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Postnatal dexamethasone, respiratory and neurodevelopmental outcomes at two years in babies born extremely preterm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gordon Qin, Jessica W Lo, Neil Marlow, Sandy A Calvert, Anne Greenough, Janet Peacock

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0181176
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - 19 Jul 2017


King's Authors


IMPORTANCE: Postnatal dexamethasone is associated with reduction in bronchopulmonary dysplasia. There remains, however, concern that its short-term benefits are accompanied by long-term adverse effects e.g. poorer neurodevelopmental outcomes.

OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to determine the effects of administration of postnatal dexamethasone on respiratory and neurodevelopmental outcome at two years of age after adjusting for neonatal and infant risk factors.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study included 412 infants born at 23-28 weeks of gestation, 29% had received postnatal dexamethasone. Two outcomes were examined, respiratory hospital admissions in the past 12 months and neurodevelopmental impairment. Logistic regression, adjusted for sex, birthweight z-score, gestation, maternal smoking, oxygen dependency at 36 weeks, airleak, patent ductus arteriosus, pulmonary haemorrhage, major ultrasound abnormality, mode of ventilation and age at assessment, was undertaken.

RESULTS: After adjustment, postnatal dexamethasone was associated with significantly increased proportions of both respiratory hospital readmission: (0.35 vs 0.15, difference = 0.20; 95% CI: 0.08, 0.31) and neurodevelopmental impairment (0.59 vs 0.45, difference = 0.14; 95% CI: 0.02, 0.26).

CONCLUSIONS: Postnatal dexamethasone use in extremely preterm infants is associated with increased risks of respiratory hospital admissions and neurodevelopmental impairment. These associations were not explained by excess neonatal morbidities.

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