Because of substantial clinical and laboratory evidence of the efficacy of glucocorticoids in the treatment of acute pulmonary surfactant deficiency in preterm newborns, we explored the hypothesis that maternal antenatal glucocorticoid receipt is followed by reduced risk of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). A sample of 223 intubated infants weighing less than 1751 g birth weight provided 76 infants with BPD (defined by both oxygen requirement and compatible chest radiograph) and 147 who had neither BPD characteristic by day 28 of life. When compared to babies who received a complete and timely course of antenatal glucocorticoids, those whose mothers received no glucocorticoids were at prominently increased risk of BPD (odds ratio = 3.0; 95% confidence interval = 1.1, 8.2). Babies whose mothers received a partial course of glucocorticoids were not at increased risk of BPD (odds ratio = 1.3; 95% confidence interval = 0.4, 4.3). Stratification by gender and birth weight at 1 kg showed a benefit of therapy in all strata except that of extremely low birth weight male infants. These data support the hypothesis that maternal antenatal glucocorticoid therapy offers very low birth weight infants protection against BPD.
- Received May 30, 1989.
- Accepted September 8, 1989.
- Copyright © 1990 by the American Academy of Pediatrics