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Paediatr Child Health. 2012 Dec;17(10):573-4.

Postnatal corticosteroids to treat or prevent chronic lung disease in preterm infants.

[Article in English, French]


Postnatal corticosteroids have been used for prevention and treatment of neonatal chronic lung disease (CLD) (also know as bronchopulmonary dysplasia), a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in preterm infants. As both dexamethasone and hydrocortisone administration within the first seven days of life is associated with an increased risk of cerebral palsy, early postnatal corticosteroid therapy is not recommended to prevent CLD. After seven days of life, dexamethasone has been shown to decrease the rate of CLD at 36 weeks' postmenstrual age with less impact on neurodevelopmental outcome. No trials have examined whether the benefits of corticosteroids outweigh the adverse effects for infants at high risk of, or with, severe CLD. While routine dexamethasone therapy of all ventilated infants is not recommended, clinicians may consider a short course of low-dose dexamethasone for individual infants at high risk of or with severe CLD. There is no evidence that hydrocortisone is an effective or safe alternative to dexamethasone and little evidence to support routine use of inhaled corticosteroids for prevention or treatment. Inhaled corticosteroids may be considered as an alternative to dexamethasone for treating individual infants with severe CLD. This revision replaces a statement published jointly with the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2002.


Bronchopulmonary dysplasia; Chronic lung disease; Dexamethasone; Postnatal corticosteroids; Preterm infants


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