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J Perinatol. 2006 Nov;26(11):667-70. Epub 2006 Oct 5.

New insights into spontaneous intestinal perforation using a national data set (3): antenatal steroids have no adverse association with spontaneous intestinal perforation.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.



To examine whether antenatal steroids (ANS), alone or with early indomethacin, are associated with spontaneous intestinal perforation (SIP). SIP is a known complication of concurrent post-natal administration of glucocorticoid and indomethacin in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants.


A large de-identified national data set was retrospectively examined for infants with SIP without any report of other malformation or necrotizing entrocolitis. A control group was then derived matching for gender and birth weight (+/- 20 g). Pre- and post-natal variables were tested by both univariate and multivariate analysis to identify associations with SIP.


From January 1996 to June 2004, there were 2 27 711 discharges from Pediatrix neonatal intensive care unit sites. From this population 388 infants with SIP associated with ELBW were compared to matched controls. Infants with SIP were more likely to have received early indomethacin and to have received a combination of early indomethacin with post-natal glucocorticoids (P < 0.05 for both). When used alone (without subsequent indomethacin), ANS showed no association with SIP. When used in conjunction with indomethacin, ANS did not increase the rate of SIP beyond indomethacin alone.


ELBW Infants that acquire SIP were more likely to have been exposed to early indomethacin and post-natal glucocorticoids. However, no association was found between SIP and ANS within a well-powered cohort.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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