Children’s Doctor News and Updates Winter 2021

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Children's Doctor

CHOP Honored for Innovation

Two workers in genomics lab Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) was named 1 of the 15 most innovative children’s hospitals by Parents magazine based on the results of a comprehensive survey.

CHOP was specifically recognized this year for its use of genetic testing to find answers for children whose illnesses had eluded diagnosis and then creating personalized treatments to restore the children’s health. The Roberts Individualized Medical Genetics Center at CHOP has helped more than 1,000 children so far. Learn about this and other innovations happening at CHOP in this short video at

Karen Zur, MD, Named Otolaryngology Chief

Karen B. Zur, MD Karen B. Zur, MD CHOP has appointed Karen B. Zur, MD as Chief of the Division of Otolaryngology, formalizing a role she has served in an interim capacity since March 2020. In addition to her new role, Zur will continue to serve as the director of CHOP’s Pediatric Voice Program and associate director of the Center for Pediatric Airway Disorders.

Zur replaces long-time chief Ralph F. Wetmore, MD, who remains on staff.

COVID-19 Research at CHOP

Nearly 7% of COVID-19-Positive Children Have Severe Disease

 In the largest U.S. study of its kind to date, researchers at CHOP and other PEDSnet sites report that of more than 135,000 pediatric patients tested for SARS-CoV-2 in pediatric health systems, 4% tested positive for the virus. However, the study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, also found patients from ethnic minorities, adolescents, patients with history of public insurance, and those with certain underlying medical conditions (cancer, endocrine conditions such as diabetes, and several other types of chronic illness) were more likely to test positive. More severe disease was seen in 6.7% of children with positive tests.

Watch for Blood Vessel Damage

CHOP researchers have found elevated levels of a biomarker related to blood vessel damage in children with SARS-CoV-2 infection, even if the children had minimal or no symptoms of COVID-19. They also found that a high proportion of children with SARS-CoV-2 infection met clinical and diagnostic criteria for thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA). TMA has been identified as a potential cause for severe manifestations of COVID-19 in adults. The findings from co-senior authors David Teachey, MD, and Edward Behrens, MD, were published in Blood Advances.

Number of Preterm Births or Stillbirths Steady in Pandemic

An analysis of nearly 3 000 births from March to June 2020 by researchers at CHOP and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has found no change in preterm births or stillbirths at 2 Philadelphia hospitals in the first 4 months of the pandemic. The findings, published in JAMA, go against European studies that have reported a decrease in preterm birth and increase in stillbirth during the first few months of the pandemic. 

Kidney Damage, Cognitive Impairment Linked to Ketoacidosis

CHOP was among 13 pediatric Emergency Departments that participated in a study that showed children with diabetic ketoacidosis were more likely to experience acute kidney injury and were more likely to also experience subtle cognitive impairment and demonstrate lower IQ scores.

The researchers studied 1,359 episodes of diabetic ketoacidosis in children. Acute kidney injury occurred in 584 (43%) of those episodes, and 252 of those episodes (43%) were classified as either stage 2 or 3. Also, children with kidney injuries had lower scores on short-term memory tests during diabetic ketoacidosis, as well as lower IQ scores 3 to 6 months after recovering from the condition. These differences persisted after adjusting for the severity of diabetic ketoacidosis and demographic factors like socioeconomic status.

Sage Myers, MD, an attending physician in the Emergency Department and first author of the study, published in JAMA Network Open, says the results “suggest a possible linkage between the mechanisms of injury underlying both kidney injury and cerebral injury.”

Next Steps
Provider Priority Line: Dial 800-TRY-CHOP and Press 2
Central Fax Line (844-FAX-CHOP)