OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this work was to determine whether oral prednisolone is effective in weaning infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia, after 36 weeks' postmenstrual age, off supplemental oxygen and to identify factors associated with successful weaning.

METHODS. Data were abstracted from a standardized prospectively collected database at the John Dempsey Hospital NICU. Logistic regression and receiver operating curve analyses were used.

RESULTS. Of 385 infants, 131 (34%) received oral prednisolone and 254 (66%) did not. There was no significant difference in race, gender, birth weight, or gestational age between the groups receiving and not receiving oral prednisolone. Infants in the oral prednisolone group were more likely to have received previous dexamethasone therapy, had longer duration of mechanical ventilation, had longer length of hospital stay, and were more likely to be discharged from the hospital on oxygen. Of those in the oral prednisolone group, 63% responded to treatment. Pulmonary acuity score and Pco2 were the only parameters that remained significant on multiple logistic regression analyses. The oral prednisolone-responsive group had a lower pulmonary acuity score compared with the oral prednisolone-nonresponsive group. A pulmonary acuity score value of ≤0.5 had a sensitivity of 20% and specificity of 97.4%, with positive and negative predictive values of 94.1% and 42.1%, respectively. Capillary Pco2 values were significantly lower in the oral prednisolone-responsive group compared with the oral prednisolone-nonresponsive group. In predicting a successful response to oral prednisolone, a capillary Pco2 value of <48.5 mmHg had a sensitivity of 50% and specificity of 89.7%, with positive and negative predictive values of 89.1% and 51.8%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS. Oral prednisolone therapy is effective in weaning off supplemental oxygen in a postterm infant with oxygen-dependent bronchopulmonary dysplasia who has a pulmonary acuity score of <0.5 and Pco2 of <48.5 mmHg. In addition, if a single course of prednisolone fails, there is no clear benefit of using multiple courses.

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