Seattle Children's Provider News

Brain Research Sheds New Light on Link Between Nicotine and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Researchers at Seattle Children’s Research Institute have discovered that populations of neurons in the brainstem have a previously unrecognized susceptibility to disruption by nicotine during early brain development.

Published in the Journal of Comparative Neurology, their findings offer a clue to how nicotine exposure in utero could have a lasting effect on the brain’s wiring and give rise to negative outcomes like SIDS.

“Our findings point to new areas in the brain where nicotine could act as a developmental disruptor and could be important to understanding sudden infant death syndrome,” says Dr. Eric Turner of the research institute’s Center for Integrative Brain Research. Read full post »

Update on Operating Rooms

All 14 operating rooms at Seattle Children’s main campus will be closed for approximately two weeks in December; you will receive an update with specific dates when details are confirmed, likely later this week. The closure, which will include the 4 ORs that have remained open up until now, will allow us to move the new air handling unit into place.

As a reminder, if your patient has surgical needs, please continue to call our ED Communications Center at 206-987-8899. We are continuing to review potential surgical patients on a case-by-case basis with the appropriate surgical specialists and with our surgeon-in-chief.

During the closure of all operating rooms at our main campus, we anticipate using our two catheterization labs  for emergency procedures. We will continue to divert some cases to other local hospitals and perform additional surgeries at our Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center.

As you may have seen in the media this week, several lawsuits were recently filed against Seattle Children’s. We are incredibly sorry for the hurt experienced by these families and regret that recent developments have caused additional grief. Out of respect for privacy, we do not intend to share details about our patients or comment on specific cases or legal action.

Previous information about air quality issues in our operating rooms is available in our complete FAQ for providers. Read full post »

Reducing Children’s Exposure to Radiation: A Q&A With Dr. Tom Lendvay

The U.S. population faces seven times more exposure to ionizing radiation from medical procedures than it did in the early 1980s, largely due to the growth in computed tomography (CT) and nuclear medicine, according to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. Children’s hospitals are increasingly looking for ways to use lower radiation doses for diagnosis and treatment. Success has come from using new technologies and equipment specially designed for children and constantly being on the lookout for opportunities to share information and collaborate better across teams.

Tom Lendvay

Tom Lendvay

Why is radiation bad for children?  

Tom Lendvay, MD, urologist, Seattle Children’s: If you start receiving radiation exposure as a child, you run the risk of having a larger lifetime dose of radiation. Children exposed to radiation, especially those undergoing X-rays and CT scans to evaluate primary cancers, are also at increased risk of developing what is called a secondary malignancy, or cancer due to the DNA-damaging effects of radiation exposure as a child. These include hematologic (blood cell) cancers.

For all these reasons, we look for ways we can reduce the amount of radiation our patients are exposed to during diagnosis and treatment.

What are some of the ways kids are exposed to radiation in the hospital?

Dr. Lendvay: Children may be exposed to ionizing radiation through X-rays, CT scans, fluoroscopy (live X-rays), nuclear medicine tests and intraoperative imaging. Fortunately, children’s bodies are generally smaller and contain less fat than adults, which makes ultrasound technology a good choice much of the time. However, there are a number of conditions that require radiation imaging tests. Over the last two decades, CT scans have provided rapid, rich data and anatomic detail that surpass many other imaging modalities and has proven invaluable to the diagnosis of severe medical conditions. Thus, the use of CT scans has increased in adults and children over the last two decades. Read full post »

Epilepsy Program Expanding to Federal Way

Seattle Children’s welcomes epilepsy specialists Dr. Priya Monrad and Dr. Ahmad Marashly to the Epilepsy Program, where they will serve as Epilepsy Monitoring Unit medical director and surgical program director, respectively. They come from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and bring a combined 15 years of experience seeing the most complex patients, including those needing surgery. They joined Seattle Children’s this fall.

What are your plans for the epilepsy program at Seattle Children’s?

Dr. Monrad: We have the largest epilepsy program in the Pacific Northwest, but we want to make it more accessible to families, especially to those families living in Washington state south of Seattle. Starting in December, we’ll be seeing patients at our regional clinic in Federal Way for the first time. Previously, we offered epilepsy services only at the main hospital and the Bellevue and Everett regional clinics.

Dr. Marashly: We’re also going to be putting a stronger emphasis on making sure providers in the community have easier access to us and can get their epilepsy-related questions answered. We know PCPs can handle so much of their patients’ epilepsy care if they have a good connection with a specialist when needed. We want to be a resource to them. Read full post »

Preventing Youth Suicide

More than 500 children have screened positive for suicide risk in Seattle Children’s Emergency Department and inpatient settings over the past six months who presented for concerns unrelated to their mental health. A new clinical pathway known as Seattle Children’s Zero Suicide Initiative (ZSI) is a universal screening method introduced in March 2019 to help identify and treat youth at risk of suicide. The pathway incorporates the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ) — a brief, five-question screening by intake nurses that assesses if patients ages 10 and up are currently having or have recently had suicidal thoughts.

