Effect of dexamethasone exposure on the neonatal unit on the school age lung function of children born very prematurely

Christopher Harris, Siobhan Crichton, Sanja Zivanovic, Alan Lunt, Sandy Calvert, Neil Marlow, Janet L. Peacock, Anne Greenough*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine the impact of postnatal dexamethasone treatment on the neonatal unit on the school age lung function of very prematurely born children. Children born prior to 29 weeks of gestational age had been entered into a randomised trial of two methods of neonatal ventilation (United Kingdom Oscillation Study). They had comprehensive lung function measurements at 11 to 14 years of age. One hundred and seventy-nine children born at a mean gestational age of 26.9 (range 23–28) weeks were assessed at 11 to 14 years; 50 had received postnatal dexamethasone. Forced expiratory flow at 75% (FEF75), 50%, 25% and 25–75% of the expired vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in one second, peak expiratory flow and forced vital capacity and lung volumes including total lung capacity and residual volume were assessed. Lung function outcomes were compared between children who had and had not been exposed to dexamethasone after adjustment for neonatal factors using linear mixed effects regression. After adjustment for confounders all the mean spirometry results were between 0.38 and 0.87 standard deviations lower in those exposed to dexamethasone compared to the unexposed. For example, the mean FEF75 z-score was 0.53 lower (95% CI 0.21 to 0.85). The mean lung function was lower as the number of courses of dexamethasone increased. In conclusion, postnatal dexamethasone exposure was associated with lower mean lung function at school age in children born extremely prematurely. Our results suggest the larger the cumulative dose the greater the adverse effect on lung function at follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29985964
Pages (from-to)e0200243
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume13
Issue number7
Early online date9 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2018

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