Objectives To study the comparative effectiveness of dexamethasone vs prednisone/prednisolone in children hospitalized with asthma exacerbation not requiring intensive care. Study design This multicenter retrospective cohort study, using the Pediatric Health Information System, included children aged 4-17 years who were hospitalized with a principal diagnosis of asthma between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2012. Children with chronic complex condition and/or initial intensive care unit (ICU) management were excluded. Propensity score matching was used to detect differences in length of stay (LOS), readmissions, ICU transfer, and cost between groups. Results 40 257 hospitalizations met inclusion criteria; 1166 (2.9%) received only dexamethasone. In the matched cohort (N = 1284 representing 34 hospitals), the LOS was significantly shorter in the dexamethasone group compared with the prednisone/prednisolone group. The proportion of subjects with a LOS of 3 days or more was 6.7% in the dexamethasone group and 12% in the prednisone/prednisolone group (P =.002). Differences in all-cause readmission at 7- and 30 days were not statistically significant. The dexamethasone group had lower costs of index admission ($2621 vs $2838; P <.001) and total episode of care (including readmissions) ($2624 vs $2856; P <.001) compared with the prednisone/prednisolone group. There were no clinical significant differences in ICU transfer or readmissions between groups. Conclusions Dexamethasone may be considered an alternative to prednisone/prednisolone for children hospitalized with asthma exacerbation not requiring admission to intensive care.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health