Hydrocortisone is effective in increasing blood pressure, with few other acute side-effects in the sick preterm infant. However, benefit data and long-term safety data are unknown.
It is likely that it works by improving the immature neonatal stress response (due to relative adrenal insufficiency) and by increasing the number of receptors sites for inotropes.
Reference: Ibrahim H, Sinha IP, Subhedar NV. Corticosteroids for treating hypotension in preterm infants. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD003662. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003662.pub4.
Previously published: 24/07/14