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      Continuous Vital Sign Analysis for Predicting and Preventing Neonatal Diseases in the 21 st Century - Big Data to the Forefront

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          In the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation are vital signs (VS) that are continuously monitored in infants, while blood pressure is often monitored continuously immediately after birth, or during critical illness. Although changes in VS can reflect infant physiology or circadian rhythms, persistent deviations in absolute values or complex changes in variability, can indicate acute or chronic pathology. Recent studies demonstrate that analysis of continuous VS trends can predict sepsis, necrotizing enterocolitis, brain injury, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, cardiorespiratory decompensation, and mortality. Subtle changes in continuous VS patterns may not be discerned even by experienced clinicians reviewing spot VS data or VS trends captured in the monitor. In contrast, objective analysis of continuous VS data can improve neonatal outcomes by allowing heightened vigilance or preemptive interventions. In this review, we provide an overview of the studies that have used continuous analysis of single or multiple VS, their interactions, and combined VS and clinical analytic tools, to predict or detect neonatal pathophysiology. We make the case that big-data analytics are promising, and with continued improvements, can become a powerful tool to mitigate neonatal diseases in the 21 st century.

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          Most cited references 146

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          Abnormal heart rate characteristics of reduced variability and transient decelerations are present early in the course of neonatal sepsis. To investigate the dynamics, we calculated sample entropy, a similar but less biased measure than the popular approximate entropy. Both calculate the probability that epochs of window length m that are similar within a tolerance r remain similar at the next point. We studied 89 consecutive admissions to a tertiary care neonatal intensive care unit, among whom there were 21 episodes of sepsis, and we performed numerical simulations. We addressed the fundamental issues of optimal selection of m and r and the impact of missing data. The major findings are that entropy falls before clinical signs of neonatal sepsis and that missing points are well tolerated. The major mechanism, surprisingly, is unrelated to the regularity of the data: entropy estimates inevitably fall in any record with spikes. We propose more informed selection of parameters and reexamination of studies where approximate entropy was interpreted solely as a regularity measure.
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              Incidence and timing of presentation of necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm infants.

              To examine the variation in the incidence and to identify the timing of the presentation of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in a cohort of preterm infants within the Canadian Neonatal Network (CNN). This was a population-based cohort of 16 669 infants with gestational age (GA) <33 weeks, admitted to 25 NICUs participating in the CNN between January 1, 2003, and December 31(,) 2008. Variations in NEC incidence among the participating NICUs for the study period were examined. We categorized early-onset NEC as occurring at <14 days of age and late-onset NEC occurring at ≥14 days. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify risk factors for early-onset NEC. The overall incidence of NEC was 5.1%, with significant variation in the risk adjusted incidence among the participating NICUs in the CNN. Early-onset NEC occurred at a mean of 7 days compared with 32 days for late-onset NEC. Early-onset NEC infants had lower incidence of respiratory distress syndrome, patent ductus treated with indomethacin, less use of postnatal steroids, and shorter duration of ventilation days. Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified that greater GA and vaginal delivery were associated with increased risk of early-onset NEC. Among infants <33 weeks' gestation, NEC appears to present at mean age of 7 days in more mature infants, whereas onset of NEC is delayed to 32 days of age in smaller, lower GA infants. Further studies are required to understand the etiology of this disease process.

                Author and article information

                Pediatr Res
                Pediatr. Res.
                Pediatric research
                30 July 2019
                04 August 2019
                January 2020
                04 February 2020
                : 87
                : 2
                : 210-220
                [1 ]Division of Neonatology, Hurley Medical Center, Flint, Michigan
                [2 ]Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri
                [3 ]Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, VA
                Author notes

                Co-senior author

                Authorship contribution statement.

                Conception and design: NK, KF, and VS

                Data acquisition, drafting manuscript/figures, revising article: NK, GA, BS, KF, VS

                Corresponding Author: Venkatesh Sampath (MD), Children’s Mercy Kansas City, 2401 Gillham Road, Kansas City MO 64108; phone: 816-234-3591, fax: 816-302-9887, vsampath@

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