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Ritu Chitkara, MD

  • Ritu Chitkara
  • “I am amazed by the incredible resilience and strength of my patients.”

I am honored to be able to care for sick newborns. Neonatology is a field where I have the privilege of helping to save a newborn's life that otherwise might never have been. Each day I step foot into the NICU, I am amazed by the incredible resilience and strength of my patients. I learn so much from them and I feel truly privileged to be able to call myself their doctor.

I also treat the entire family as my patient. Although the newborn is technically my patient, I cannot practice neonatology without taking into account each member of the family and how their lives are affected.

I have a Christmas card from a family, with a picture of their son on the front, now two years old and thriving, thanking me for not giving up on him. There were many times when he looked like he wasn't going to make it, but I fought for him, like I do for each of my patients. The smile on his face makes me feel so privileged to do this work.

Specialties

Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine

Work and Education

Professional Education

University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, 06/2006

Residency

Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto, CA, 06/2009

Fellowship

Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, 6/2012

Board Certifications

Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, American Board of Pediatrics

Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics

All Publications

Using Simulation to Study Difficult Clinical Issues Prenatal Counseling at the Threshold of Viability Across American and Dutch Cultures SIMULATION IN HEALTHCARE-JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY FOR SIMULATION IN HEALTHCARE Geurtzen, R., Hogeveen, M., Rajani, A. K., Chitkara, R., Antonius, T., Van Heijst, A., Draaisma, J., Halamek, L. P. 2014; 9 (3): 167-173

Abstract

Prenatal counseling at the threshold of viability is a challenging yet critically important activity, and care guidelines differ across cultures. Studying how this task is performed in the actual clinical environment is extremely difficult. In this pilot study, we used simulation as a methodology with 2 aims as follows: first, to explore the use of simulation incorporating a standardized pregnant patient as an investigative methodology and, second, to determine similarities and differences in content and style of prenatal counseling between American and Dutch neonatologists.We compared counseling practice between 11 American and 11 Dutch neonatologists, using a simulation-based investigative methodology. All subjects performed prenatal counseling with a simulated pregnant patient carrying a fetus at the limits of viability. The following elements of scenario design were standardized across all scenarios: layout of the physical environment, details of the maternal and fetal histories, questions and responses of the standardized pregnant patient, and the time allowed for consultation.American subjects typically presented several treatment options without bias, whereas Dutch subjects were more likely to explicitly advise a specific course of treatment (emphasis on partial life support). American subjects offered comfort care more frequently than the Dutch subjects and also discussed options for maximal life support more often than their Dutch colleagues.Simulation is a useful research methodology for studying activities difficult to assess in the actual clinical environment such as prenatal counseling at the limits of viability. Dutch subjects were more directive in their approach than their American counterparts, offering fewer options for care and advocating for less invasive interventions. American subjects were more likely to offer a wider range of therapeutic options without providing a recommendation for any specific option.

View details for DOI 10.1097/SIH.0000000000000011

View details for Web of Science ID 000337146100005

The accuracy of human senses in the detection of neonatal heart rate during standardized simulated resuscitation: Implications for delivery of care, training and technology design RESUSCITATION Chitkara, R., Rajani, A. K., Oehlert, J. W., Lee, H. C., Epi, M. S., Halamek, L. P. 2013; 84 (3): 369-372

Abstract

Auscultation and palpation are recommended methods of determining heart rate (HR) during neonatal resuscitation. We hypothesized that: (a) detection of HR by auscultation or palpation will vary by more than 15BPM from actual HR; and (b) the inability to accurately determine HR will be associated with errors in management of the neonate during simulated resuscitation.Using a prospective, randomized, controlled study design, 64 subjects participated in three simulated neonatal resuscitation scenarios. Subjects were randomized to technique used to determine HR (auscultation or palpation) and scenario order. Subjects verbalized their numeric assessment of HR at the onset of the scenario and after any intervention. Accuracy of HR determination and errors in resuscitation were recorded. Errors were classified as errors of omission (lack of appropriate interventions) or errors of commission (inappropriate interventions). Cochran's Q and chi square test were used to compare HR detection by method and across scenarios.Errors in HR determination occurred in 26-48% of initial assessments and 26-52% of subsequent assessments overall. There were neither statistically significant differences in accuracy between the two techniques of HR assessment (auscultation vs palpation) nor across the three scenarios. Of the 90 errors in resuscitation, 43 (48%) occurred in association with errors in HR determination.Determination of heart rate via auscultation and palpation by experienced healthcare professionals in a neonatal patient simulator with standardized cues is not reliable. Inaccuracy in HR determination is associated with errors of omission and commission. More reliable methods for HR assessment during neonatal resuscitation are required.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2012.07.035

View details for Web of Science ID 000318164200028

Comparing the utility of a novel neonatal resuscitation cart with a generic code cart using simulation: a randomised, controlled, crossover trial BMJ QUALITY & SAFETY Chitkara, R., Rajani, A. K., Lee, H. C., Hansen, S. F., Halamek, L. P. 2013; 22 (2): 124-129

Abstract

To compare a novel neonatal resuscitation cart (NRC) to a generic code cart (GCC).A prospective, randomised, controlled, crossover trial was performed to compare the utility of the NRC with the GCC during simulated deliveries of extremely low birthweight infants and infants with gastroschisis. Fifteen subjects participated. Mean times and accuracy of equipment and supply retrieval were compared for each scenario using the Wilcoxon test.Mean acquisition times for the NRC were always faster (by 58% to 74%) regardless of scenario (p<0.01). Accuracy of equipment selection did not differ. Ease of use was judged using a Likert scale (1=easiest to use; 5=most difficult), with mean score for NRC 1.1 and GCC 3.7 (p<0.0001). All subjects rated the NRC as easier to use.The NRC was superior to the GCC in acquisition speed, supply selection and ease of use.