On average, every week in 2017, nearly four Washington youths died by suicide and two youths were hospitalized because of intentional self-injuries or suicide attempts. One of the most common misconceptions about youth suicide is the idea that talking about suicide will “plant the seed” of suicidal thoughts that weren’t already there — especially in younger children. While there’s no data to support this misleading theory, NIMH research shows that the suicide rate for children ages 10 to 12 has substantially risen over the past 10 years. Read full post »

Register Now for the Pediatric Nursing Update Conference, Jan. 31

Seattle Children’s Outreach Education Department invites you to register for the 2020 Pediatric Nursing Update all-day conference scheduled for Jan. 31, 2020, in Wright Auditorium from 7:50 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Topics include the latest on school and child care immunization requirements, pediatric psychiatry and behavioral medicine, up-to-date trends in pediatric conditions and more. This year we are excited to offer breakout sessions as part of the conference. View the brochure for more details.

WONDER Study Recruiting Participants Ages Birth to 6 Months

Seattle Children’s is recruiting infants for a new study at Seattle Children’s. The WONDER research study uses technology and behavioral assessments to monitor and map social brain development. The study consists of five in-person study visits during the first three years of life at our research lab in Seattle. During visits, researchers record brain activity and eye movements while showing the child pictures and videos. They engage the child in play-based activities to assess different aspects of development, such as language and motor skills.

We are recruiting English-speaking families with infants under the age of 6 months to be part of one of three groups:

  1. Infants with an older sibling (whole or half) with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
  2. Infants born with low birth weight – 3lbs., 15 oz. or less (1800 g).
  3. Infants born weighing more than 5 lbs., 5oz. (2500 g) with no known serious medical conditions and no first- or second-degree relatives with autism.

Read full post »

Families Raise Awareness of Rare, Underdiagnosed Lung Disease

Isabelle Zoerb, 13, and Elliot Fox, 5, both have primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), a rare genetic condition that prevents bacteria from clearing the lungs, sinuses, nose and ears. They are patients at Seattle Children’s, which is the only Pacific Northwest PCD referral center. Dr. Margaret Rosenfeld, an attending physician and researcher at Seattle Children’s, says parents often go through a “diagnostic odyssey” before their child is diagnosed. Most people with PCD have unexplained neonatal respiratory distress, requiring oxygen or breathing support. They generally develop chronic nasal drainage and chronic wet cough within the first six months of life. And it’s a progressive disorder, worsening with time.

“We hope to increase awareness of PCD, which is highly underdiagnosed, so doctors across different fields can identify children with PCD and help them,” said Dr. BreAnna Kinghorn, a researcher at Seattle Children’s.

Rosenfeld researches PCD as the Seattle Children’s site investigator for the Genetic Disorders of Mucociliary Clearance Consortium, which recently received a $7.5 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. “We are hoping to make diagnosing PCD more streamlined so that we can hold clinical trials to develop new therapies for people with the condition,” Rosenfeld said. “We are hopeful that more effective therapies for PCD will exist in the future.”

Read the article: Families Raise Awareness of Rare, Underdiagnosed Lung Disease – On the Pulse

Seattle Children’s Has Lead Role in Tuberculosis Research

Kevin Urdahl

Dr. Kevin Urdahl, a Seattle Children’s researcher in the Center for Global Infectious Disease Research, recently received a seven-year, $83 million grant from the NIH to study how protection against tuberculosis (TB) works in order to develop a more effective TB vaccine. It is the NIH’s largest-ever investment in TB. Seattle Children’s is the largest of the four centers awarded funding and will lead a consortium made up of the University of Washington, Fred Hutch, Oregon Health & Science University, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center of Harvard and three sites in Africa. Read full post »

Grand Rounds at Seattle Children’s

Join us Thursday mornings from 8 to 9 a.m. for presentations by pediatric healthcare experts. All are welcome at this weekly free Category 1 CME event. Location: Wright Auditorium, Seattle Children’s. Or watch the live webcast.

Dec. 5: Racism and Its Impact on Health and Well-Being. Lana Staheli Work Life Balance Lecture. Tiffani Johnson, MD, MSc; assistant professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, UC Davis.

Dec. 12: State of the Department of Pediatrics 2018-2019. Leslie Walker-Harding, MD; senior vice president and chief academic officer; Department of Pediatrics chair, Seattle Children’s. Read full post »