Effects of corticosteroids in very low birth weight newborns dependent on mechanical ventilation

Efeitos de corticosteróides em recém-nascidos de muito baixo peso, dependentes de ventilação mecânica

Corticosteroids have been used in bronchopulmonary dysplasia prevention because of their antiinflammatory effects. Among their effects is a decrease in the incidence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia. However, short- and long-term side effects have been detected in preterm newborns. PURPOSE: To analyze the effects of corticosteroids on bronchopulmonary dysplasia, length of stay, mortality, growth, as well as the adverse effects in very low birth weight newborns between 10 and 14 days of life and dependent on mechanical ventilation. METHODS: Cohort study. All newborns with a birth weight under 1500 g, mechanical ventilation-dependent between 10 and 14 days of life, during the period January 2000 and June 2001 were included (n = 38). They were divided into 2 groups: Group I with corticosteroids (n = 16) and Group II without corticosteroids (n = 22). Dexamethasone administration: from the 10th day of life, d1 - d3, 0.3 mg/kg/d; d4 - d6, 0.2 mg/kg/d; d7 - d9, 0.1 mg/kg/d. Respiratory evolution, bronchopulmonary dysplasia (oxygen dependence at 28 days of life), growth pattern and the presence of adverse effects were analyzed. RESULTS: The incidence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia was 6.5% (Group I) and 30% (Group II), P = .07. A decrease in growth was detected in Group I compared with Group II (change in weight: Group I - 47 g/week, Group II - 85.5 g/week, P = .06; change in head circumference: Group I - 0.75 cm/week, Group II - 1 cm/week, P = .05). CONCLUSION: Use of corticosteroids in very low birth weight infants dependent on mechanical ventilation during the first 10 to 14 days of life did not affect the respiratory evolution and occurrence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, but the velocity of growth was reduced.

Corticosteroids; Very low birth weight newborn; Bronchopulmonary dysplasia

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