Surfactant and budesonide for respiratory distress syndrome: an observational study

In preterm infants on moderately high ventilator support, the addition of budesonide to surfactant lowered bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) rates by 20% without increased morbidity or mortality. The aim of this cohort comparison was to determine the safety and efficacy of the combination in infants with milder respiratory distress syndrome (RDS).


In August 2016 we began administering budesonide (0.25 mg/kg) mixed with surfactant (Survanta 4 mL/kg) to all infants ≤ 1250 g who failed CPAP and required intubation. Infants were compared to a historical cohort (2013-2016) who received surfactant alone.


BPD or death did not change between the historical surfactant cohort (71%, n = 294) and the budesonide cohort (69%, n = 173). Budesonide was associated with a decrease in the need for continued mechanical ventilation, severe BPD type II or death (19-12%), grade III BPD or death (31-21%), and the median gestational age at discharge was 1 week earlier. Histologic chorioamnionitis was associated with decreased budesonide effects. Secondary morbidities (NEC, IVH, ROP, Sepsis) were similar.


Overall BPD rates remained unchanged with the addition of budesonide. Budesonide was associated with decreased severity of BPD, decreased mechanical ventilation use, earlier discharge, and similar short-term outcomes.