Premature babies treated with steroids - a follow-up study
This research was completed on 31 July 2003
|Project Leader||Professor Henry L Halliday FRCP, Professor Neil Marlow DM, FRCP and Dr M Ann Johnson FRCP|
|Location||Regional Neonatal Unit, Royal Maternity Hospital, Belfast in conjunction with the Academic Division of Child Health, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham and the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Health Sciences, Oxford.|
|Grant awarded||13 July 2000|
|Start date||1 February 2001|
|End date||31 July 2003|
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Premature babies often develop respiratory problems and although improved methods of treatment have increased their survival rates, about 25% of them develop chronic lung disease (CLD). This brings huge emotional and financial costs. Paediatricians have tried to limit the severity of CLD with steroids - drugs which have already been used successfully in childhood asthma, and studies show that this treatment improves babies lungs, and allows them to be taken off respirators and go home earlier. Recently, however, there have been concerns about the side effects of using steroids particularly that this might increase the risk of cerebral palsy. Paediatricians and parents therefore face the dilemma of whether or not to use steroids to improve their babies' lungs and chances of survival, and take the risk of their developing cerebral palsy. This study will investigate the long term outcomes of 419 infants aged 3 to 6 years who were born prematurely and treated with steroids. The results will help paediatricians and parents decide the balance of benefits versus risks of this treatment.