• Are fathers underused advocates for breastfeeding?

      Kenosi, M; Hawkes, C P; Dempsey, E M; Ryan, C A (Irish Medical Journal (IMJ), 2011-11)
      Fathers' knowledge base and attitudes influence breastfeeding practice. We aimed to evaluate if Irish fathers felt included in the breastfeeding education and decision process. 67 fathers completed questionnaires, which assessed their role in the decision to breastfeed, knowledge regarding the benefits of breastfeeding and attitude towards breastfeeding.Forty-two (62.7%) of their partners were breastfeeding. Antenatal classes were attended by 38 (56.7%); 59 (88.1%) discussed breastfeeding with their partners and 26 (38.8%) felt that the decision was made together. Twelve (48%) fathers of formula fed infants were unaware that breastfeeding was healthier for the baby. Most fathers (80.6%) felt that breastfeeding was the mother's decision and most (82.1%) felt that antenatal information was aimed at mothers only. Irish fathers remain relatively uninformed regarding the benefits of breastfeeding. This may contribute to their exclusion from the decision to breastfeed. Antenatal education should incorporate fathers more, and this may result in an improvement in our breastfeeding rates.
    • Benchmarking care for very low birthweight infants in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

      Murphy, B P; Armstrong, K; Ryan, C A; Jenkins, J G; Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork,, Ireland. brendanpaul.murphy@hse.ie (2012-01-31)
      BACKGROUND: Benchmarking is that process through which best practice is identified and continuous quality improvement pursued through comparison and sharing. The Vermont Oxford Neonatal Network (VON) is the largest international external reference centre for very low birth weight (VLBW) infants. This report from 2004-7 compares survival and morbidity throughout Ireland and benchmarks these results against VON. METHODS: A standardised VON database for VLBW infants was created in 14 participating centres across Ireland and Northern Ireland. RESULTS: Data on 716 babies were submitted in 2004, increasing to 796 babies in 2007, with centres caring for from 10 to 120 VLBW infants per year. In 2007, mortality rates in VLBW infants varied from 4% to 19%. Standardised mortality ratios indicate that the number of deaths observed was not significantly different from the number expected, based on the characteristics of infants treated. There was no difference in the incidence of severe intraventricular haemorrhage between all-Ireland and VON groups (5% vs 6%, respectively). All-Ireland rates for chronic lung disease (CLD; 15-21%) remained lower than rates seen in the VON group (24-28%). The rates of late onset nosocomial infection in the all-Ireland group (25-26%) remained double those in the VON group (12-13%). DISCUSSION: This is the first all-Ireland international benchmarking report in any medical specialty. Survival, severe intraventricular haemorrhage and CLD compare favourably with international standards, but rates of nosocomial infection in neonatal units are concerning. Benchmarking clinical outcomes is critical for quality improvement and informing decisions concerning neonatal intensive care service provision.
    • Consent for routine neonatal procedures: A study of practices in Irish neonatal units. How do we compare with the gold standard BAPM guidelines?

      Ryan, M A; Ryan, C A; Dempsey, E; O’Connell, R (Irish Medical Journal, 2017-06)
      The Irish National Consent Policy (NCP)¹ proposes that the legal requirement for consent extends to all forms of interventions, investigations and treatment, carried out on or behalf of the Health Service Executive (HSE). This study employs a quantitative descriptive approach to investigate the practices for obtaining consent for an identified group of routine neonatal procedures in neonatal facilities throughout Ireland. The BAPM (British Association of Perinatal Medicine)² guidelines were identified as ‘gold standard’ for the purposes of this study. The results indicated a lack of consistency between participating units pertaining to the modes of consent utilised and notable variances from ‘gold standard’ guidelines. Unanimity was evident for 3 procedures only (administering BCG, 6-in-1, and donor breast milk to infant). Significant findings related to EEG with video recordings, MRI/CT and gastro intestinal imaging, screening of an infant with suspected substance abuse or retinopathy of prematurity screening (ROP), administration of Vitamin K, and the carrying out of a lumbar puncture.
    • Introducing random safety audits (RSA) in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

