About Down's Syndrome : Respiratory Tract Infections in Children with Down’s Syndrome

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Respiratory Tract Infections in Children with Down’s Syndrome

Towards Better Management Using Health Informatics and Working With Their Carers

The DSA will be supporting the research by reviewing study protocols, publications and presentations and disseminating the results of the research findings.

One in every 1000 UK babies are born with Down’s syndrome and individuals with Down’s syndrome are more likely suffer from frequent ear, sinus, throat and lung infections. They are also more likely than the rest of the population to have complications after such infections.  However because adults and children with Down’s syndrome are rarely included in research studies, the best way to manage and treat these infections for people with the condition is not clear. Dr Logan Manikam (NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow, University College London Institute of Child Health) hopes that his research into respiratory tract infections will improve healthcare in this area for people with Down’s syndrome.

This research will link NHS data on GP visits and hospital admissions to the use of vaccines and antibiotics. The research team will work with the families of children with Down’s syndrome to find out what difficulties respiratory tract infections in their children places upon them. The information will help to develop tools to better research the benefits of different treatments. Anonymous data from GP and hospital records will be used to look at how respiratory tract infections are managed for people with Down’s syndrome. Data examined will include the way in which antibiotics and vaccine have been used and evaluate how effective this has been. Dr Manikam hopes his research will help healthcare professionals such as GPs, paediatricians and Ear Nose and Throat surgeons to develop recommendations for managing respiratory tract infections. It is hoped that this information will provide the best evidence available for people with Down’s syndrome and their parents and carers to jointly make decisions with their health care professional about the right treatment for them.

The project will also involve a systematic review of all existing literature on respiratory tract infections. Firstly to identify the different ways in which respiratory tract infections have been dealt with both currently and in the past., leading to a better understanding of all the treatment options available and a better understanding of the best ways to prevent and treat respiratory tract infections in people with Down’s syndrome in the future.

Download Respiratory Tract Infections Leaflet for Parents

Research Update, March 2019

Despite children with Down’s Syndrome (DS) being prone to respiratory tract infections (RTIs), there is little evidence on health care utilisation or treatment specific outcomes in this population to inform best practice in a clinical setting. To fill this evidence gap, Dr Logan Manikam conducted a retrospective cohort study based on routinely collected primary and secondary care data from the CArdiovascular disease research using LInked Bespoke studies and Electronic health Records (CALIBER) database for fulfillment of his PhD thesis research. Dr Manikam’s thesis used this routinely collected data to identify RTI-related healthcare utilisation, those most at risk of RTI-related healthcare utilisation, and the effects of antibiotics in preventing RTI-related hospitalization for children with and without DS.

After initially completing his PhD research with a CALIBER data extract from 2010, Dr Manikam is currently in the process of updating his data analysis with a new extract from 2015. This data update will help to increase the sample size included in the analysis and generate more robust findings on RTI-related health care utilization and the effects of antibiotics for children with and without DS. This research holds potential to generate findings that inform antibiotic prescription strategies and guide future research efforts to broaden the evidence base for this at-risk group. The findings from the 2015 data update will be published as two manuscripts, titled “Effects of Antibiotics in Preventing Hospitalisations due to Respiratory Tract Infections in Children with Down’s Syndrome” and “Respiratory Tract Infection Related Healthcare Utilisation in UK Children with Down’s Syndrome”.

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