Worldwide pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children under 5 years of age. In the developing world, more than 25% of children will have an episode of pneumonia during the first 5 years of life, resulting in more than 1.9 million deaths per year. For these reasons, the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated childhood pneumonia as a top global health priority.
Akron Children’s Hospital is one of 6 pediatric hospitals in Ohio collaborating in the Children’s Hospitals’ Initiative for Research in Pneumonia (CHIRP), a clinical research study aimed at developing innovative, evidence-based management strategies for children with pneumonia. In the CHIRP study, Akron Children’s principal investigator Osama El-Assal MD, PhD and his research teams will observe how the body responds to an infection like pneumonia. Their goal is to develop new ways to diagnose and treat the illness.
Sponsored by the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, CHIRP looks to enroll 500 pediatric patients diagnosed with pneumonia by mid-2018.
“Through a simple blood draw, the goal is to better diagnose the cause of pneumonia to predict if a child will benefit from antibiotic treatment, help predict who might become sicker, and to develop improved management strategies for pneumonia in Ohio’s children,” said Dr. El-Assal.
There are many challenges when managing patients with pneumonia. About 60% of pneumonia is caused by viruses that do not require antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics are required for patients with bacterial pneumonia, but most providers find it impossible to distinguish bacterial from viral pneumonia, leading to potential overuse of antibiotics. The severity of pneumonia also varies greatly and can’t be predicted. Most patients with pneumonia will have a mild illness, but some will become severely ill.
Using sophisticated new molecular analytical tools, the CHIRP study seeks to optimize the diagnosis and the assessment of pneumonia severity in children and develop improved, unified management strategies. Through CHIRP, a new database will also be developed to examine the causes of pneumonia in children in Ohio, the differences between hospitalized patients and those managed as outpatients, the differences in management strategies across institutions, and possibly the differences in outcomes.
The CHIRP study is being conducted across Ohio through the Ohio Children’s Hospital Collaborative, which is comprised of Akron Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Dayton Children’s Hospital, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital and Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.
To refer patients to the CHIRP trial, contact the study’s clinical research nurse Samantha Formica, BSN, RN, CPN at the Rebecca D. Considine Research Institute at ext. 30826 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional details can be found online at www.akronchildrens.org/research.