A bit more on babies’ stooling habits this month, NICE’s update on the epilepsies and glycosuria. Also the annual round up of useful blogs to get newcomers off to a good start in their paediatric practice. Please do leave comments below:
April 2016’s offering ripe for reading over the bank holiday weekend. Last text box from the 2014 BTS asthma guideline – this time on acute management, FGM and the importance of reporting colleagues who may be involved in the practice, Group A strep infection as a complication of chicken pox and some links to some good CPD sites for you and your patients.
We also welcome Dr Kat Smith this month, paediatric registrar and education fellow at King’s College Hospital, who has kindly volunteered to write monthly articles for the newsletter. It’s nice to have a fresh pair of eyes on paediatric topics and a fresh nose to the ground so to speak. Thanks, Kat, for your help.
Do leave comments below.
Vitamin D deficiency in children with thanks to Dr Jini Haldar, paediatric registrar at Whipps Cross University Hospital.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient needed for healthy bones, and to control the amount of calcium in our blood. There is recent evidence that it may prevent many other diseases. There are many different recommendations for the prevention, detection and treatment of Vitamin D deficiency in the UK. The one outlined below is what we tend to do at Whipps Cross Hospital.
The Department of Health and the Chief Medical Officers recommend a dose of 7-8.5 micrograms (approx. 300 units) for all children from six months to five years of age. This is the dose that the NHS ‘Healthy Start’ vitamin drops provide. The British Paediatric and Adolescent Bone Group’s recommendation is that exclusively breastfed infants receive Vitamin D supplements from soon after birth. Adverse effects of Vitamin D overdose are rare but care should be taken with multivitamin preparations as Vitamin A toxicity is a concern. Multivitamin preparations often contain a surprisingly low dose of Vitamin D.
Indications for measurement of vitamin D
1. Symptoms and signs of rickets/osteomalacia
- Progressive bowing deformity of legs
- Waddling gait
- Abnormal knock knee deformity (intermalleolar distance > 5 cm)
- Swelling of wrists and costochondral junctions (rachitic rosary)
- Prolonged bone pain (>3 months duration)
2. Symptoms and signs of muscle weakness
- Cardiomyopathy in an infant
- Delayed walking
- Difficulty climbing stairs
3. Abnormal bone profile or x-rays
- Low plasma calcium or phosphate
- Raised alkaline phosphatase
- Osteopenia or changes of rickets on x-ray
- Pathological fractures
4. Disorders impacting on vitamin D metabolism
- Chronic renal failure
- Chronic liver disease
- Malabsorption syndromes, for example, cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease
- Older anticonvulsants, for example, phenobarbitone, phenytoin, carbamazepine
5. Children with bone disease in whom correcting vitamin D deficiency prior to specific treatment would be indicated:
- Osteogenesis imperfecta
- Idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis
- Osteoporosis secondary to glucocorticoids, inflammatory disorders, immobility
Symptoms and signs in children of vitamin D deficiency
1. Infants: Seizures, tetany and cardiomyopathy
2. Children: Aches and pains: myopathy causing delayed walking; rickets with bowed legs, knock knees, poor growth and muscle weakness
3. Adolescents: Aches and pains, muscle weakness, bone changes of rickets or osteomalacia
Risk factors for reduced vitamin D levels include:
- Dark/pigmented skin colour e.g. black, Asian populations
- Routine use of sun protection factor 15 and above as this blocks 99% of vitamin D synthesis
- Reduced skin exposure e.g. for cultural reasons (clothing)
- Latitude (In the UK, there is no radiation of appropriate wavelength between October and March)
- Chronic ill health with prolonged hospital admissions e.g. oncology patients
- Children and adolescents with disabilities which limit the time they spend outside
- Institutionalised individuals
- Photosensitive skin conditions
- Reduced vitamin D intake
- Maternal vitamin D deficiency
- Infants that are exclusively breast fed
- Dietary habits – low intake of foods containing vitamin D
- Abnormal vitamin D metabolism, abnormal gut function, malabsorption or short bowel syndrome
- Chronic liver or renal disease
Management depends on the patient’s characteristics:
A. No risk factors
No investigations, lifestyle advice* and consider prevention of risk factors
B. Risk Factors Only
1. Children under the age of 5 years: Lifestyle advice* and vitamin D supplementation.
Purchase OTC or via Healthy Start
Under 1 year: 200 units vitamin D once daily
1 – 4 years: 400 units vitamin D once daily
2. Children 5 years and over – offer lifestyle advice*
C. Risk Factors AND Symptoms, Signs
- Renal function, Calcium, Phosphate, Magnesium (infants), alkaline phosphatase,
- 25-OH Vitamin D levels, Urea and electrolytes, parathyroid hormone
Children can be managed in Primary Care as long as:
- No significant renal impairment
- Normal calcium (If <2.1 mmol/l in infants, refer as there is a risk of seizures)
If further assessment is required consider referral to specialist. **
Patient’s family is likely to have similar risk of Vitamin D deficiency – consider investigation ant treatment if necessary.
