Hydrocortisone treatment for bronchopulmonary dysplasia and brain volumes in preterm infants

J Pediatr. 2013 Sep;163(3):666-71.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.04.001. Epub 2013 May 21.


Objective: To assess whether there was an adverse effect on brain growth after hydrocortisone (HC) treatment for bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in a large cohort of infants without dexamethasone exposure.

Study design: Infants who received HC for BPD between 2005 and 2011 and underwent magnetic resonance imaging at term-equivalent age were included. Control infants born in Geneva (2005-2006) and Utrecht (2007-2011) were matched to the infants treated with HC according to segmentation method, sex, and gestational age. Infants with overt parenchymal pathology were excluded. Multivariable analysis was used to determine if there was a difference in brain volumes between the 2 groups.

Results: Seventy-three infants treated with HC and 73 matched controls were included. Mean gestational age was 26.7 weeks, and mean birth weight was 906 g. After correction for gestational age, postmenstrual age at time of scanning, the presence of intraventricular hemorrhage, and birth weight z-score, no differences were found between infants treated with HC and controls in total brain tissue or cerebellar volumes.

Conclusions: In the absence of associated parenchymal brain injury, no reduction in brain tissue or cerebellar volumes could be found at term-equivalent age between infants with or without treatment with HC for BPD.

Keywords: 3-Dimensional; 3D; BPD; Bronchopulmonary dysplasia; Echo time; HC; Hydrocortisone; IVH; Intraventricular hemorrhage; MR; MRI; Magnetic resonance; Magnetic resonance imaging; Repetition time; TE; TR.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / drug therapy*
  • Cerebellum / drug effects
  • Cerebellum / growth & development
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / adverse effects*
  • Hydrocortisone / therapeutic use
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Linear Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Hydrocortisone