The University of Chicago Medicine - Comer Children's Hospital

Department of Pediatrics 2017 Annual Report

Cancer & Host Defense Critical Care

Neethi Pinto, MD, MS, with patient Katie Reasoner

Survival isn’t enough anymore—our focus must include improving long-term outcomes

Neethi Pinto, MD, MS, with patient Kyjuan Hudson

More children than ever before are surviving critical illness, but often with significant consequences to their long-term health, says Neethi Pinto, MD, MS, director of clinical research in pediatric critical care at Comer Children’s. Studies indicate that morbidity rates are nearly twice mortality rates at hospital discharge for children who experience critical illness.

“Through our outcomes research at the University of Chicago, supported by the Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence, we now know that children who experience critical illness remain medically vulnerable after hospital discharge,” says Pinto. “Their risk of ongoing and new functional morbidity and mortality is significant and increases from 9.1 percent at hospital discharge to 20.8 percent at three years after discharge. We need to identify interventions we can implement in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit to improve a child’s long-term outcomes, in addition to the work we currently do that results in improved short-term outcomes and survival.”

We need to identify interventions we can implement in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit to improve a child’s long-term outcomes.

~ Neethi Pinto, MD, MS

Since June 2017, with the support of the Comer Development Board, Pinto’s team has enrolled over 75 children in a new study to understand how multidimensional outcomes, including function, health-related quality of life, behavior and health care utilization are affected after critical illness. Pinto is following children longitudinally for three years to understand which children are at greatest risk for poor outcomes and when they are most vulnerable.

On a national scale, she heads up the University’s collaboration with the Pediatric Acute Lung Injury and Sepsis Investigators (PALISI) network of pediatric critical care clinical and translational researchers. To date, the University’s Department of Pediatrics has participated in nine multicenter PALISI studies, leading to important contributions and publications in the field.

Neethi Pinto, MD, MS, with patient Kyjuan Hudson, mom Tiffany Sanders, and clinical research coordinator Allison Kniola

Currently, Pinto’s team is involved in PALISI studies related to the prevalence of early mobility and physical rehabilitation, as well as nutritional practices in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Coming up are two randomized controlled trials, for venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in critically ill patients and stress-dose steroids in the setting of pediatric septic shock.

“Our collaboration with PALISI has allowed us to participate in important discoveries in pediatric critical care and has provided us with the opportunity to expand the exciting outcomes work we began at the University of Chicago,” Pinto says.

Conditions We Treat

  • Surgical disease and trauma
  • Heart-lung failure
  • Cancer and blood disease
  • Complicated diabetes
  • Life-threatening infection and sepsis
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Complex neurologic disease
  • Complex congenital cardiac conditions
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