*Life style advice
Exposure of face, arms and legs for 5-10 mins (15-25 mins if dark pigmented skin) would provide good source of Vitamin D. In the UK April to September between 11am and 3pm will provide the best source of UVB. Application of sunscreen will reduce the Vitamin D synthesis by >95%. Advise to avoid sunscreen for the first 20-30 minutes of sunlight exposure. Persons wearing traditional black clothing can be advised to have sunlight exposure of face, arms and legs in the privacy of their garden.
Vitamin D can be obtained from dietary sources (salmon, mackerel, tuna, egg yolk), fortified foods (cow, soy or rice milk) and supplements. There are no plant sources that provide a significant amount of Vitamin D naturally.
**Criteria for referral
- Criteria for management in primary care not met
- Deficiency established with absence of known risk factors
- Atypical biochemistry (persistent hypophosphatemia, elevated creatinine)
- Failure to reduce alkaline phosphatase levels within 3 months
- Family history (parent, siblings) with severe rickets
- Infants under one month with calcium <2.1mmmol/l at diagnosis as risk of seizure. (Check vitamin D level of mothers in this group immediately and treat, particularly if breast feeding.)
- If compliance issues are anticipated or encountered during treatment.
- Satisfactory levels of vitamin D not achieved after initial treatment.
Vitamin D levels, effects on health and management of deficiency
|< 25 nmol/l (10micrograms/l)||Deficient. Associated with rickets, osteomalacia||Treat with high dose vitamin D
Lifestyle advice AND vitamin D (ideally cholecalciferol)
• 0 – 6 months: 3,000 units daily
• 6 months – 12 yrs: 6,000 units daily
• 12 – 18 yrs: 10,000 units daily
|vitamin D 25 – 50 nmol/l (10 – 20micrograms/l||Insufficient and associated with disease risk||Over the counter (OTC) Vitamin D supplementation (and maintenance therapy following treatment for deficiency) should be sufficient.
• Lifestyle advice and vitamin D supplementation
< 6 months: 200 – 400 units daily (200 units may be inadequate for breastfed babies)
Over 6 months – 18 years: 400 – 800 units daily
|50 – 75 nmol/l (20 – 30micrograms/l)||Adequate||Healthy Lifestyle advice|
|> 75 nmol/l (30 micrograms/l)||Optimal Healthy||None|
Course length is 8 – 12 weeks followed by maintenance therapy.
Checking of levels again
As Vitamin D has a relatively long half-life levels will take approximately 6 months to reach a steady state after a loading dose or on maintenance therapy. Check serum calcium levels at 3 months and 6 months, and 25 – OHD repeat at 6 months. Review the need for maintenance treatment. NB: the Barts Health management protocol uses lower treatment doses for a minimum of 3 months and then there is no need for repeat blood tests in the majority of cases of children satisfying the criteria for management in primary care.
Serum 25 OHD after 3 months treatment Action
|>80nmol/ml||Recommend OTC prophylaxis and lifestyle advice||as required|
|50 – 80 nmol/mL||Continue with current treatment dose||reassess in 3 months|
|< 50 nmol/mL||Increase dose or, in case of non-adherence/concern refer to secondary care.|
It is essential to check the child has a sufficient dietary calcium intake and that a maintenance vitamin D dose follows the treatment dose and is continued long term.
Some recommend a clinical review a month after treatment starts, asking to see all vitamin and drug bottles. A blood test can be repeated then, if it is not clear that sufficient vitamin has been taken.
Current advice for children who have had symptomatic Vitamin D deficiency is that they continue a maintenance prevention dose at least until they stop growing. Dosing regimens vary and clinical evidence is weak in this area. The RCPCH has called for research to be conducted. The RCPCH advice on vitamin D is at http://www.rcpch.ac.uk/system/files/protected/page/vitdguidancedraftspreads%20FINAL%20for%20website.pdf
Gianotti Crosti this month, updated “Working Together” safeguarding document, epistaxis and malaria. Also links to a few other useful documents recently uploaded to the Primary Care Guidelines part of the website, with thanks to Redbridge and West Suffolk. All comments welcome.
