Long-term effects on lung size and lung mechanics were sought in a 12-month follow-up study of 15 infants of very low birthweight (less than 1500 g), 7 of whom had been exposed to antepartum dexamethasone (mean dose 21 mg). None of the infants had significant neonatal respiratory disease. No differences were found between the dexamethasone-treated and control groups for thoracic gas volume, dynamic pulmonary compliance, or airways resistance during the first year of life. This suggests that the growth and development of the lungs are not adversely affected by antepartum exposure to dexamethasone.
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