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Recent research in paediatrics

Cardiopulmonary physical therapy practice in the paediatric intensive care unit.

McCord J, Krull N, Kraiker J et al. Physiotherapy Canada 2013 65(4):374-7

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Purpose: Physical therapists play an important role in the pediatric intensive care setting. The purpose of this study was to describe current cardiopulmonary physical therapy (CPT) practices in a pediatric cardiac critical care unit (CCCU) and a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), as well as to determine the feasibility of obtaining clinically relevant outcome measures in this setting. Methods: We obtained reasons for admission, CPT treatment patterns, and availability of chest X-rays interpretation via a retrospective chart review of children who received CPT while in the PICU and CCCU (n=111). Results: Congenital cardiac conditions (34.2%) and primary respiratory deterioration (27.9%) were the most common reasons for admission; 50% of the children had associated diagnoses (e.g., developmental delay). Manual hyperinflation with expiratory vibration was the most common CPT treatment. Chest X-ray interpretation was available in 72% of the charts. Conclusions: Manual hyperinflation with expiratory vibration was used across diagnostic groups in the CCCU and PICU; its effectiveness therefore requires further study. Chest X-ray is an important clinical outcome and therefore needs to be recorded in a standardized manner to be useful for future clinical research studies.


Early mobilization in critically ill children: a survey of Canadian practice

Choong K, Koo KK, Clark H et al Critical Care Medicine 2013 41(7):1745-53

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While early mobilization is safe and enhances functional recovery in critically ill adults, rehabilitation practices in critically ill children are not well characterized. The objective of this study was to evaluate the knowledge, perceptions, and stated practices of early mobilization among physicians and physiotherapists practicing in Canadian pediatric critical care units.

A self-administered survey was mailed to 102 physicians and 35 physiotherapists. Survey domains included barriers to early mobilization, the timing, nature and thresholds for rehabilitation, and staffing workload. We assessed for associations using chi-square tests.

The overall response rate was 64.2% (88 of 137), representing 59.8% (61 of 102) physicians and 77.1% (27 of 35) physiotherapists, respectively. Key institutional barriers to early mobilization included a lack of practice guidelines (75.4% physician, 48.1% physiotherapist respondents; p = 0.01) and the need for physician orders prior to initiating physiotherapy (26.2% physician vs 55.6% physiotherapist, p = 0.008). Only 3.4% of respondents reported having local guidelines for early mobilization. Conflicting perceptions regarding the clinical thresholds for early mobilization and the safety of early mobilization were the most commonly reported patient-level barriers. Increasing illness severity was associated with decreased clinician comfort with early mobilization. Respiratory physiotherapy and passive range of motion were the most frequently applied rehabilitation interventions (77.8%), while pregait physiotherapy and ambulation were only sometimes or infrequently (70.4%) used. The type and extent of physiotherapy varied depending on the time of day and week.

There are numerous perceived institutional, patient- and provider-level barriers to early mobilization in Canadian pediatric critical care units, and diverse opinions on the appropriateness of early mobilization. Limited awareness of existing literature and the lack of practice guidelines on early mobilization are not surprising in light of the paucity of pediatric-specific evidence. These results strongly support the need for further research, evaluating the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of early mobilization in critically ill children.


Time invested in the global respiratory care of cystic fibrosis paediatrics patients.

Hafen GM, Kernen Y, De Halleux QM, Clinical Respiratory Journal. 2013 7(4):338-41

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We aimed to assess the total time spent on respiratory therapy, including chest physiotherapy (CPT) and physical activity (PA), as well as inhalation therapy (IT) and maintenance of materials (MM) to rationalise and optimise treatment.

A cross-sectional prospective study in a paediatric CF cohort. A questionnaire was developed to look at the time spent on respiratory care over 3 months. Enrolled in this study are all CF patients aged from 6 to 16 years (the exclusion criterion was lung transplantation).

Of the 40 enrolled patients, 22 participated (13 boys and 9 girls), with a mean age of 11 years. The patients spent approximately 19.46 h per week (standard deviation ± 7.53, 8.00-35.25 h) on therapy: CPT (30.58%), IT (15.11%), PA (50%) and MM (4.32%), without statistical significance between sexes.

In our cohort, CF patients spent an average of nearly 20 h a week in respiratory therapy, within a wide range of between 8 h to almost 36 h a week. PA consumes almost half of the time. Physicians have to take into consideration the burden of the treatment, to optimise the therapy.