Hosp Pediatr. 2022 Sep 15:e2022006567. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2022-006567. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: To compare the effectiveness of dexamethasone versus prednisone or prednisolone on hospital resource utilization for children hospitalized with acute croup.
METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort study of the Pediatric Health Information System database on children aged 6 months to <6 years who were hospitalized with acute croup between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2019. Children with a chronic complex condition, transferred from outside hospital, and/or received direction admission to ICU were excluded. Propensity score matching was used to compare length of stay (in hours), escalation of care to ICU, and the need for bronchoscopy with exposure to dexamethasone versus prednisone or prednisolone. We also compared rates of 7 day return to the emergency department and readmissions.
RESULTS: A total of 11 740 hospitalizations met inclusion criteria; dexamethasone was used in 95.9%; prednisone or prednisolone was used in 4.1%. In the matched cohort (n = 960), the length of stay was not significantly different between the dexamethasone and prednisone or prednisolone groups (21.3 vs 18.5 hours, P = .35). Although the rates bronchoscopy did not differ between the 2 groups, the dexamethasone cohort was more likely to require ICU transfer (P = .007). The rates of 7-day emergency department returns (2.3% vs 1.3%, P = .24) and readmissions (3.1% vs. 2.1%, P = .37) were low and not statistically different.
CONCLUSIONS: Hospital resource utilization did not differ significantly for children receiving dexamethasone or prednisone or prednisolone for acute croup. Both corticosteroids may be considered reasonable choices for the treatment of children hospitalized with acute croup.