January 2015 newsletter is being published late with apologies. The newsletter is circulated prior to publication to be checked by my 8 paediatric consultant colleagues and any guest authors. I neglected to attach the newsletter to my initial email, a fact pointed out to me on the 31st January….. Now checked and ready to go.
Andrew Lock has put together a really helpful guide to viral exanthems with trustworthy links to proper images, Vicky Agunloye is back this month with an invaluable guide to the healthcare professional’s assessment of a crying baby (and his/her mother). Tom Waterfield has looked at the usefulness of saline nebs in bronchiolitis, there are some more “do not do” recommendations from NICE and a link to Suffolk’s guideline on managing anaphylaxis and its follow up from primary care. Do leave comments below:
Last bit of headaches this month with guidance on management of various primary headaches, including medication overuse headache. Also more on domperidone, psoriasis, respiratory and heart rates to worry about and a link to a new colic summary I’ve put under the Primary Care Guidelines tab. Do leave comments below.
Allergy – notes from a recent allergy update course with thanks to Dr Su Li, paediatric consultant @ Whipps Cross.
www.allergyuk.org – good factsheets on rhinitis, oral allergy syndrome etc.
www.itchysneezywheezy.co.uk is a collaborative project for patients, their parents and health professionals on all aspects of atopic illness.
RCPCH allergy care pathways for health professionals (eczema, anaphylaxis, urticaria, mastocytosis, food, drug and venom allergies etc. etc.)
www.bsaci.org (stores patient management guidelines and has recently been accredited by NICE – milk, nut and penicillin allergy guidelines all currently in progress)
How to make a diagnosis:
1. Allergy focussed clinical history
2. Allergy tests – tests look at sensitisation not clinical allergy, defines probability of allergy
Skin prick tests
Provocation tests / food challenge
IgE ranges :
|< 0.35||Grade 0|
|0.35 – 0.7||Grade 1|
|0.7 – 3.5||Grade 2|
|3.5 – 17.5||Grade 3|
|17.5 – 50||Grade 4|
|50 – 100||Grade 5|
|> 100||Grade 6|
Test equivalence :
|Skin prick||< 3 mm||3-7 mm||>7 mm|
|IgE||< 0.35||0.35 – 50||> 50|
Probability of allergy :
|< 3 mm||3-7 mm||> 7 mm|
|High clinical suspicion||Possible allergy||Probably allergy||Allergic|
|50:50||Possible allergy||Possible allergy||Probably allergy|
|Low clinical suspicion||Not allergic||Possible allergy||Possible allergy|
If ‘possible allergy’ consider food challenge.
- Your risk of anaphylaxis to peanut is 1% per year if you have a nut allergy.
- If you have had anaphylactic reaction, your risk increases to 5% per year, therefore always prescribe Adrenaline Autoinjector (EpiPen).
- The degree of positivity of a test does not change the risk of anaphylaxis.
- Your risk of having a peanut allergy is 8 times more if you have a sibling with a nut allergy – consider screening siblings.
- Common allergens associated with eczema are egg, peanut and cows milk.
- If you are allergic to egg, consider testing for the peanut and milk as they often co-exist
- Egg exclusion diets can improve eczema symptoms however there is an increased risk of anaphylaxis if you come into contact with egg whilst on an
- Consider a food challenge after 1 year as egg allergies often resolve.
Cows Milk Protein Intolerance:
- This is a non IgE mediated disease, allergy testing will be negative.
- Typical symptoms tend to be eczema or GI upset including reflux, vomiting, ‘colic’, constipation, loose stools, blood and mucous in stools.
- Management includes a 2-4 week trial of extensively hydrolysed formula (Nutramigen / Peptijunior) or amino acid formula (Nutramigen AA / Neocate).
- If breastfeeding, mothers need to go onto an exclusion diet (including soya).
- Do not use over the counter partially hydrolysed formula milks, these still contain cows milk protein.
- Refer to a dietician if on an exclusion diet.
- Consider diagnosis of FPIES (food protein intolerance enteropathy syndrome).
- Cows milk protein intolerance usually resolves around 14 months of age.
- At this age, introduce soya milk first. If well tolerated, introduce cows milk.