Children's Hospital of Michigan Study Shows Steroid Treatment Improves Survival of Preterm Infants
DETROIT — A study from Children’s Hospital of Michigan and the CMU College of Medicine was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found that antenatal steroid treatment given at 21 or 22 weeks of gestation appears to improve survival and reduce complications among extremely preterm infants born at 22 or 23 weeks.
Antenatal steroid therapy given to mothers at risk of preterm delivery causes the fetal lungs to mature and has been shown to improve survival and reduce complications. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was led by Sanjay Chawla, M.D., Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine specialist at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and the Central Michigan University College of Medicine.
Last September the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine updated their guidelines, supporting the use of the steroid therapy at 22 weeks in some cases. However, there has been limited research on this treatment therapy for infants born before 24 weeks—those at greatest risk for death and disability.
CHM/CMU researches believe the result of this study provides additional evidence to support giving antenatal steroid therapy to pregnant women at risk for delivery at 22 weeks.
Of the infants exposed to complete treatment, 53.9% survived until hospital discharge compared to 37.5% with partial treatment and 35.5% with no treatment. Compared to infants receiving no treatment, the odds of survival for infants exposed to full treatment were 1.95 times as high. The odds for survival without such major complications as severe bleeding in the brain, severe lung disease, severe intestinal injury or premature eye disease needing treatment were 2.74 times as high.