Follow-up of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of dexamethasone to decrease the duration of ventilator dependency in very low birth weight infants: neurodevelopmental outcomes at 4 to 11 years of age.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE High doses of dexamethasone reduce the risk of chronic lung disease among premature infants but may increase the risk of developmental impairments. The objective of this study was to compare developmental outcomes beyond infancy for children who, as neonates, participated in a randomized trial of dexamethasone. PATIENTS AND METHODS One hundred eighteen children with birth weights <1500 g were randomly assigned at 15 to 25 days of life to a 42-day tapering course of dexamethasone or placebo. All 95 survivors were assessed by using standardized measures of developmental outcome at least once at or beyond 1 year of age, and 84 were examined at 4 to 11 years. For this follow-up study, the outcome of primary interest was death or major neurodevelopmental impairment, which was defined as cerebral palsy, cognitive impairment, or blindness. RESULTS On the basis of each child's most recent follow-up, the rates of major neurodevelopmental impairments were 40% for the dexamethasone group and 20% for the placebo group. The higher impairment rate for the dexamethasone group was mainly attributed to a higher prevalence of cerebral palsy. Rates of the composite outcome of death or major neurodevelopmental impairment were 47% and 41%, respectively. CONCLUSION A 42-day tapering course of dexamethasone, which was shown previously to decrease the risk of chronic lung disease in very low birth weight infants, does not increase the risk of the composite outcome of death or major neurodevelopmental impairment.

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@article{Oshea2007FollowupOA, title={Follow-up of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of dexamethasone to decrease the duration of ventilator dependency in very low birth weight infants: neurodevelopmental outcomes at 4 to 11 years of age.}, author={T Michael O'shea and Lisa K. Washburn and Patricia A. Nixon and Donald J Goldstein}, journal={Pediatrics}, year={2007}, volume={120 3}, pages={594-602} }