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Effects of a single course of corticosteroids given more than 7 days before birth: A systematic review

Authors

  • Kristin J. McLaughlin,

    1. 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Adelaide University, Adelaide, Australia, 2Clinical Trials Research Unit, Auckland and 3Departments of Obstetrics and Paediatrics, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
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  • 1 Caroline A. Crowther,

    Corresponding author
    1. 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Adelaide University, Adelaide, Australia, 2Clinical Trials Research Unit, Auckland and 3Departments of Obstetrics and Paediatrics, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
      : Caroline Crowther, Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Adelaide, First Floor, Queen Victoria Building, Women's and Children's Hospital, 72 King William Road, North Adelaide, South Australia 5006 Australia. Email: caroline.crowther@adelaide.edu.au
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  • 1 Natalie Walker,

    1. 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Adelaide University, Adelaide, Australia, 2Clinical Trials Research Unit, Auckland and 3Departments of Obstetrics and Paediatrics, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
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  • and 2 Jane E. Harding 3

    1. 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Adelaide University, Adelaide, Australia, 2Clinical Trials Research Unit, Auckland and 3Departments of Obstetrics and Paediatrics, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
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: Caroline Crowther, Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Adelaide, First Floor, Queen Victoria Building, Women's and Children's Hospital, 72 King William Road, North Adelaide, South Australia 5006 Australia. Email: caroline.crowther@adelaide.edu.au

Abstract

Objectives: To determine the risk of fetal, neonatal and maternal mortality and morbidity for women and their infants who remained undelivered more than 7 days following a course of prenatal corticosteroids.

Design: Systematic review.

Population: Women who gave birth more than 7 days after a course of prenatal corticosteroids compared with women not administered corticosteroids.

Methods: Seven randomised controlled trials were identified which reported outcomes for women and their babies who remained undelivered more than 7 days after exposure to a single course of corticosteroids compared with a placebo/no treatment group.

Main outcome measures: Fetal, neonatal and maternal mortality and morbidity.

Results: Seven trials involving 862 infants, 434 born to corticosteroid treated women and 428 to control women were included in this review. For corticosteroid treated infants there was no reduction in the risk of respiratory distress syndrome (relative risk (RR), 0.72; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.49–1.07), or stillbirth (RR, 1.67; 95% CI, 0.86–3.25). However, there was a tripling in risk of death for liveborn corticosteroid treated infants (RR, 3.24; 95% CI, 1.32–7.96; P = 0.01), and a doubling in risk of perinatal mortality (RR, 2.13; 95% CI, 1.27–3.57; P < 0.01). Corticosteroid treated infants were born on average 5 days earlier than controls (95% CI, −9.15 to −0.85 days, P = 0.02). Their mothers were more likely to have chorioamnionitis (RR, 2.91; 95% CI, 1.25–6.74; P = 0.01).

Conclusions: Infants exposed to corticosteroids more than 7 days before birth had no reduction in risk of respiratory distress syndrome but increased perinatal mortality.

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