (VD; Hb differential effect does not occur in twins delivered by Caesarean section. Since Hb difference is present in both uncomplicated monochorionic (MC) and dichorionic (DC) twin pairs, authors focused on the time difference of umbi...

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  • Logistic regression equation and (co)variance matrix for estimating developmental outcome in very preterm infants
    Pieter L. Degraeuwe

    Neonatal health-care providers have the duty to fully inform parents about the prognosis of their sick, extremely preterm infant. Prognostication is however difficult since survival and long-term outcome are multifactorially influenced, and the quality of prognosis research is often poor. [1] By reporting "Determinants of developmental outcomes in a very preterm Canadian cohort" [2], Synnes et al. extend the previous wor...

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