Neonatal morbidity after documented fetal lung maturity in late preterm and early term infants

Division of Neonatology and Pulmonary Biology, Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, OH 45229, USA.
American journal of obstetrics and gynecology (Impact Factor: 4.7). 06/2011; 204(6):518.e1-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2011.03.038
Source: PubMed


Fetal lung maturity often is used as the sole criterion that late preterm infants are ready for postnatal life. We therefore tested the hypothesis that fetal lung maturity testing does not predict the absence of morbidity in late preterm infants.
We performed a retrospective cohort study to examine 152 infants who were born in the late preterm (34 0/7 to 36 6/7 weeks) and early term (37 0/7 to 38 6/7 weeks) periods after mature fetal lung indices and compared them with 262 infants who were born at ≥39 weeks' gestation and who were matched by mode of delivery.
Despite documented fetal lung maturity, infants who were born at <39 weeks had significantly higher rates of neonatal morbidities compared with infants who were born at ≥39 weeks' gestation. After adjustment for significant covariates, we found that infants who were born at <39 weeks' gestation had an increased risk of composite adverse outcome (odds ratio, 3.66; 95% confidence interval, 1.48-9.09; P < .01).
Fetal lung maturity testing is insufficient to determine an infant's readiness for postnatal life.

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    • "Smaller cohort studies have previously demonstrated an increase in composite morbidity [11,16] in early term infants, as have studies of elective deliveries only [31,34]. Increased non respiratory morbidity in early term infants has been demonstrated in a cohort of infants with mature fetal lung indices [35]. Our study has a larger, population based sample of all deliveries with greater detail of the outcomes under study and confirms these findings after adjustment for both medical and social risk factors. "
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    ABSTRACT: Infants born late preterm (34 + 0 to 36 + 6 weeks GA (gestational age)) are known to have higher neonatal morbidity than term (37 + 0 to 41 + 6 weeks GA) infants. There is emerging evidence that these risks may not be homogenous within the term cohort and may be higher in early term (37 + 0 to 38 + 6 weeks GA). These risks may also be affected by socioeconomic status, a risk factor for preterm birth. A retrospective population based cohort of infants born at 34 to 41 weeks of GA was assembled; individual and area-level income was used to develop three socioeconomic (SES) groups. Neonatal morbidity was grouped into respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), other respiratory disorders, other complications of prematurity, admission to a Level II/III nursery and receipt of phototherapy. Regression models were constructed to examine the relationship of GA and SES to neonatal morbidity while controlling for other perinatal variables. The cohort contained 25 312 infants of whom 6.1% (n = 1524) were born preterm and 32.4% (n = 8203) were of low SES. Using 39/40 weeks GA as the reference group there was a decrease in neonatal morbidity at each week of gestation. The odds ratios remained significantly higher at 37 weeks for RDS or other respiratory disorders, and at 38 weeks for all other outcomes. SES had an independent effect, increasing morbidity with odds ratios ranging from 1.2-1.5 for all outcomes except for the RDS group, where it was not significant. The risks of morbidity fell throughout late preterm and early term gestation for both respiratory and non-respiratory morbidity. Low SES was associated with an independent increased risk. Recognition that the morbidities associated with prematurity continue into early term gestation and are further compounded by SES is important to develop strategies for improving care of early term infants, avoiding iatrogenic complications and prioritizing public health interventions.
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    ABSTRACT: To estimate whether antenatal corticosteroids given after fetal lung immaturity in pregnancies at 34 weeks of gestation or more would improve neonatal outcomes and, in particular, respiratory outcomes. We compared outcomes of 362 neonates born at 34 weeks of gestation or more after fetal lung maturity testing: 102 with immature fetal lung indices were treated with antenatal corticosteroids followed by planned delivery within 1 week; 76 with immature fetal lung indices were managed expectantly; and 184 were delivered after mature amniocentesis. Primary outcomes were composites of neonatal and respiratory morbidity. Compared with corticosteroid-exposed neonates those born after mature amniocentesis had lower rates of adverse neonatal (26.5% compared with 14.1%, adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.51, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.27-0.96) and adverse respiratory outcomes (9.8% compared with 3.3%, adjusted OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.11-0.98); newborns born after expectant management had significantly less respiratory morbidity (1.3% compared with 9.8%, adjusted OR 0.11, 95% CI 0.01-0.92) compared with corticosteroid-exposed newborns. Administration of antenatal corticosteroids after immature fetal lung indices did not reduce respiratory morbidity in neonates born at 34 weeks of gestation or more. Our study supports prolonging gestation until delivery is otherwise indicated. II.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Obstetrics and Gynecology
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