Imperial College London

Dr Aubrey Cunnington

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Infectious Disease

Reader in Paediatric Infectious Diseases
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 7594 3915a.cunnington

 
 
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Location

 

231Norfolk PlaceSt Mary's Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
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52 results found

Amulic B, Moxon C, Cunnington A, 2020, A more granular view of neutrophils in malaria, Trends in Parasitology, ISSN: 0169-4758

Neutrophils are abundant innate immune cells with crucial roles in immunity and vascular inflammation. Recent evidence indicates that neutrophils have a dual role in malaria, contributing to both pathogenesis and control of Plasmodium. We discuss emerging mechanisms behind these opposing functions and identify key outstanding questions.

Journal article

Suen HM, Pasvol G, Cunnington A, 2020, Clinical and laboratory features associated with serum phosphate concentrations in malaria and other febrile illnesses, Malaria Journal, Vol: 19, ISSN: 1475-2875

BackgroundHypophosphatemia is common in severe infections including malaria. Previous studies suggested that serum phosphate concentrations correlate with temperature, but it is unclear whether the type of infection and other factors occurring during infection influence this association. Here relationships were investigated between serum phosphate levels, cause of fever, demographic, clinical and laboratory parameters.MethodsAnonymized data were analysed from 633 adults with malaria or other febrile illness admitted to Northwick Park Hospital, London, UK. Univariable and multivariable generalized linear model analyses were performed to examine associations with serum phosphate levels. Interaction terms were included to investigate whether cause of fever (malaria vs other illness), malaria parasite species, or malaria severity influenced the association of other variables with phosphate.ResultsHypophosphatemia was common in subjects with malaria (211/542 (39%)), and in other febrile illnesses (24/91 (26%)), however median phosphate levels did not differ significantly by diagnostic group, parasite species or severity of malaria. In all analyses, there were highly significant negative associations between serum phosphate and axillary temperature, and positive associations between serum phosphate and platelet count. There were no significant interactions between these variables and cause of fever, parasite species or severity of illness. Sodium and potassium concentrations were associated with serum phosphate in subjects with malaria and when data from all subjects was combined.ConclusionSerum phosphate is consistently associated with temperature and platelet count in adults with diverse causes of fever. This may be a consequence of phosphate shifts from plasma into cells to support ATP generation for thermogenesis and platelet activation.

Journal article

Patel H, Dunican C, Cunnington A, 2020, Predictors of outcome in childhood Plasmodium falciparum malaria, Virulence, Vol: 11, Pages: 199-221, ISSN: 2150-5594

Plasmodium falciparum malaria is classified as either uncomplicated or severe, determining clinical management and providing a framework for understanding pathogenesis. Severe malaria in children is defined by the presence of one or more features associated with adverse outcome, but there is wide variation in the predictive value of these features. Here we review the evidence for the usefulness of these features, alone and in combination, to predict death and other adverse outcomes, and we consider the role that molecular biomarkers may play in augmenting this prediction. We also examine whether a more personalized approach to predicting outcome for specific presenting syndromes of severe malaria, particularly cerebral malaria, has the potential to be more accurate. We note a general need for better external validation in studies of outcome predictors and for the demonstration that predictors can be used to guide clinical management in a way that improves survival and long-term health.

Journal article

Georgiadou A, Cunnington AJ, 2019, Shedding of the vascular endothelial glycocalyx - a common pathway to severe malaria?, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Vol: 69, Pages: 1721-1723, ISSN: 1058-4838

Journal article

Knackstedt S, Georgiadou A, Apel F, Abu-Abed U, Moxon C, Cunnington A, Raupach B, Cunningham D, Langhorne J, Kruger R, Barrera V, Harding S, Berg A, Patel S, Otterdal K, Mordmuller B, Schwarzer E, Brinkman V, Zychlinsky A, Amulic Bet al., 2019, Neutrophil extracellular traps drive inflammatory pathogenesis in malaria, Science Immunology, Vol: 4, Pages: 1-17, ISSN: 2470-9468

Neutrophils are essential innate immune cells that extrude chromatin in the form of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). This form of cell death has potent immunostimulatory activity. We show that heme-induced NETs are essential for malaria pathogenesis. Using patient samples and a mouse model, we define two mechanisms of NET-mediated inflammation of the vasculature: activation of emergency granulopoiesis via GCSF production, and induction of the endothelial cytoadhesion receptor ICAM-1. Soluble NET components facilitate parasite sequestration and mediate tissue destruction. We demonstrate that neutrophils have a key role in malaria immunopathology and propose inhibition of NETs as a treatment strategy in vascular infections.

