Cochrane Summaries

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Intravenous dexamethasone for extubation of newborn infants

Davis PG, Henderson-Smart DJ
Published Online: 
21 January 2009

Dexamethasone may help babies at high risk of complications when being taken off mechanical breathing support. The tube that is placed in the baby's airway to enable mechanical ventilation (machine-assisted breathing) can cause injury. This can lead to complications when the tube is removed (extubation). This review found that giving dexamethasone (a corticosteroid drug) around the time of extubation can help prevent swelling in the baby's throat that might require reinsertion of the tube. However, the review found that there are adverse effects of dexamethasone. The benefits only outweigh the risks for babies at high risk of complication (such as those who have received several, or prolonged, intubations).

This record should be cited as: 
Davis PG, Henderson-Smart DJ. Intravenous dexamethasone for extubation of newborn infants. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2001, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD000308. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000308
Assessed as up to date: 
23 October 2007