About gutsandgrowth

I am a pediatric gastroenterologist at GI Care for Kids (previously called CCDHC) in Atlanta, Georgia. The goal of my blog is to share some of my reading in my field more broadly. In addition, I wanted to provide my voice to a wide range of topics that often have inaccurate or incomplete information. Before starting this blog in 2011, I would tear out articles from journals and/or keep notes in a palm pilot. This blog helps provide an updated source of information that is easy to access and search, along with links to useful multimedia sources. I was born and raised in Chattanooga. After graduating from the University of Virginia, I attended Baylor College of Medicine. I completed residency and fellowship training at the University of Cincinnati at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center. I received funding from the National Institutes of Health for molecular biology research of the gastrointestinal tract. I have authored numerous publications/presentations including original research, case reports, review articles, and textbook chapters on various pediatric gastrointestinal problems. Currently, I am the chair of the section of nutrition for the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In addition, I am an adjunct Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. Other society memberships have included the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Food Allergy Network, the American Gastroenterology Association, the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. As part of a national pediatric GI organization called NASPGHAN (and its affiliated website GIKids) I have helped develop educational materials on a wide-range of gastrointestinal and liver diseases which are used across the country. Also, I have been an invited speaker for national campaigns to improve the evaluation and treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease, celiac disease, eosinophilic esophagitis, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Some information on these topics has been posted at my work website, www.gicareforkids.com, which has links to multiple other useful resources. I am fortunate to work at GI Care For Kids. Our group has 17 physicians with a wide range of subspecialization, including liver diseases, feeding disorders, eosinophilic diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibrosis, DiGeorge/22q, celiac disease, and motility disorders. Many of our physicians are recognized nationally for their achievements. For many families, more practical matters include the following: – 14 office/satellite locations – physicians who speak Spanish – cutting edge research – on-site nutritionists – on-site psychology support for abdominal pain and feeding disorders – participation in ImproveCareNow – office endoscopy suite (lower costs and easier scheduling) – office infusion center (lower costs and easier for families) – easy access to nursing advice (each physician has at least one nurse) I am married and have two sons. I like to read, walk/hike, exercise, swim, and play tennis with my free time as well as go to baseball games. I do not have any financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies or other financial relationships to disclose. I have participated in industry-sponsored research studies.

“Grateful Patient Programs”

From NY Times: Hospitals Are Asking Their Own Patients to Donate Money

This article in the NY Times reviews a growing trend of non-profit hospitals asking patients for contributions; sometimes, physicians are asked to help identify potential donors.

An excerpt:

Many hospitals conduct nightly wealth screenings — using software that culls public data such as property records, contributions to political campaigns and other charities — to gauge which patients are most likely to be the source of large donations…

These various tactics, part of a strategy known as “grateful patient programs,” make some people uncomfortable…it could make patients worry that their care might be affected by whether they made a donation.

My take: Should hospitals simplify the process by adding a line on the bill for a tip?

Badwater basin, Death Valley

 

Gastrostomy Complications

A recent review (RJ Sealock, K Munot. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2018; 16: 1864-69) provides a quick review of some common and rare problems: infection, buried bumper, leakage, bleeding, colonic perforation, tube dislodgment, and nonhealing stoma.

It is a useful reference.  One item (Link to Figure 2) that was interesting was a technique for gastrostomy site closure.  The authors describe passing 2 sutures through a long needle into the stomach around the stoma and using an endoscope/endoscopic biopsy forceps to redirect the sutures back through a catheter to make a loop which can be tied externally.

Related blog posts:

Golden Gulch Trail, Death Valley

Lost Boys (& Girls) of Celiac

The blog post alludes to the ‘lost boys of Sudan.’ Between 1987-2005, there were more than 20,000 Sudanese boys displaced by the civil wars in Sudan.

With regard to Celiac disease (CD), the problem is no where near as dire.  However, the authors of a recent abstract note poor follow-up for pediatric celiac disease and speculate that this could lead to worsened outcomes (NAPSGHAN Annual Meeting 2018; abstract 105 cited in gastroendonews.com: Clinicians Fumbling Follow-up For Celiac Kids).  Those without followup may have suboptimally-treated CD which could lead to vitamin deficiencies, and autoimmune diseases.