      Szymanska, M; Ryan, C A; Murphy, B P; Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork. (2012-01-31)
      Random safety audits (RSA) have been shown to be effective in improving standards of clinical practice. 19 data collection audits were performed relating to hygiene, safe prescribing, oxygen pulse oximetry monitoring and documentation in keeping with the requirements of the new Medical Practitioners Act (MPA) 2007. Hygiene audits (range from 20/25 to 21/21 80%-100%) and safe prescribing audits (range from 23/25 to 25/25 86%-100%) achieved n=25 100% compliance with unit guidelines over a 3 month period. Compliance with oxygen pulse oximetry monitoring guideline limits improved from 4/27 (15%) to 9/16 (56%). Compliance with requirement and use of Physician IMC registration number in documentation was only 10/18 (56%). RSA's led to improvements in hygiene and prescribing. Compliance with oxygen monitoring guideline limits highlighted the need for greater education. Awareness of legal requirements relating to documentation improved but this has not translated into a change in practice. RSA's can facilitate real time quality improvement in daily clinical practice.
    • Life and death decisions for incompetent patients: determining best interests--the Irish perspective.

      Armstrong, K; Ryan, C A; Hawkes, C P; Janvier, A; Dempsey, E M; Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2011-04)
      To determine whether healthcare providers apply the best interest principle equally to different resuscitation decisions.
    • Life and death decisions for incompetent patients: determining best interests--the Irish perspective.

      Armstrong, K; Ryan, C A; Hawkes, C P; Janvier, A; Dempsey, E M; Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      AIMS: To determine whether healthcare providers apply the best interest principle equally to different resuscitation decisions. METHODS: An anonymous questionnaire was distributed to consultants, trainees in neonatology, paediatrics, obstetrics and 4th medical students. It examined resuscitation scenarios of critically ill patients all needing immediate resuscitation. Outcomes were described including survival and potential long-term sequelae. Respondents were asked whether they would intubate, whether resuscitation was in the patients best interest, would they accept surrogate refusal to initiate resuscitation and in what order they would resuscitate. RESULTS: The response rate was 74%. The majority would wish resuscitation for all except the 80-year-old. It was in the best interest of the 2-month-old and the 7-year-old to be resuscitated compared to the remaining scenarios (p value <0.05 for each comparison). Approximately one quarter who believed it was in a patient best interests to be resuscitated would nonetheless accept the family refusing resuscitation. Medical students were statistically more likely to advocate resuscitation in each category. CONCLUSION: These results suggest resuscitation is not solely related to survival or long-term outcome and the best interest principle is applied differently, more so at the beginning of life.
    • The pool chlorine hypothesis and asthma among boys.

      Cotter, A; Ryan, C A; Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, UCC, Cork University Maternity, Hospital, Wilton, Cork. (2012-01-31)
      Swimming pool sanitation has largely been concerned with the microbiological quality of pool water, which is normally treated using a number of chlorine products. Recent studies have pointed to the potential hazards of chlorine by-products to the respiratory epithelium, particularly in indoor, poorly ventilated, pools. The aim of our study was to elucidate whether chronic exposure to indoor chlorinated swimming pools was associated with an increased likelihood of the development of asthma in boys. METHODS: The subjects were boys aged between 6 and 12 years. Data was collected by means of parental responses to a standardized asthma questionnaire (ISAAC: International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood), supplemented with additional questions regarding frequency of attendance, number of years attendance, whether the child is a swimming team member. The questionnaire return rate was 71/% (n = 121). 23 boys were excluded on the basis that they had asthma before they started swimming (n = 97). There was a significant association between number of years a boy had been swimming and the likelihood of wheezing in the last 12 months (p = 0.009; OR = 1.351; 95% CI = 1.077-1.693) and diagnosed asthma (p = 0.046; OR = 1.299; 95% CI = 1.004-1.506). The greater the number the number of years a boy had been attending an indoor, chlorinated pool, the greater the likelihood of wheezing in the last 12 months or "had asthma". Age, parental smoking habits and being a swimming team member had no association with any of the asthma variables examined. Swimming pool attendance may be a risk factor in asthma in boys.
    • Potential hazard of the Neopuff T-piece resuscitator in the absence of flow limitation.

