Neonatal periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage after maternal beta-sympathomimetic tocolysis. The March of Dimes Multicenter Study Group

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1992 Oct;167(4 Pt 1):873-9. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(12)80004-4.


Objective: Our objective was to determine if the rate of periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage is increased in the offspring of women who received a beta-sympathomimetic agent as part of the management of preterm labor.

Study design: This retrospective study consists of 2827 women who were delivered of a singleton, live infant free of congenital neurologic anomalies between 25 and 36 completed weeks of gestation during a multicenter preterm birth prevention trial. The data were analyzed, adjusting for type of tocolytic agent, race, infant sex, gestational age, birth weight, health care center, route of delivery, indication for delivery, intrapartum fetal distress, respiratory distress syndrome, and neonatal sepsis.

Results: The overall incidence of periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage in this population was 5.6%. In a univariate analysis in which no adjustment was made for potentially confounding variables, beta-sympathomimetic tocolysis was found to be associated with nearly a fourfold increase in the incidence of periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage when compared with the use of either magnesium sulfate or no tocolytic agent. The results of a multivariate regression analysis revealed that beta-sympathomimetic agents were associated with a statistically significant increase in the overall incidence of periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage (odds ratio 2.47, 95% confidence interval 1.34 to 4.56, p = 0.004) and a similar, but not significant, increase in the incidence of grades 3 and 4 periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage (odds ratio 2.50, 95% confidence interval 0.96 to 6.48, p = 0.06).

Conclusion: beta-Sympathomimetic tocolytic therapy may be associated with a more than twofold increase in the incidence of neonatal periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / chemically induced*
  • Cerebral Ventricles*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sympathomimetics / adverse effects*
  • Tocolytic Agents / adverse effects*


  • Sympathomimetics
  • Tocolytic Agents