HealthDay News — Early use of steroids seems not to reduce hospital length of stay (LOS) for non-multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) COVID-19 in children, according to a study published online October 3 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Sandeep Tripathi, MD, from the Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria, and colleagues examined whether use of steroids within 2 days of admission for non-MIS-C COVID-19 in children is associated with hospital LOS in a cohort study. Data were provided by 58 hospitals in seven countries from March 2020 through September 2021; 1163 patients met the inclusion criteria.

The researchers found that 15.8% of the study population received steroids within 2 days of admission and 84.2% did not. Overall, 56.5% of the patients required respiratory support during hospitalization. In the steroids group, patients were older, with greater severity of illness overall; a greater proportion required respiratory and vasoactive support. Early steroid treatment was not significantly associated with hospital LOS on multivariable linear regression adjusted for multiple confounding variables (exponentiated coefficient, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.81 to 1.09; P =.42). No significant association was seen between steroids and LOS in separate analyses for patients with an LOS of 2 days or longer, those receiving respiratory support at admission, and propensity score-matched patients.

“The definitive determination of the potential benefit or harm from early steroid therapy for children with COVID-19 cannot be made from retrospective data,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical and medical technology companies, including Janssen Research & Development, which partially funded the study.

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