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Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet]. York (UK): Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK); 1995-.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet].

Role of fetal sex in the outcome of antenatal glucocorticoid treatment to prevent respiratory distress syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis

Review published: 2011.

Bibliographic details: Roberge S, Lacasse Y, Tapp S, Tremblay Y, Kari A, Liu J, Fekih M, Qublan HS, Amorim MM, Bujold E.  Role of fetal sex in the outcome of antenatal glucocorticoid treatment to prevent respiratory distress syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada 2011; 33(3): 216-226. [PubMed: 21453561]

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Antenatal glucocorticoid (AGC) therapy has been associated with a decrease in respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). While preterm males remain at greater risk of RDS than females, the role of fetal sex in AGC response is not well known.

OBJECTIVES: To review the available evidence regarding the effect of fetal sex in the prevention of RDS using AGC.

METHOD: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTs to compare the effect of AGC in male and female infants with regard to the rates of RDS, intra-ventricular hemorrhage (IVH) grades III and IV, and neonatal mortality. Random effects with 95% confidence intervals were assessed in both groups and relative risks were compared using mixed regression.

RESULTS: From 248 potentially eligible articles, we included eight in the analysis for a total of 1109 male and 968 female infants. Both male and female infants had a significant decrease in the risks, but no difference between the sexes was observed in terms of reduction in RDS (RR 0.50; 95% CI 0.33 to 0.77 for males, and RR 0.57; 95% CI 0.43 to 0.75 for females, P = 0.99), reduction in IVH (P = 0.98), and reduction in neonatal mortality (P = 0.43). In a sub-analysis, use of betamethasone was associated with a significant decrease in the rate of RDS in males (RR 0.29; 95% CI 0.15 to 0.57) but dexamethasone was not (RR 0.78; 95% CI 0.57 to 1.07). Conversely, dexamethasone use was significantly helpful in females (RR 0.51; 95% CI 0.32 to 0.81) but betamethasone was not (RR 0.62; 95% CI 0.38 to 1.00).

CONCLUSION: The effect of AGC for prevention of RDS is similar in females and males. However, futures studies should investigate the type of AGC according to fetal/neonatal sex.

CRD has determined that this article meets the DARE scientific quality criteria for a systematic review.

Copyright © 2014 University of York.

PMID: 21453561

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