Journal article

Levin M, Cunnington AJ, Hoggart CJ, 2019, Secondary re-analysis of the FEAST trial - Authors' reply, The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Vol: 7, Pages: e31-e31, ISSN: 2213-2600

Journal article

Charani E, Cunnington AJ, Yousif AHA, Ahmed MS, Ahmed AEM, Babiker S, Bedri S, Buytaert W, Crawford MA, Elbashir MI, Elhag K, Elsiddig KE, Hakim N, Johnson MR, Miras AD, Swar MO, Templeton MR, Taylor-Robinson SDet al., 2019, In transition: current health challenges and priorities in Sudan, BMJ Global Health, Vol: 4:e001723, ISSN: 2059-7908

A recent symposium and workshop in Khartoum, the capital of the Republic of Sudan, brought together broad expertise from three universities to address the current burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases facing the Sudanese healthcare system. These meetings identified common challenges that impact the burden of diseases in the country, most notably gaps in data and infrastructure which are essential to inform and deliver effective interventions. Non-communicable diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, renal disease and cancer are increasing dramatically, contributing to multimorbidity. At the same time, progress against communicable diseases has been slow, and the burden of chronic and endemic infections remains considerable, with parasitic diseases (such as malaria, leishmaniasis and schistosomiasis) causing substantial morbidity and mortality. Antimicrobial resistance has become a major threat throughout the healthcare system, with an emerging impact on maternal, neonatal, and paediatric populations. Meanwhile, malnutrition, micronutrient deficiency, and poor perinatal outcomes remain common and contribute to a lifelong burden of disease. These challenges echo the UN sustainable development goals and concentrating on them in a unified strategy will be necessary to address the national burden of disease. At a time when the country is going through societal and political transition, we draw focus on the country and the need for resolution of its healthcare needs.

Journal article

Evans C, Fitzgerald F, Cunnington A, 2019, Review of UK malaria treatment guidelines 2016 (Public Health England Advisory Committee on Malaria Prevention), ARCHIVES OF DISEASE IN CHILDHOOD-EDUCATION AND PRACTICE EDITION, Vol: 104, Pages: 218-220, ISSN: 1743-0585

Journal article

Levin M, Cunnington A, Hoggart C, Adverse effects of saline or albumin fluid bolus in resuscitation: response to Maitland et al. and Quartagno et al., Lancet Respiratory Medicine, ISSN: 2213-2600

Journal article

Levin M, Cunnington AJ, Wilson C, Nadel S, Lang HJ, Ninis N, McCulloch M, Argent A, Buys H, Moxon CA, Best A, Nijman RG, Hoggart CJet al., 2019, Effects of saline or albumin fluid bolus in resuscitation: evidence from re-analysis of the FEAST trial, Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Vol: 7, Pages: 581-593, ISSN: 2213-2600

BACKGROUND: Fluid resuscitation is the recommended management of shock, but increased mortality in febrile African children in the FEAST trial. We hypothesised that fluid bolus-induced deaths in FEAST would be associated with detectable changes in cardiovascular, neurological, or respiratory function, oxygen carrying capacity, and blood biochemistry. METHODS: We developed composite scores for respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurological function using vital sign data from the FEAST trial, and used them to compare participants from FEAST with those from four other cohorts and to identify differences between the bolus (n=2097) and no bolus (n=1044) groups of FEAST. We calculated the odds of adverse outcome for each ten-unit increase in baseline score using logistic regression for each cohort. Within FEAST participants, we also compared haemoglobin and plasma biochemistry between bolus and non-bolus patients, assessed the effects of these factors along with the vital sign scores on the contribution of bolus to mortality using Cox proportional hazard models, and used Bayesian clustering to identify subgroups that differed in response to bolus. The FEAST trial is registered with ISRCTN, number ISRCTN69856593. FINDINGS: Increasing respiratory (odds ratio 1·09, 95% CI 1·07-1·11), neurological (1·26, 1·21-1·31), and cardiovascular scores (1·09, 1·05-1·14) were associated with death in FEAST (all p<0·0001), and with adverse outcomes for specific scores in the four other cohorts. In FEAST, fluid bolus increased respiratory and neurological scores and decreased cardiovascular score at 1 h after commencement of the infusion. Fluid bolus recipients had mean 0·33 g/dL (95% CI 0·20-0·46) reduction in haemoglobin concentration after 8 h (p<0·0001), and at 24 h had a decrease of 1·41 mEq/L (95% CI 0·76-2·06; p=0·0002) in mean base excess and increase o

