Cognitive Development One Year after Infantile Critical Pertussis

John T. Berger, Michele E. Villalobos, Amy E. Clark, Richard Holubkov, Murray M. Pollack, Robert A. Berg, Joseph A. Carcillo, Heidi Dalton, Rick Harrison, Kathleen L. Meert, Christopher J.L. Newth, Thomas P. Shanley, David L. Wessel, Kanwaljeet J.S. Anand, Jerry J. Zimmerman, Ronald C. Sanders, Teresa Liu, Jeri S. Burr, Douglas F. Willson, Allan DoctorJ. Michael Dean, Tammara L. Jenkins, Carol E. Nicholson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objectives: Pertussis can cause life-threatening illness in infants. Data regarding neurodevelopment after pertussis remain scant. The aim of this study was to assess cognitive development of infants with critical pertussis 1 year after PICU discharge. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: Eight hospitals comprising the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network and 18 additional sites across the United States. Patients: Eligible patients had laboratory confirmation of pertussis infection, were less than 1 year old, and were admitted to the PICU for at least 24 hours. Interventions: The Mullen Scales of Early Learning was administered at a 1-year follow-up visit. Functional status was determined by examination and parental interview. Measurements and Main Results: Of 196 eligible patients, 111 (57%) completed the Mullen Scales of Early Learning. The mean scores for visual reception, receptive language, and expressive language domains were significantly lower than the norms (p < 0.001), but not fine and gross motor domains. Forty-one patients (37%) had abnormal scores in at least one domain and 10 (9%) had an Early Learning Composite score 2 or more sds below the population norms. Older age (p < 0.003) and Hispanic ethnicity (p < 0.008) were associated with lower mean Early Learning Composite score, but presenting symptoms and PICU course were not. Conclusions: Infants who survive critical pertussis often have neurodevelopmental deficits. These infants may benefit from routine neurodevelopmental screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-97
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • child development
  • intensive care
  • neurologic complications
  • outcome assessment
  • pertussis


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