Objective. To determine whether prenatal exposure to betamethasone for the prevention of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) alters blood pressure in childhood.
Design. Prospective follow-up study of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Setting. National Women's Hospital (Auckland, New Zealand).
Participants. Two hundred twenty-three 6-year-old children of mothers who presented with unplanned premature labor and took part in a randomized, controlled trial of prenatal betamethasone therapy for the prevention of neonatal RDS.
Intervention. Mothers received 2 doses of betamethasone (12 mg) or placebo, administered through intramuscular injection, 24 hours apart.
Main Outcome Measures. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure at 6 years of age.
Results. Children exposed prenatally to betamethasone (n = 121) did not differ in systolic or diastolic blood pressure from children exposed to placebo (n = 102) (mean difference: systolic: −1.6 mm Hg; 95% confidence interval: −4.1 to 0.8 mm Hg; diastolic: −0.3 mm Hg; 95% confidence interval: −2.5 to 1.8 mm Hg).
Conclusion. Prenatal exposure to betamethasone for prevention of neonatal RDS does not alter blood pressure at 6 years of age.
- Accepted April 26, 2004.
- Copyright © 2004 by the American Academy of Pediatrics