Background: Weekly repeated antenatal corticosteroid treatment improves respiratory outcome but decreases fetal growth and may impair neurodevelopmental outcome. We have previously reported that a single repeat betamethasone (BM) dose neither decreased fetal growth nor improved the outcome of preterm infants during the first hospitalisation.
Objective: To study prospectively whether a single repeat dose of BM influences neurodevelopment and growth within 2 years.
Design: Women with imminent delivery before 34.0 gestational weeks were eligible if they remained undelivered for >7 days after a single course of antenatal BM. After stratification, a single repeat dose of BM (12 mg) or placebo was given. The children underwent neurological and psychometric examinations and a speech evaluation at a corrected age of 2 years.
Setting: Prospective, blinded evaluation following the randomised multicentre trial.
Patients: 259 (82%) surviving infants completed the 2-year follow-up, 120 in the BM group and 139 in the placebo group.
Results: The rate of survival without severe neurodevelopmental impairment was similar in both groups (BM 98%, placebo 99%). The risk of cerebral palsy (BM 2%, placebo 1%), growth or re-hospitalisation rates (BM 60%, placebo 50%) did not differ between the groups.
Conclusions: A single repeat dose of antenatal BM tended not to influence physical growth or neurodevelopment at 2 years of age.
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↵*OMP, P Olsen, T Saarela, MH (Department of Paediatrics, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland); MAK, AL, RP, H Heiskala, S Andersson (Children’s Hospital, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland); K Nikolajev (Department of Paediatrics, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland); OT (Department of Paediatrics, University Hospital of Tampere, Tampere, Finland); LL (Department of Paediatrics, University Hospital of Turku, Turku, Finland).
Funding Supported by grants from the Foundation for Paediatric Research, the Alma and K.A. Snellman Foundation (Oulu, Finland), the Arvo and Lea Ylppö Foundation and the Sigrid Juselius Foundation (Finland).
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval The protocol was approved by the ethics committee of Oulu University Hospital and by the National Agency for Medicines.
Patient consent Parental consent obtained.
Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.