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Contribution to the assessment of steroid therapy in the prevention of respiratory distress syndrome in the neonate.

By P. Guerrini, F. Vesce, F. Colla, S. Travagli and G. Cocilovo


The respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) is a physiological manifestation of neonatal pulmonary immaturity and it is still the major cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. In order to promote early fetal lung maturity when a preterm delivery is anticipated, a number of pharmacological agents have been investigated. Corticosteroids, in particular, have been extensively used and the results of several trials are reported in literature. A cohort of 246 consecutive singleton preterm infants, liveborn at the Obstetric Clinic of Ferrara University during a 5-year period, was studied to assess whether antenatal steroid therapy reduces the incidence of RDS. Respiratory distress developed in 18.6\% of 102 babies who received treatment and in 15.3\% of 144 controls, without difference at the statistical analysis. According to previous studies, a lower incidence of RDS was only observed in the treated females compared to non-treated controls (35\% vs 46\%) at the gestational age of 28-33 weeks. Since the efficacy of steroids seems to be restricted to a very small and specific group of babies, who, moreover are relatively mature by modern intensive care standards, the Authors suggest that the prevention of RDS and its related complications should rely much more on appropriate surveillance and management of the mother and infant than on specific pharmacological interventions

Topics: Adrenal Cortex Hormones, therapeutic use, Betamethasone, therapeutic use, Female, Gestational Age, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Infant, Premature, Male, Maternal-Fetal Exchange, Pregnancy, Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn, epidemiology/prevention /&/ control, Sex Characteristics
Year: 1990
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