      Hawkes, C P; Oni, O A; Dempsey, E M; Ryan, C A; Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork,, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
      OBJECTIVE: (1) To assess peak inspiratory pressure (PIP), positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP) and maximum pressure relief (P(max)) at different rates of gas flow, when the Neopuff had been set to function at 5 l/min. (2) To assess maximum PIP and PEEP at a flow rate of 10 l/min with a simulated air leak of 50%. DESIGN: 5 Neopuffs were set to a PIP of 20, PEEP of 5 and P(max) of 30 cm H(2)O at a gas flow of 5 l/min. PIP, PEEP and P(max) were recorded at flow rates of 10, 15 l/min and maximum flow. Maximum achievable pressures at 10 l/min gas flow, with a 50% air leak, were measured. RESULTS: At gas flow of 15 l/min, mean PEEP increased to 20 (95% CI 20 to 21), PIP to 28 (95% CI 28 to 29) and the P(max) to 40 cm H(2)O (95% CI 38 to 42). At maximum flow (85 l/min) a PEEP of 71 (95% CI 51 to 91) and PIP of 92 cm H(2)O (95% CI 69 to 115) were generated. At 10 l/min flow, with an air leak of 50%, the maximum PEEP and PIP were 21 (95% CI 19 to 23) and 69 cm H(2)O (95% CI 66 to 71). CONCLUSIONS: The maximum pressure relief valve is overridden by increasing the rate of gas flow and potentially harmful PIP and PEEP can be generated. Even in the presence of a 50% gas leak, more than adequate pressures can be provided at 10 l/min gas flow. We recommend the limitation of gas flow to a rate of 10 l/min as an added safety mechanism for this device.
    • Should the Neopuff T-piece resuscitator be restricted to frequent users?

      Hawkes, C P; Oni, O A; Dempsey, E M; Ryan, C A; Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-01-31)
    • Uptake of newly introduced universal BCG vaccination in newborns.

      Braima, O; Rigney, A; Ryan, C A; Murphy, C; Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork. (2012-01-31)
      Universal neonatal BCG vaccination was discontinued in Cork in 1972. Following an outbreak of TB in 2 creches in the HSE South, a universal BCG vaccination program was re-introduced in October 2008. The aim of this study was to determine the vaccination process (in-hospital and community) and the in-hospital uptake of the vaccine. Following informed parental consent, babies of birth weight > 2.5 Kg were eligible for in-hospital vaccination if they were not: febrile, jaundiced on phototherapy, on antibiotics and if not born to HIV- positive mothers. Parents of babies not vaccinated in-hospital were asked to book an appointment in either of the 2 Cork community clinics. The immunisation nurse collected data on BCG vaccination, prospectively. This study examined vaccination uptakes in-hospital and community over a 6 month period (October 2008 to March 2009). There were 4018 deliveries during the study period. In-hospital consent was declined in only 16 babies (<1%) while the in-hospital vaccination uptake was 80% of total liv births. Although 635 newborns were admitted to the NICU, only 46 (8%) were vaccinated while in the NICU. At least 48% of planned community vaccination has been achieved to date. In conclusion, in-hospital consent was almost universal and vaccination uptake was satisfactory. NICU exclusion criteria accounted for a significant proportion of non-vaccination in-hospital. These criteria need to be readdressed considering that all premature babies are given other routine newborn vaccines at 2 months of age, regardless of weight.