Key finding:

  • “We lost 25% in the first year and half within three years.”  Patients were considered lost to follow-up if they did not attend a visit with a celiac specialist for 18 months.

There has been data documenting even higher rates of poor follow-up among adults with celiac disease: Closer followup for Celiac disease & pediatric guidelines (2012)

My take: Celiac disease may have higher rates of poor follow-up than other GI conditions since symptoms may be minimal in many; however, poor followup is commonplace throughout medicine and contributes to worsened outcomes

Related blog posts:

Highway near Death Valley

Management of Acute Severe Colitis

A recent review (KG Whatley, MJ Rosen. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2019; 25: 56-66) succinctly summarizes the contemporary medical management of acute severe ulcerative colitis (ASUC).

Figure 1 provides a useful initial checklist which includes the following:

  • PUCAI score
  • Labs/Imaging: CBC/d, CMP, CRP/ESR, Stool studies (culture/C diff), AXR
  • Pre-salvage labs: TB screen, Hep B serology, VZV serology if needing anit-TNF, TPMT if contemplating thiopurine, lipids if contemplating calcineurin inhibitor
  • Endoscopy: Consider Flex Sig (unsedated) with tissue for CMV PCR if not responding to 3 days of IV steroids
  • Thromboembolism prophylaxis: Low molecular weight heparin (adults, & high-risk pediatric patients), pneumatic compression (low-risk pediatric)
  • Nutrition plan
  • Corticosteroids: methylprednisolone 1-15. mg/kg (to max of 40-60 mg daily)

Each of these recommendations is discussed. For the flex sig recommendation, the authors note that a “full colonoscopy is not recommended due to risk of perforation.” With regard to CMV, the authors acknowledge the low quality of evidence to support antiviral treatment of CMV in this setting.  In addition, the authors suggest PCP prophylaxis in those who receive triple immunosuppression or in those receiving calcineurin inhibitors.

Figure 2 provides a handy algorithm for infliximab salvage therapy in the setting of ASUC:

  • If salvage therapy with infliximab is indicated (day 3-5 of IV steroids), the authors recommend 10 mg/kg dosing.  If there is no response after 3-5 days, repeat dosing is recommended.  If there is no response after an additional 3-5 days, colectomy is recommended.
  • If there is a response to infliximab, the algorithm recommends outpatient management. At time of the 3rd dose (week 5-6), the authors obtain an IFX level.  In those with a level <15, then dosing at 4 week maintenance is recommended; whereas in those 15 and above, every 8 week maintenance is recommended.

The authors discuss some potential emerging treatments. Recommendations from the authors with regard to surgery:

  • Most patients are best served with a subtotal colectomy/end ileostomy in preparation for future ileal pouch anal anastomosis
  • “Surgery should not be delayed to enhance nutrition or taper steroids.”

My take: This article summarizes current approaches with emphasis on not waiting a long time for salvage therapies and using early therapeutic drug monitoring to assist in dosing frequency.

Related blog posts:

Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications/diets (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician/nutritionist.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.

Death Valley

 

Experimental Use of FMT for Ulcerative Colitis

In a recent randomized, double-blind study (SP Costello et al. JAMA. 2019;321(2):156-164. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.20046), the use of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) was effective in 32% in inducing remission in adult patients with ulcerative colitis (UC).

Key Finding:  In this randomized clinical trial that included 73 adults with mild to moderately active ulcerative colitis, the proportion achieving steroid-free remission at 8 weeks was 32% with donor FMT vs 9% with autologous FMT, a significant difference

Abstract:

Importance  High-intensity, aerobically prepared fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has demonstrated efficacy in treating active ulcerative colitis (UC). FMT protocols involving anaerobic stool processing methods may enhance microbial viability and allow efficacy with a lower treatment intensity.

Objective  To assess the efficacy of a short duration of FMT therapy to induce remission in UC using anaerobically prepared stool.

Design, Setting, and Participants  A total of 73 adults with mild to moderately active UC were enrolled in a multicenter, randomized, double-blind clinical trial in 3 Australian tertiary referral centers between June 2013 and June 2016, with 12-month follow-up until June 2017.

