Standardizing the Care of Children Receiving Chronic Glucocorticoid Therapy

A recent study (ML Basiaga et al. J Pediatr 2016; 179: 226-32) highlights the large variation in care for 701 children receiving  steroids (for at least 15 days) at a leading children’s hospital (CHOP).  I think, given the fact that this is a retrospective study and the huge variation in steroid exposure, the message regarding variation should not be taken that seriously.  But, the article does suggest that in children with chronic glucocorticoid therapy, several measures should be considered:

  • Bone health -particularly Vitamin D (25-OH) levels
  • Immunity -particularly assuring pneumococcal and influenza vaccines
  • Lipid screening
  • Stress steroid plan.  The authors indicate that the endocrinology society recommendations have included instructing parents in intramuscular hydrocortisone in case of vomiting or severe stress.

My take: Having a standard approach to an at-risk group makes sense, however, “whether implementation of preventive care guidelines improves outcomes in children” is not known.

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