Journal article

Georgiadou A, Lee HJ, Walther M, van Beek A, Fitriani F, Wouters D, Kuijpers T, Nwakanma D, D'Alessandro U, Riley E, Otto T, Ghani A, Levin M, Coin L, Conway D, Bretscher M, Cunnington Aet al., 2019, Modelling pathogen load dynamics to elucidate mechanistic determinants of host-Plasmodium falciparum interactions, Nature Microbiology, Vol: 4, Pages: 1592-1602, ISSN: 2058-5276

During infection, increasing pathogen load stimulates both protective and harmful aspects of the host response. The dynamics of this interaction are hard to quantify in humans, but doing so could improve understanding of mechanisms of disease and protection. We sought to model the contributions of parasite multiplication rate and host response to observed parasite load in individual subjects with Plasmodium falciparum malaria, using only data obtained at the time of clinical presentation, and then to identify their mechanistic correlates. We predicted higher parasite multiplication rates and lower host responsiveness in severe malaria cases, with severe anemia being more insidious than cerebral malaria. We predicted that parasite growth-inhibition was associated with platelet consumption, lower expression of CXCL10 and type-1 interferon-associated genes, but increased cathepsin G and matrix metallopeptidase 9 expression. We found that cathepsin G and matrix metallopeptidase 9 directly inhibit parasite invasion into erythrocytes. Parasite multiplication rate was associated with host iron availability and higher complement factor H levels, lower expression of gametocyte-associated genes but higher expression of translation-associated genes in the parasite. Our findings demonstrate the potential of using explicit modelling of pathogen load dynamics to deepen understanding of host-pathogen interactions and identify mechanistic correlates of protection.

Journal article

Georgiadou A, Barrio PS, Dunican C, Lee HJ, Levin M, Kaforou M, Cunnington Aet al., 2019, COMPARATIVE TRANSCRIPTOMICS IDENTIFIES PHENOTYPIC SIMILARITIES BETWEEN MOUSE MODELS AND HUMAN SEVERE MALARIA, 68th Annual Meeting of the American-Society-for-Tropical-Medicine-and-Hygiene (ASTMH), Publisher: AMER SOC TROP MED & HYGIENE, Pages: 8-8, ISSN: 0002-9637

Conference paper

Mousa A, Challenger JD, Cunnington AJ, Al-Taiar A, Anstey NM, Badaut C, Barber BE, Datta D, Drakeley C, Griffin JT, Grigg MJ, John CC, Migot-Nabias F, Reyburn H, Riley EM, Sutherland CJ, Viwami F, Whitty CJ, William T, Ghani AC, Okell LCet al., 2019, THE EFFECT OF DELAYED TREATMENT ON PROGRESSION TO SEVERE PLASMODIUM FALCIPARUM MALARIA: A POOLED MULTICENTRE INDIVIDUAL-PATIENT ANALYSIS, 68th Annual Meeting of the American-Society-for-Tropical-Medicine-and-Hygiene (ASTMH), Publisher: AMER SOC TROP MED & HYGIENE, Pages: 215-215, ISSN: 0002-9637

Conference paper

Thompson H, Hogan A, Walker P, White M, Cunnington A, Ockenhouse C, Ghani Aet al., 2018, MODELLING THE RELATIVE ROLES OF ANTIBODY TITRE AND AVIDITY IN PROTECTION FROM <it>PLASMODIUM FALCIPARUM</it> INFECTION FOLLOWING RTS,S VACCINATION IN A HUMAN CHALLENGE STUDY, 67th Annual Meeting of the American-Society-of-Tropical-Medicine-and-Hygiene (ASTHM), Publisher: AMER SOC TROP MED & HYGIENE, Pages: 468-468, ISSN: 0002-9637

Conference paper

van Beek A, Pouw R, Sarr I, Correa S, Nwakanma D, Brouwer M, Wouters D, Conway D, Walther M, Levin M, Kuijpers T, Cunnington Aet al., 2018, Complement factor H levels associate with severity of Plasmodium falciparum malaria, 27th International Complement Workshop (ICW), Publisher: PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, Pages: 234-234, ISSN: 0161-5890

