Background: It is not known whether treatment with dexamethasone in the neonatal period may lead to reduced bone mineral density in childhood.
Methods: Anthropometric and bone densitometry measurements were taken of children aged 5–8 years who had chronic lung disease (CLD) in the neonatal period (n = 22). 15 of these children were treated with dexamethasone. A control group consisted of children born preterm who did not develop CLD (n = 29).
Results: Total body bone mineral content and bone mineral apparent density of the lumbar spine were lower in children whose CLD was treated with dexamethasone in the neonatal period, compared with the preterm controls.
Conclusion: Dexamethasone treatment in the neonatal period appears to cause impairment of mineralisation which persists into childhood.
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Funding:The study was funded by St Mary’s Hospital Neonatal Medical Unit Research Endowment fund.
Competing interests: None.
Ethical approval: The Central Manchester Local Research Ethics Committee study approved the study.