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Acta Paediatr. 2005 Jul;94(7):866-71.

Dexamethasone inhalations in RSV bronchiolitis: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

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Pediatric Pulmonology Unit, Meyer Children's Hospital, Rambam Medical Center, and the Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.



To evaluate the effect of inhaled dexamethasone on hospitalization for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis.


A double-blind, placebo-controlled study compared nebulization of dexamethasone versus nebulization of 0.9% saline. Both groups were treated with epinephrine nebulizations. Follow-up continued for 3 mo.


Sixty-one infants with bronchiolitis aged 3 to 12 mo were included. They were randomly allocated to nebulizations with 0.25 mg dexamethasone every 6 h (group 1) or an equivalent amount of normal saline (group 2).


No statistically significant differences with respect to clinical score, oxygen saturation, or IV fluid requirement between the groups were noted. Using Kaplan-Meyer's method, the cumulative proportion of in-hospital stay was significantly lower in group 1 compared with group 2, mainly in days 5 and 6 post-hospitalization (p<0.038). A subgroup of prematurely born children in group 1 had a shorter hospitalization period (6.5+/-1.7 d) compared with group 2 children (9.1+/-1.9) (p<0.018). Follow-up revealed similar wheeze and hospitalization rates in the two groups.


Inhaled dexamethasone may reduce the length of hospitalization among infants with acute viral bronchiolitis, especially among those born prematurely.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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