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Review: glucocorticoids improve symptoms of croup within 6 hours

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QUESTION: In children with croup, what is the effectiveness of glucocorticoids on croup severity, necessity for additional interventions, length of hospital stay, and rate of hospitalisations?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline (1966 to August 1997), EMBASE/Excerpta Medica (1974 to August 1997), the Cochrane Library Controlled Trials Register; and by contacting the authors of trials published in the past 5 years.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were randomised controlled trials of glucocorticoids compared with placebo or another active treatment in patients with croup and if they included clinically relevant outcome measures (clinical score, length of hospital stay, or need for additional interventions).

Data extraction

Data were extracted on patient characteristics (inpatient or outpatient); details about the intervention and control (type of drug, route of administration, and dose); and outcomes. The main outcome measure was improvement from baseline …

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  • Source of funding: in part, Health Research Fund from the government of Spain.

  • For correspondence: Dr T P Klassen, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, 2C3.67 Walter C Mackenzie Health Sciences Center, Edmonton, AB T6G 2R7, Canada. Fax +1 780 407 8538.

  • A modified version of this abstract appears in Evidence-Based Medicine.