Conference paper

van Beek AE, Sarr I, Correa S, Nwakanma D, Brouwer MC, Wouters D, Secka F, Anderson STB, Conway DJ, Walther M, Levin M, Kuijpers TW, Cunnington AJet al., 2018, Complement Factor H Levels Associate With Plasmodium falciparum Malaria Susceptibility and Severity., Open Forum Infect Dis, Vol: 5, ISSN: 2328-8957

Background: Plasmodium falciparum may evade complement-mediated host defense by hijacking complement Factor H (FH), a negative regulator of the alternative complement pathway. Plasma levels of FH vary between individuals and may therefore influence malaria susceptibility and severity. Methods: We measured convalescent FH plasma levels in 149 Gambian children who had recovered from uncomplicated or severe P. falciparum malaria and in 173 healthy control children. We compared FH plasma levels between children with malaria and healthy controls, and between children with severe (n = 82) and uncomplicated malaria (n = 67). We determined associations between FH plasma levels and laboratory features of severity and used multivariate analyses to examine associations with FH when accounting for other determinants of severity. Results: FH plasma levels differed significantly between controls, uncomplicated malaria cases, and severe malaria cases (mean [95% confidence interval], 257 [250 to 264], 288 [268 to 309], and 328 [313 to 344] µg/mL, respectively; analysis of variance P < .0001). FH plasma levels correlated with severity biomarkers, including lactate, parasitemia, and parasite density, but did not correlate with levels of PfHRP2, which represent the total body parasite load. Associations with severity and lactate remained significant when adjusting for age and parasite load. Conclusions: Natural variation in FH plasma levels is associated with malaria susceptibility and severity. A prospective study will be needed to strengthen evidence for causation, but our findings suggest that interfering with FH binding by P. falciparum might be useful for malaria prevention or treatment.

Journal article

Lee HJ, Georgiadou A, Walther M, Nwakanma D, Stewart L, Levin M, Otto T, Conway D, Coin L, Cunnington Aet al., 2018, Integrated pathogen load and dual transcriptome analysis of systemic host-pathogen interactions in severe malaria, Science Translational Medicine, Vol: 10, ISSN: 1946-6234

The pathogenesis of infectious diseases depends on the interaction of host and pathogen. In Plasmodium falciparum malaria, host and parasite processes can be assessed by dual RNA-sequencing of blood from infected patients. Here we performed dual transcriptome analyses on samples from 46 malaria-infected Gambian children to reveal mechanisms driving the systemic pathophysiology of severe malaria. Integrating these transcriptomic data with estimates of parasite load and detailed clinical information allowed consideration of potentially confounding effects due to differing leukocyte proportions in blood, parasite developmental stage, and whole-body pathogen load. We report hundreds of human and parasite genes differentially expressed between severe and uncomplicated malaria, with distinct profiles associated with coma, hyperlactatemia, and thrombocytopenia. High expression of neutrophil granule-related genes was consistently associated with all severe malaria phenotypes. We observed severity-associated variation in the expression of parasite genes which determine cytoadhesion to vascular endothelium, rigidity of infected erythrocytes, and parasite growth rate. Up to 99% of human differential gene expression in severe malaria was driven by differences in parasite load, whereas parasite gene expression showed little association with parasite load. Co-expression analyses revealed interactions between human and P. falciparum, with prominent co-regulation of translation genes in severe malaria between host and parasite. Multivariate analyses suggested that increased expression of granulopoiesis and interferon-γ related genes, together with inadequate suppression of type-1 interferon signalling, best explained severity of infection. These findings provide a framework for understanding the contributions of host and parasite to the pathogenesis of severe malaria and identifying targets for adjunctive therapy.

Journal article

Lee HJ, Georgiadou A, Otto T, Levin M, Coin L, Conway D, Cunnington Aet al., 2018, Transcriptomic studies in malaria – a paradigm for investigation of systemic host-pathogen interactions, Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, Vol: 82, ISSN: 1092-2172

