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Pediatr Pulmonol. 1998 Nov;26(5):332-8.

Chronic interstitial lung disease in children: response to high-dose intravenous methylprednisolone pulses.

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Department of Pediatric Pulmonology-INSERM U142, Hopital Trousseau, St Antoine Medical School, University of Paris, France.


The prognosis for children with chronic interstitial lung disease is poor and the mortality rate is high, especially in infants. This explains the many therapeutical protocols which have been proposed and investigated by several authors. In the present work, we evaluated the response of three infants with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis to high-dose intravenous prednisolone pulses. The patients were referred to the department at the age of 4, 17, and 3 months, respectively. The diagnosis was confirmed by open lung biopsy and intravenous pulse methyl prednisolone therapy was started with the following protocol: 300 mg/m2 methylprednisolone daily for 3 days, repeated every 4 to 6 weeks. Because of the extreme severity of the respiratory distress at the time of diagnosis, the intravenous pulse treatments were initially complemented by oral prednisone. Clinical improvement was noticed within 6 months with progressive correction of hypoxemia. After follow-up for 3.5 to 4 years, with a total number of pulses of 37, 26, and 32, respectively, the children are symptom-free and do not require oxygen supplementation. During this period, no side effects and no adrenal insufficiency could be documented. Based on current knowledge of steroid action, it can be speculated that the response to intermittent high-dose intravenous methylprednisolone may explain the ability of this mode of hormone administration to maintain an adequate level of glucocorticoid receptor expression. More information and trials through multicenter collaborations are needed to assess therapeutical protocols of repeated high-dose intravenous steroid treatment.

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