Dexamethasone for treatment of patients mechanically ventilated for lower respiratory tract infection caused by respiratory syncytial virus
- J B M van Woensel1,
- W M C van Aalderen1,
- W de Weerd3,
- N J G Jansen2,5,
- J P J van Gestel2,
- D G Markhorst4,
- A J van Vught2,
- A P Bos1,
- J L L Kimpen2
- 1Emma Children’s Hospital Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- 2Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands
- 3Beatrix Children’s Hospital, Academic Hospital Groningen, The Netherlands
- 4VU Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- 5University Hospital, Maastricht, The Netherlands
- Correspondence to:
Dr J B M van Woensel, Academic Medical Center, Emma Children’s Hospital, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit G8ZW, P O Box 22660, 1100 DD Amsterdam, The Netherlands;
- Accepted 6 January 2003
- Revised 11 December 2002
Background: A study was undertaken to evaluate the efficacy of dexamethasone in patients mechanically ventilated for lower respiratory infection caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV-LRTI).
Methods: In a multicentre randomised controlled trial patients were randomised to receive either intravenous dexamethasone (0.15 mg/kg 6 hourly for 48 hours) or placebo. End points were the duration of mechanical ventilation, length of stay (LOS) in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and in hospital, and the duration of supplemental oxygen administration.
Results: Thirty seven patients received dexamethasone and 45 received placebo. There was no significant difference in any of the end points between the two groups. In a post hoc analysis patients were stratified into those with mild gas exchange anomalies (Pao2/Fio2 >200 mm Hg and/or mean airway pressure ⩽ 10 cm H2O, bronchiolitis group) and those with severe gas exchange anomalies (Pao2/Fio2 ⩽200 mm Hg and mean airway pressure >10 cm H2O, pneumonia group). In the 39 patients with bronchiolitis the duration of mechanical ventilation was 4.3 days shorter in the dexamethasone group than in the placebo group (4.9 v 9.2 days, 95% CI −7.8 to −0.8, p=0.02) and the duration of supplemental oxygen was 3.6 days shorter (7.7 v 11.3 days, 95% CI −8.0 to −0.1, p=0.048). No differences in end points were found in the pneumonia group.
Conclusions: Dexamethasone had no beneficial effect in patients mechanically ventilated for RSV-LRTI but was found to have a beneficial effect in patients with bronchiolitis.