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Researchers test new treatment for children with acute respiratory distress syndrome

Last Update 06/04/2021

Scientists in the USA have tested a new steroid treatment for children with acute respiratory distress syndrome.


Scientists in the USA have tested a new steroid treatment for children with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

ARDS is a life-threatening condition where the lungs are unable to effectively provide enough oxygen for the rest of the body.

People with ARDS usually receive a series of different treatments, including mechanical ventilation, which helps the lungs to breathe artificially. There are currently no drugs to treat the condition.

In this new study, published in the journal, Frontiers in Pediatrics, researchers investigated whether a low dose of a type of drug called a corticosteroid could be an effective form of treatment for children with the condition.

Doctors gave the drug to a small group of children who were in the early stages of ARDS and on mechanical ventilation. Another similar small group of children was given a placebo – a ‘dummy’ drug that contains no active ingredient – and the researchers compared the way both groups responded.

They found that the children who were given the corticosteroid had less inflammation in their lungs and had better levels of ventilation and oxygen in their blood than those who had the placebo.

However, taking the corticosteroid did not seem to affect overall survival rate or the length of time a child needed to be on mechanical ventilation.

The development of this potential treatment is still in the early stages, but the scientists believe that these findings are promising. In the next phases of their research, they hope to work with larger groups of children as well as learn more about how patient characteristics affect treatment response so that treatment approaches can be tailored.

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Visit our page on ARDS to learn more about the condition

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