Interventions  Patients were randomized to receive either anaerobically prepared pooled donor FMT (n = 38) or autologous FMT (n = 35) via colonoscopy followed by 2 enemas over 7 days. Open-label therapy was offered to autologous FMT participants at 8 weeks and they were followed up for 12 months.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary outcome was steroid-free remission of UC, defined as a total Mayo score of ≤2 with an endoscopic Mayo score of 1 or less at week 8. Total Mayo score ranges from 0 to 12 (0 = no disease and 12 = most severe disease). Steroid-free remission of UC was reassessed at 12 months. Secondary clinical outcomes included adverse events.

Results  Among 73 patients who were randomized (mean age, 39 years; women, 33 [45%]), 69 (95%) completed the trial. The primary outcome was achieved in 12 of the 38 participants (32%) receiving pooled donor FMT compared with 3 of the 35 (9%) receiving autologous FMT (difference, 23% [95% CI, 4%-42%]; odds ratio, 5.0 [95% CI, 1.2-20.1]; P = .03). Five of the 12 participants (42%) who achieved the primary end point at week 8 following donor FMT maintained remission at 12 months. There were 3 serious adverse events in the donor FMT group and 2 in the autologous FMT group.

Conclusions and Relevance  In this preliminary study of adults with mild to moderate UC, 1-week treatment with anaerobically prepared donor FMT compared with autologous FMT resulted in a higher likelihood of remission at 8 weeks. Further research is needed to assess longer-term maintenance of remission and safety.

Related blog posts:

Golden Gulch Trail, Death Valley

 

Fecal Microbioata Transplantation for Recurrent Clostridium difficile — Position Paper

A recent position paper (ZH Davidovics et al. JPGN 2019; 68: 130-43) from NASPGHAN/ESPGHAN on Fecal Microbioata Transplantation (FMT) for Recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) provides a pretty good review. Though, I think a summary table of recommendations would have made this publication much more helpful.

Here is a full-text link: Fecal Microbiota Transplantation for Recurrent Clostridium difficile Infection and Other Conditions in Children: A Joint Position Paper

A couple key points/excerpts:

In general, we concur with current adult guidelines  when considering FMT for the treatment of rCDI in children and propose FMT be considered in children with one of the following:
1. rCDI (recurrence of symptoms within 8 weeks of treatment for CDI) (either a or b)
a. At least 3 episodes of mild to moderate CDI and failure of a 6- to 8-week taper with vancomycin with or without an alternative antibiotic (eg, rifaximin, nitazoxanide).
b. At least 2 episodes of severe CDI resulting in hospitalization and associated with significant morbidity.

2. Moderate CDI not responding to standard therapy (including vancomycin) for at least 1 week. We recommend caution, however, in such cases, with repeated testing for etiologies other than CDI such as IBD.

3. Severe CDI or fulminant C difficile colitis with no response to standard therapy after 48 hours.

My take:  I think the IDSA 2017 guidelines are more useful: Clostridium difficile Guidelines (2017 IDSA/SHEA)

More related blog posts:

ESPGHAN Position Paper: Biosimilars in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease

A recent position paper from ESPGHAN/Porto Group:

Full text: Use of Biosimilars in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease: An Updated Position Statement of the Pediatric IBD Porto Group of ESPGHAN. L de Riddler et al. JPGN 2019; 68: 144-53

Key points:

  • There are sufficient data (by extrapolation from different indications, adult data and limited pediatric data) to state that in children with IBD who are indicated for IFX treatment, CT-P13 is a safe and efficacious alternative to the originator IFX for
    induction, and maintenance, of remission. 97% agreement
  • A switch from the originator infliximab to CT-P13 may be considered in children with IBD in clinical remission, following at least 3 induction infusions. 84% agreement
  • Multiple switches (>1 switch) between biosimilars and reference drug or various biosimilars are not recommended in children with IBD, as data on interchangeability is limited and traceability of the drugs in case of loss of efficacy and/or safety signals may be compromised. 97% agreement
  • Physicians/institutions should keep records of brands and batch numbers of all biological medicines (including biosimilars) administered. 89% agreement

Related blog posts:

Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications/diets (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician/nutritionist.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.