Objective. To determine if antenatal steroids decrease the amount of blood pressure support required by extremely premature infants between 23 and 27 weeks' gestation.
Design. Retrospective cohort study.
Setting. Texas Children's Hospital neonatal intensive care unit from January 1986 to December 1991.
Participants. Two hundred forty premature infants between 23 and 27 weeks' gestation who survived at least 48 hours.
Main outcome measures. The amount of blood pressure support received in the form of dopamine and colloid. Secondary analysis investigated differences in mortality, respiratory support requirements, the incidence of intraventricular hemorrhage, necrotizing enterocolitis, infection, retinopathy of prematurity requiring surgery, and the length of hospitalization.
Results. During the first 48 hours of life, premature newborns exposed to antenatal corticosteroids were less likely to receive dopamine for blood pressure support (47% vs 67%), and if they did, the amount of dopamine expressed as a dopamine score was less than that received by those infants not exposed to antenatal corticosteroids (281 ± 240 vs 407 ± 281). Those exposed to antenatal corticosteroids also had a lower mortality rate (8% vs 24%) and lower respiratory support requirements. The incidence of grade 3 or 4 intraventricular hemorrhage was 8% in infants exposed to antenatal corticosteroids and 17% in infants not exposed. No difference was found in the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis, infection, or retinopathy of prematurity requiring surgery, or length of hospitalization.
Conclusion. Receipt of antenatal corticosteroids is associated with less need for blood pressure support during the first 48 hours after birth in premature infants between 23 and 27 weeks' gestation.
- Received February 9, 1994.
- Accepted October 17, 1994.
- Copyright © 1995 by the American Academy of Pediatrics