Research overview and current projects

Below you will find a list of current research projects in The Department of Neonatology.


Ph.D. projects

Change in gut motility in preterm Infants and Piglets 

Susanne Søndergaard Kappel, (Lise Aunsholt, Ragnhild Maastrup)
The aim of this Ph.D. project is to understand how feeding intolerance (FI) and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) are related to enteral feeding in preterm infants. This is reached by detailed infant and piglet studies on how gastric residuals (GR) and gut dysmotility are associated with clinical symptoms, including NEC. 
The project includes following goals:
  • Identifying how GR measurements are used by clinical personnel in Denmark. A questionnaire was developed to find out how nurses and physicians conceptualize and describe the evaluation and decision-making for GR measurements. (submitted January 2021)
  • Evaluate differences in gut motility between infants receiving two types of fortification. Multicenter RCT study.  Very preterm infants randomized to human milk fortified with bovine colostrum or conventional fortifier based on formula products (FM85). (expect submitted autumn 2021)
  • Test if gut transit time, GR volume and composition can predict NEC onset in preterm piglets. An established and validated 5-day protocol for inducing NEC in preterm pigs is used. Gut transit time and GRs are evaluated in healthy piglets and piglets with NEC in relation to diet composition and postnatal age. (published February 2020 and January 2021)
Enrolment ends 31. January 2022.

Pediatric delirium in critical care: a prospective intervention study with parental involvement

Rikke Louise Stenkjær, (Janne Weis, Gorm Greisen, Suzanne Forsyth Herling and Ingrid Egerod)
Aim: The overall aim of the study is to investigate detection, prevention and reduction of delirium in acute and critically ill children aged 3 months – 18 years of age. The specific objectives are: 
1. Investigate prevalence and duration of delirium and validate the screening tool SOS-PD  
2. Develop a non-pharmacological complex intervention to prevent pediatric delirium through an international Delphi study
3. Pilot testing of a non-pharmacologic intervention including partnership with parents to prevent or reduce pediatric delirium and investigating parents’ experiences of participating in intervention delivery
Design: Construct validity evaluation, Complex intervention development based on Delphi-study, and evaluation of intervention implementation through semi-structured interviews.
Status June 2021: Two manuscripts are in preparation, submission in Autumn 2021. 50 children out of 140 are included. 

The SafeBoosC-III follow up study

Marie Isabel Rasmussen, (Mathias Lühr Hansen, Gorm Greisen)
In the SafeBoosC-III trial, the objective is to investigate if treatment based on brain oxygenation in extremely preterm infants can improve survival and reduce the risk of brain damage. 
We know that extremely premature babies have a high risk of neurodevelopmental impairment such as brain damage as well as psychological and motor problems. This can affect both the child and the family for the rest of their lives. Therefore, we are now conducting a follow-up study where we look at the children's development when they are two years old. It is important to investigate whether the potential effect of the trial persists in early childhood, in the form of less risk of cerebral palsy, low intelligence quotient and / or other neuropsychological late effects. It is also important to investigate if there are any unexpected harms. We will use data from health care records, parent questionnaires and psychological assessments. The follow-up study will take place in more than 60 departments across 18 countries and is expected to be published in an international peer-reviewed medical journal.

Pre-graduate projects

Identification of causes of MRSA infection at the Neonatal Department at Rigshospitalet 
Julia Galuszka (Susanne Søndergaard Kappel, Lise Aunsholt)
Purpose: To identify the cause of MRSA infection as well as potential sources of infection in the Neonatal Department at Rigshospitalet between 2019 and onward in order to reduce the number of future outbreaks of MRSA. 
Design: retrospective study based on medical journals from the Neonatal Department at Rigshospitalet from 2019 and onward.
Status June 2021: Establishing of protocol 

Bowel habits and gastrointestinal presentation in preterm infants – an observational study

Ulrikke Lyng Beauchamp, (Susanne Søndergaard Kappel, Lise Aunsholt).
Purpose: To investigate whether an implemented observational sheet focusing on bowel habits and gastrointestinal symptoms, will affect the timing of the decision to initiate laxatives in preterm infants.
Design: Combined prospective and retrospective study. 
Status September 2021: Implementation of observational sheet to all new kids within the gestational age 24 weeks to 30+6 weeks.

How Covid-19 affected the NICU; A single-center experience. 

Caroline Kleis Schmidt (Pre-graduate student), (Lise Aunsholt, Morten Breindahl). 
Aim: The study aims to report how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the patients, the patients’ next of kin, and employees at the NICU at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen.                            
Design: A retrospective assessment based on data collected through the Vermont Oxford Network and interviews with multiple of the department’s employees.                                                                             
Status August 2021: The paper is under preparation and will be sent for review during fall 2021.

Postdoc projects and other projects


Mathias Lühr Hansen (trial manager), Gitte Holst Hahn (principal investigator GN), Gorm Greisen (coordinating investigator). 
Purpose: evaluating the benefits and harms of clinical care with access to cerebral oximetry monitoring for the first three days of life, in extremely preterm infants 
Design: Randomised clinical trial, multicentre, 71 neonatal intensive care units from 17 countries are actively recruiting
Status August 2021: 1250 participants randomised, expected completion of recruitment in January 2022

Assessment and management of pain in hospitalized infants, children and young people in Denmark

Janne Weis (national coordinator) and Ragnhild Maastrup.
Aim: To investigate health care professionals’ documented pain assessment and management, among hospitalized infants, children and young people at neonatal and pediatric units in Denmark.
Design: Audit of journals three days in November 2020 at 95% of the Danish departments for neonatal, children and young people.
Status September 2021: Article in manuscript, expected submission end 2021.

Responsible editor