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Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Aug;102(2):352-5.

Antenatal corticosteroids: are incomplete courses beneficial?

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Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York 11794-8091, USA.



To assess the effectiveness of an incomplete course of antenatal corticosteroids on perinatal morbidity and mortality. METHOSD: We studied consecutive neonates born at 23-34 weeks' gestation between January 1, 1998, and July 31, 2002. The study population was divided into a group exposed to one 12-mg dose of betamethasone before delivery and a non-corticosteroid-exposed group, which were compared for various perinatal outcome variables. The Student t test, chi(2), Fisher exact tests, and logistic regression were used for analysis.


One hundred twenty-five neonates (55.6%) were exposed to one 12-mg dose of betamethasone before delivery, whereas 104 neonates (45.4%) did not receive antenatal corticosteroids. Mean gestational age at delivery (28.4 +/- 3.1 weeks versus 29.7 +/- 3.5 weeks, P =.002) and birth weight (1189 +/- 409 g versus 1289 +/- 441 g, P =.07) were lower among the steroid-exposed group. Adjusting for gestational age, one dose of betamethasone was associated with significant reduction in the need for vasopressors (odds ratio [OR] 0.35; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.14, 0.85; P =.02), the rate of intraventricular hemorrhage (OR 0.42; 95%CI 0.19, 0.92; P =.03), and neonatal death (OR 0.31; 95% CI 0.11, 0.86; P =.02). There were no differences between groups in the rate of clinical and histological chorioamnionitis, low Apgar scores, postnatal surfactant exposure, respiratory distress syndrome, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, necrotizing enterocolitis, patent ductus arteriosus, retinopathy of prematurity, and neonatal sepsis.


An incomplete course of antenatal corticosteroids is associated with reduction in the need for vasopressors, the rate of intraventricular hemorrhage, and neonatal death in preterm neonates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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