Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy associated with dexamethasone therapy for bronchopulmonary dysplasia

J Pediatr. 1992 Feb;120(2 Pt 1):286-91. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(05)80446-9.


The potential induction of cardiac effects by high-dose dexamethasone therapy was evaluated prospectively in 13 respirator-dependent infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia by means of two-dimensional and M-mode echocardiography. The initial divided dose of dexamethasone was 500 micrograms/kg per day, tapered progressively for as long as 6 weeks. Evaluations were made before treatment and at 3, 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, and 42 days after the start of dexamethasone therapy. This regimen was associated with a significant (p less than 0.01) increase in thickness of the interventricular septum (2.60 +/- 0.09 to 4.00 +/- 0.16 mm), diastolic left ventricular free wall (2.80 +/- 0.13 to 4.06 +/- 0.20 mm), and diastolic right ventricular free wall (1.55 +/- 0.08 to 2.02 +/- 0.12 mm). In addition, seven dexamethasone-treated infants but no control infants had systolic anterior motion of the mitral valve (p less than 0.001). These effects were transient, reached their maximal degree by the third week of treatment, and approached pretreatment conditions by the sixth week of treatment. Ejection fraction was not affected; heart rate and mean arterial pressure were transiently increased during dexamethasone therapy. We conclude that a transient absolute myocardial hypertrophy is associated with dexamethasone therapy in infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia. The mechanism or mechanisms through which this hypertrophy arises and the cardiopulmonary implications are unclear.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / drug therapy*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic / chemically induced*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic / diagnostic imaging
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic / physiopathology
  • Dexamethasone / administration & dosage
  • Dexamethasone / adverse effects*
  • Echocardiography
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Prospective Studies


  • Dexamethasone