Objective: To assess long and short-term effect of prednisolone in hospitalized infants with bronchiolitis.
Methodology: A randomized and controlled trial was carried out at the Federal University of Rio Grande, Rio Grande-RS, Brazil. Twenty-eight patients were randomly allocated prednisolone (1 mg/kg/day for 5 days) plus standard care, and 24 patients allocated standard care alone. The primary endpoint was the prevalence of post-bronchiolitis wheezing at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months after hospital discharge. The secondary endpoints were: length of hospital stay, duration of oxygen therapy and time to clinical improvement during the hospitalization.
Results: There were no significant differences between the prednisolone and control group in the prevalence of post-bronchioltis wheezing at 1 month (73.1 vs 83.3%, P = 0.5), 3 months (73.1 vs 79.2%, P = 0.7), 6 months (65.4 vs 66.7%, P = 0.9) and 12 months (50.0 vs 58.3%, P = 0.5) after hospital discharge. No reduction was observed in the prednisolone group, compared with the control group, in terms of length of hospital stay (6.0 vs 5.0 days, P = 0.7), duration of oxygen therapy (24.0 vs 24.0 h, P = 0.4) and time to clinical resolution (4.0 vs 4.0 days, P = 0.8).
Conclusions: Prednisolone has no significant effect on reducing the prevalence of post-bronchiolitis wheezing and on improving the acute course of illness in hospitalized infants with bronchiolitis.