View details for DOI 10.1136/bmjqs-2012-001336

View details for Web of Science ID 000314211900005

Newborn with prenatally diagnosed choroidal fissure cyst and panhypopituitarism and review of the literature. AJP reports Chitkara, R., Rajani, A., Bernstein, J., Shah, S., Hahn, J. S., Barnes, P., Hintz, S. R. 2011; 1 (2): 111-114

Abstract

Little has been reported on fetal diagnosis of choroidal fissure cysts and prediction of the clinical complications that can result. We describe the case of a near-term male infant with prenatally diagnosed choroidal fissure cyst and bilateral clubfeet. His prolonged course in the neonatal intensive care nursery was marked by severe panhypopituitarism, late-onset diabetes insipidus, placement of a cystoperitoneal shunt, and episodes of sepsis. Postnatal genetic evaluation also revealed an interstitial deletion involving most of band 10q26.12 and the proximal half of band 10q26.13. The patient had multiple readmissions for medical and surgical indications and died at 6 months of age. This case represents the severe end of the spectrum of medical complications for children with choroidal fissure cysts. It highlights not only the importance of comprehensive evaluation and multidisciplinary management and counseling in such cases, but also the need for heightened vigilance in these patients.

View details for DOI 10.1055/s-0031-1293512

View details for PubMedID 23705098

Comparison of Umbilical Venous and Intraosseous Access During Simulated Neonatal Resuscitation PEDIATRICS Rajani, A. K., Chitkara, R., Oehlert, J., Halamek, L. P. 2011; 128 (4): E954-E958

Abstract

Emergent umbilical venous catheter (UVC) placement for persistent bradycardia in the delivery room is a rare occurrence that requires significant skill and involves space constraints. Placement of an intraosseous needle (ION) in neonates has been well described. The ION is already used in the pediatric population and is placed at an anatomic location distant from where chest compressions are performed. In this study we compared time to placement, errors in placement, and perceived ease of use for UVCs and IONs in a simulated delivery room.Forty health care providers were recruited. Subjects were shown an instructional video of both techniques and allowed to practice placement. Subjects participated in 2 simulated neonatal resuscitations requiring intravenous epinephrine. In 1 scenario they were required to place a UVC and in the other an ION. Scenarios were recorded for later analysis of placement time and error rate. Subjects were surveyed regarding the perceived level of difficulty of each technique.The average time required for ION placement was 46 seconds faster than for UVC placement (P < .001). There was no significant difference in the number of errors between UVC and ION placement or in perceived ease of use.In a simulated delivery room setting, ION placement can be performed more quickly than UVC insertion without any difference in technical error rate or perceived ease of use. ION insertion should be considered when rapid intravenous access is required in the neonate at the time of birth, especially by health care professionals who do not routinely place UVCs.

View details for DOI 10.1542/peds.2011-0657

View details for Web of Science ID 000295406800022

View details for PubMedID 21930542

A National Survey of Pediatric Residents and Delivery Room Training Experience JOURNAL OF PEDIATRICS Lee, H. C., Chitkara, R., Halamek, L. P., Hintz, S. R. 2010; 157 (1): 158-U211

Abstract

To investigate current delivery room training experience in US pediatric residency programs and the relationship between volume of delivery room training and confidence in neonatal resuscitation skills.Links to a web-based survey were sent to pediatric residency programs and distributed to residents. The survey concerned delivery room attendance during training and comfort level in leading neonatal resuscitation for various scenarios. Comfort level was rated on a 1 to 9 scale. Mixed models accounted for residency programs as random effects.For PL-3s, the mean number of deliveries attended was 60 (standard deviation, 43), ranging from 13 to 143 deliveries for individual residency programs. Residents' confidence level in leading neonatal resuscitation was higher when attending more deliveries, with 90.3% of those attending>48 deliveries having average score 5 or greater vs 51.5% of those attending<21 deliveries. Higher attendance also correlated with confidence in endotracheal intubation and umbilical line placement.Wide variability existed within and among residency programs in number of deliveries attended. Volume of experience correlated with confidence in leading neonatal resuscitation and related procedural skills.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.01.029

View details for Web of Science ID 000278649200037

View details for PubMedID 20304418

A National Survey of Pediatric Residents and Delivery Room Training Experience Journal of Pediatrics Lee, H., Chitkara R, Halamek LP, Hintz SR 2010; 157 (1): 158-161
Delivery Room Management of the Newborn PEDIATRIC CLINICS OF NORTH AMERICA Rajani, A. K., Chitkara, R., Halamek, L. P. 2009; 56 (3): 515-?

Abstract

Neonatal resuscitation is an attempt to facilitate the dynamic transition from fetal to neonatal physiology. This article outlines the current practices in delivery room management of the neonate. Developments in cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques for term and preterm infants and advances in the areas of cerebral resuscitation and thermoregulation are reviewed. Resuscitation in special circumstances (such as the presence of congenital anomalies) are also covered. The importance of communication with other members of the health care team and the family is discussed. Finally, future trends in neonatal resuscitation are explored.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pcl.2009.03.003

View details for Web of Science ID 000267523700006

View details for PubMedID 19501690

Pediatric Resident Attendance at Deliveries Journal of Investigative Medicine Chitkara R, Lee HC, Hintz SR 2009; 57 (1): 504
Visual Diagnosis: Prenatally Diagnosed Abdominal Cystic Mass Neoreviews 2007 8: e554 Chitkara R, Lee HC 2007; 8: e554