Antenatal corticosteroids promote survival of extremely preterm infants born at 22 to 23 weeks of gestation

J Pediatr. 2011 Jul;159(1):110-114.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.12.039. Epub 2011 Feb 22.


Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of antenatal corticosteroid (ACS) to improve neonatal outcomes for infants born at <24 weeks of gestation.

Study design: We performed a retrospective analysis of 11,607 infants born at 22 to 33 weeks of gestation between 2003 and 2007 from the Neonatal Research Network of Japan. We evaluated the gestational age effects of ACS administered to mothers with threatened preterm birth on several factors related to neonatal morbidity and mortality.

Results: By logistic regression analysis, ACS exposure decreased respiratory distress syndrome and severe intraventricular hemorrhage in infants born between 24 and 29 weeks of gestation. Cox regression analysis revealed that ACS exposure was associated with a significant decrease in mortality of preterm infants born at 22 or 23 weeks of gestation (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.53 to 0.97; P=.03). This effect was also observed at 24 to 25 and 26 to 27 weeks of gestation and in the overall study population.

Conclusions: ACS exposure improved survival of extremely preterm infants. ACS treatment should be considered for threatened preterm birth at 22 to 23 weeks of gestation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / mortality*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / prevention & control
  • Drug Utilization
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / mortality
  • Enterocolitis, Necrotizing / mortality
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / prevention & control
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / therapeutic use
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / mortality*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / prevention & control
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Pulmonary Surfactants