Objectives: To investigate the efficacy of antenatal corticosteroid (ACS) therapy on short-term neonatal outcomes in preterm twins, and further document the influence of the ACS-to-delivery interval.
Design: EPIPAGE-2 is a nationwide observational multicentre prospective cohort study of neonates born between 22 and 34 completed weeks of gestation.
Setting: All French maternity units, except in a single administrative region, between March and December 2011.
Population: A total of 750 twin neonates born between 24 and 31 weeks of gestation.
Methods: Exposure to ACSs was examined in four groups: single complete course, with an ACS administration-to-delivery interval of ≤7 days; single complete course, with an ACS-to-delivery interval of >7 days; repeated courses; or no ACS treatment.
Main outcome measures: Neonatal outcomes analysed were severe bronchopulmonary dysplasia, periventricular leukomalacia or intraventricular haemorrhage grade III/IV, in-hospital mortality, and a composite indicator of severe outcomes.
Results: Compared with no ACSs, in multivariable analysis, a single course of ACSs with an administration-to-delivery interval of ≤7 days was significantly associated with a reduced rate of periventricular leukomalacia or intraventricular haemorrhage grade III/IV (aOR 0.2; CI 95% 0.1-0.5), in-hospital mortality (0.3; 0.1-0.6), and the composite indicator (0.1; 0.1-0.3), whereas a single course of ACDs with an administration-to-delivery interval of >7 days did not significantly reduce the frequency of in-hospital mortality (0.7; 0.3-1.8). No significant differences in terms of benefit or risk were found when comparing repeated courses with a single complete course.
Conclusion: In preterm twins, a single complete course of antenatal corticosteroids was associated with an improvement of severe neurological outcome, whereas reduced in-hospital mortality was seen only when the ACS-to-delivery interval was ≤7 days.
Tweetable abstract: A single complete course of antenatal steroids reduced severe neurological morbidity in preterm twins (24-31 weeks).
Keywords: Antenatal corticosteroids; betamethasone; prematurity; preterm birth; preterm delivery; short-term morbidity; steroid-to-delivery interval; twin pregnancy; twins.
© 2017 Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.