Repeat doses of prenatal corticosteroids for women at risk of preterm birth for improving neonatal health outcomes.
ABSTRACT It has been unclear whether repeat dose(s) of prenatal corticosteroids are beneficial.
To assess the effectiveness and safety of repeat dose(s) of prenatal corticosteroids.
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (31 March 2011), searched reference lists of retrieved studies and contacted authors for further data.
Randomised controlled trials of women who had already received a single course of corticosteroids seven or more days previously and considered still at risk of preterm birth.
We assessed trial quality and extracted data independently.
We included 10 trials (more than 4730 women and 5650 babies) with low to moderate risk of bias. Treatment of women who remain at risk of preterm birth seven or more days after an initial course of prenatal corticosteroids with repeat dose(s), compared with no repeat corticosteroid treatment, reduced the risk of their infants experiencing the primary outcomes respiratory distress syndrome (risk ratio (RR) 0.83, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.75 to 0.91, eight trials, 3206 infants, numbers needed to treat (NNT) 17, 95% CI 11 to 32) and serious infant outcome (RR 0.84, 95% CI 0.75 to 0.94, seven trials, 5094 infants, NNT 30, 95% CI 19 to 79).Treatment with repeat dose(s) of corticosteroid was associated with a reduction in mean birthweight (mean difference (MD) -75.79 g, 95% CI -117.63 to -33.96, nine trials, 5626 infants). However, outcomes that adjusted birthweight for gestational age (birthweight Z scores, birthweight multiples of the median and small-for-gestational age) did not differ between treatment groups.At early childhood follow-up no statistically significant differences were seen for infants exposed to repeat prenatal corticosteroids compared with unexposed infants for the primary outcomes (total deaths; survival free of any disability or major disability; disability; or serious outcome) or in the secondary outcome growth assessments.
The short-term benefits for babies of less respiratory distress and fewer serious health problems in the first few weeks after birth support the use of repeat dose(s) of prenatal corticosteroids for women still at risk of preterm birth seven days or more after an initial course. These benefits were associated with a small reduction in size at birth. The current available evidence reassuringly shows no significant harm in early childhood, although no benefit.Further research is needed on the long-term benefits and risks for the woman and baby. Individual patient data meta-analysis may clarify how to maximise benefit and minimise harm.
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ABSTRACT: Power and precision are greater in meta-analyses than individual study analyses. However, dichotomisation of continuous outcomes in certain studies poses a problem as estimates from primary studies can only be pooled if they have a common outcome. Meta-analyses may include pooled summaries of either or both the continuous and dichotomous forms, and potentially have a different combination of studies for each depending on whether the outcome was dichotomised in the primary studies or not. This dual-outcome issue can lead to loss of power and/or selection bias. In this study we aimed to illustrate how dichotomisation of a continuous outcome in primary studies may result in biased estimates of pooled risk and odds ratios in meta-analysis using secondary analyses of published meta-analyses with the outcome, birthweight, which is commonly analysed both as continuous, and dichotomous (low birthweight: birthweight < 2,500 g).Systematic reviews. 06/2014; 3(1):63.
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ABSTRACT: Preterm birth is a leading cause of perinatal mortality and morbidity and continues to be one of the most common complications plaguing obstetrics and neonatology. Primary prevention of preterm birth remains the ultimate but elusive goal. However, efforts to curtail the impact of preterm birth are of great importance. Use of antenatal corticosteroids (ACSs) in threatened preterm labor has been one of the landmark interventions that have improved the neonatal outcome. Since the start of use of ACS: the acceptance has increased dramatically and now it has become the standard of care in threatened preterm labor. However, there are still many unresolved issues surrounding the usage of ACS. In this article, we attempt to synthesize the current available evidence and its application in our daily clinical scenarios.Expert Review of Obstetrics & Gynecology 01/2014; 8(6).
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ABSTRACT: The beneficial effects of antenatal steroids in women at risk of preterm birth are evident. A dose of 24 mg appears sufficient, but there are insufficient data to recommend betamethasone or dexamethasone, a single steroid dose, the optimal interval between doses and repeated courses, the gestational age at which treatment is beneficial and the long-term effects of steroid treatment. This review addresses these aspects of antenatal steroid treatment. Although the 12-h and 24-h dosing intervals are equivalent with respect to prevention of respiratory distress syndrome, the former enables the completion of treatment in 50% more neonates delivered prematurely. Reducing the single steroid dose in patients at risk for premature birth reduces the associated maternal side effects. An inverse relationship has been demonstrated between the number of corticosteroid courses and foetal growth. The reduced size of exposed foetuses has been attributed to birth at earlier gestational ages and decreased foetal growth. Evidence suggests that antenatal exposure to synthetic glucocorticoids in term-born children has long-lasting effects, which may have important implications in the recommendation of steroids before elective caesarean at term. The short-term and long-term effects of the dosage regimen on the pregnant mother and foetus remain unclear.Current opinion in obstetrics & gynecology 01/2014; · 2.49 Impact Factor