Transcriptomics, the analysis of genome-wide RNA expression, is a common approach to investigate host and pathogen processes in infectious diseases. Technical and bioinformatic advances have permitted increasingly thorough analysis of the association of RNA expression with fundamental biology, immunity, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and prognosis. Transcriptomic approaches can now be used to realize a previously unattainable goal, simultaneous study of RNA expression in host and pathogen, in order to better understand their interactions. This exciting prospect is not without challenges, especially as focus moves from interactions in vitro under tightly controlled conditions to tissue-and systemic-level interactions in animal models and natural and experimental infections in humans. Here we review the contribution of transcriptomic studies to the understanding of malaria, a parasitic disease which has exerted a major influence on human evolution and continues to cause a huge global burden of disease. We consider malaria as a paradigm for transcriptomic assessment of systemic host-pathogen interaction in humans, because much of the direct host-pathogen interaction occurs within the blood–a readily sampled compartment of the body. We illustrate lessons learned from transcriptomic studies of malaria, and how these may guide studies of host-pathogen interaction in other infectious diseases. We propose that the potential of transcriptomic studies to improve understanding of malaria as a disease remains partly untapped because of limitations in study design rather than as a consequence of technological constraints. Further advances will require integration of transcriptomic data with analytical approaches from other scientific disciplines including epidemiology and mathematical modelling.

Journal article

Mcardle A, Turkova A, Cunnington A, 2018, When do co-infections matter?, Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases, Vol: 31, Pages: 209-215, ISSN: 0951-7375

Purpose of review: Advances in diagnostic methods mean that co-infections are increasingly being detected in clinical practice, yet their significance is not always obvious. In parallel, basic science studies are increasingly investigating interactions between pathogens to try to explain real-life observations and elucidate biological mechanisms. Recent findings: Co-infections may be insignificant, detrimental or even beneficial, and these outcomes can occur through multiple levels of interactions which include modulation of the host response, altering the performance of diagnostic tests and drug-drug interactions during treatment. The harmful effects of chronic co-infections such as tuberculosis or Hepatitis B and C in association with HIV are well established, and recent studies have focussed on strategies to mitigate these effects. However consequences of many acute co-infections are much less certain, and recent conflicting findings simply highlight many of the challenges of studying naturally acquired infections in humans. Summary: Tackling these challenges, using animal models or careful prospective studies in humans may prove to be worthwhile. There are already tantalising examples where identification and treatment of relevant co-infections seems to hold promise for improved health outcomes.

Journal article

Evans C, Fitzgerald F, Cunnington A, Review of UK malaria treatment guidelines 2016, Archives of Disease in Childhood.education and Practice Edition, ISSN: 1743-0585

Journal article

Georgiadou A, Bretscher M, Lee H, Walther M, van Beek A, Fitriani F, Wouters D, Kuijpers T, Nwakanma D, Riley E, Levin M, Coin L, Ghani A, Conway D, Cunnington Aet al., 2018, COMBINING RNA-SEQUENCING AND MATHEMATICAL MODELLING TO IDENTIFY MECHANISTIC CORRELATES OF PROTECTION IN MALARIA, 67th Annual Meeting of the American-Society-of-Tropical-Medicine-and-Hygiene (ASTHM), Publisher: AMER SOC TROP MED & HYGIENE, Pages: 27-27, ISSN: 0002-9637

Conference paper

Ikeda AK, Rowley C, Yang Y, Okebe J, Ebonyi A, Njie M, Correa S, Jayasooriya S, Cunnington A, Casals-Pascual C, Walther M, Taylor T, Seydel K, Ackerman Het al., 2017, PLASMA HAPTOGLOBIN AS A MARKER OF CLINICAL SEVERITY IN GAMBIAN AND MALAWIAN CHILDREN INFECTED WITH PLASMODIUM FALCIPARUM, 65th Annual Meeting of the American-Society-of-Tropical-Medicine-and-Hygiene (ASTMH), Publisher: AMER SOC TROP MED & HYGIENE, Pages: 464-464, ISSN: 0002-9637

Conference paper

Lee HJ, Walther M, Georgiadou A, Nwakanma D, Stewart LB, Levin M, Otto TD, Conway DJ, Coin LJ, Cunnington AJet al., 2017, Integrated pathogen load and dual transcriptome analysis of systemic host-pathogen interactions in severe malaria, Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>The pathogenesis of severe <jats:italic>Plasmodium falciparum</jats:italic> malaria is incompletely understood. Since the pathogenic stage of the parasite is restricted to blood, dual RNA-sequencing of host and parasite transcripts in blood can reveal their interactions at a systemic scale. Here we identify human and parasite gene expression associated with severe disease features in Gambian children. Differences in parasite load explained up to 99% of differential expression of human genes but only a third of the differential expression of parasite genes. Co-expression analyses showed a remarkable co-regulation of host and parasite genes controlling translation, and host granulopoiesis genes uniquely co-regulated and differentially expressed in severe malaria. Our results indicate that high parasite load is the proximal stimulus for severe <jats:italic>P. falciparum</jats:italic> malaria, that there is an unappreciated role for many parasite genes in determining virulence, and hint at a molecular arms-race between host and parasite to synthesise protein products.</jats:p>

