Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Cerebral haemodynamics in preterm infants after exposure to dexamethasone


AIM To determine changes in brain haemodynamics produced by dexamethasone; to evaluate the pathophysiological conditions involved in the effect of dexamethasone.

METHODS A prospective study was made of 12 ventilated preterm infants who received dexamethasone (0.25 mg/kg/12 hours) for ongoing chronic lung disease or extubation failure. Cerebral blood flow (CBF), absolute cerebral blood volume (CBV), and cerebral blood volume changes (ΔCBV) were estimated by near infrared spectroscopy, before and 10, 30, 60, 120, 180 and 240 minutes after the first, third, and fifth doses of dexamethasone. All patients were monitored continuously using pulse oximetry, transcutaneous blood gases, and blood pressure.

RESULTS There were significant short term changes in ΔCBV on each day of the study; ΔCBV increased significantly at 240 minutes compared with values before the first dose, and from 120 minutes onward during the third and fifth doses. However, mean CBV values averaged over 240 minutes after the first, third, and fifth doses did not vary. Mean CBF values averaged over 240 minutes increased progressively up to the fifth dose (significant differences between the first and fifth dose). The short term changes in CBF consisted of a significant increase 60 minutes after dexamethasone administration compared with the before and 10 minute values in every study. Blood pressure was significantly higher in the third and fifth doses than in the first dose. Blood pressure showed no short term changes. There was no correlation between CBF and blood pressure changes. TcPCO2 (transcutaneous PCO2) decreased significantly throughout the study period, with the average mean value in the fifth dose significantly lower than in the first dose. Nevertheless, no short term changes in TcPCO2were observed.

CONCLUSIONS Postnatal systemic dexamethasone administration produced significant changes in cerebral haemodynamics that seemed to be related to both a direct effect on regional vessel walls and the cumulative effect of dexamethasone.

  • dexamethasone
  • cerebral haemodynamics
  • near infrared spectroscopy

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.