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Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 1997 Nov;77(3):F185-90.

Open randomised controlled trial of inhaled nitric oxide and early dexamethasone in high risk preterm infants.

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  • 1Institute of Child Health, University of Liverpool.



To determine whether treatment with inhaled nitric oxide (NO) and/or dexamethasone reduces the incidence of chronic lung disease (CLD) and/or death in high risk preterm infants.


Infants below 32 weeks of gestation were recruited at 96 hours of age if they were deemed to be at high risk of developing CLD. Infants were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups using a factorial design: (1) 5-20 parts per million inhaled NO for 72 hours; (2) 0.5-1 mg/kg/day intravenous dexamethasone for 6 days; (3) both drugs together; (4) continued conventional management.


Forty two infants were randomised: 10 infants received inhaled NO alone; 11 dexamethasone alone; 10 both treatments; and 11 neither treatment. There was no difference in the combined incidence of CLD and/or death before discharge from hospital between either infants treated with inhaled NO and controls (RR 1.05, 95% CI 0.84-1.25), or those treated with dexamethasone and controls (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.79-1.18).


At 96 hours of age, neither treatment with inhaled NO nor dexamethasone prevented CLD or death.

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