Working paper

Soothill G, Darboe S, Bah G, Bolarinde L, Cunnington A, Anderson Set al., 2017, Invasive bacterial infections in gambian patients with Sickle Cell Anemia in an era of widespread pneumococcal and haemophilus influenza type B vaccination, 22nd Congress of the European-Hematology-Association, Publisher: Ferrata Storti Foundation, Pages: 606-606, ISSN: 0390-6078

Conference paper

Cheung R, Cunnington A, Drysdale S, Raine J, Walker Jet al., 2017, 100 Cases in Paediatrics, Second Edition, Publisher: CRC Press, ISBN: 9781315351599

The new edition of this best-selling title from the popular 100 cases series explores common paediatric scenarios that will be encountered by the medical student and junior doctor during practical training on the ward, in the emergency ...

Book

Soothill G, Darboe S, Bah G, Lawal B, Cunnington A, Anderson STet al., 2016, Invasive bacterial infections in Gambians with sickle cell anaemia in an era of widespread Pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccination, Medicine, Vol: 95, ISSN: 0025-7974

Background: There is relatively little data on the aetiology of bacterial infections in patients with sickle cell anaemia (SCA) in West Africa, and no data from countries that have implemented conjugate vaccines against both Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of SCA patients admitted to the Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia during a five-year period when there was high coverage of Hib and Pneumococcal conjugate vaccination. We evaluated 161 admissions of 126 patients between April 2010 and April 2015. Results: Pathogenic bacteria were identified in blood cultures from 11 of the 131 admissions that had cultures taken (8.4%, 95% CI 4.5-14.1%). The most frequent isolate was Salmonella Typhimurium (6/11; 54.5%), followed by Staphylococcus aureus (2/11; 18.2%) and other enteric Gram-negative pathogens (2/11; 18.2%) and there was one case of H. influenzae non-type b bacteraemia (1/11; 9.1%). There were no episodes of bacteraemia caused by S. pneumoniae or Hib. Conclusions: The low prevalence of S. pneumoniae and Hib, and the predominance of non-typhoidal Salmonella as a cause of bacteraemia suggest the need to reconsider optimal antimicrobial prophylaxis and the empirical treatment regimens for patients with SCA.

Journal article

McArdle AJ, Webbe J, Sim K, Parrish G, Hoggart C, Wang Y, Kroll JS, Godambe S, Cunnington Aet al., 2016, Determinants of Carboxyhemoglobin Levels and Relationship with Sepsis in a Retrospective Cohort of Preterm Neonates, PLOS One, Vol: 11, ISSN: 1932-6203

Carboxyhemoglobin levels in blood reflect endogenous carbon monoxide production and are often measured during routine blood gas analysis. Endogenous carbon monoxide production has been reported to be increased during sepsis, but carboxyhemoglobin levels have not been thoroughly evaluated as a biomarker of sepsis. We sought to determine whether carboxyhemoglobin levels were elevated during sepsis in a high risk population of premature neonates. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 30 infants in two neonatal intensive care units using electronic medical and laboratory records. The majority of infants were extremely premature and extremely low birth weight, and 25 had at least one episode of sepsis. We collected all carboxyhemoglobin measurements during their in-patient stay and examined the relationship between carboxyhemoglobin and a variety of clinical and laboratory parameters, in addition to the presence or absence of sepsis, using linear mixed-effect models. We found that postnatal age had the most significant effect on carboxyhemoglobin levels, and other significant associations were identified with gestational age, hemoglobin concentration, oxyhemoglobin saturation, and blood pH. Accounting for these covariates, there was no significant relationship between the onset of sepsis and carboxyhemoglobin levels. Our results show that carboxyhemoglobin is unlikely to be a clinically useful biomarker of sepsis in premature infants, and raise a note of caution about factors which may confound the use of carbon monoxide as a clinical biomarker for other disease processes such as hemolysis.

Journal article

Cunnington AJ, 2016, Author's reply to Banda and Lokugamage, British Medical Journal, Vol: 352, ISSN: 1468-5833

Journal article

Cunnington A, Sim K, Deierl A, Kroll JS, Brannigan E, Darby Jet al., 2016, “Vaginal seeding” of infants born by Caesarean section.How should health professionals engage with this increasingly popular but unproven practice?, BMJ, Vol: 352, ISSN: 0959-8138

Journal article

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