Postnatal steroids have been widely used to facilitate the extubation of ventilator-dependent preterm infants. Reports published in the late 1990s and early 2000s raised concerns about their long-term impact on neurodevelopmental outcomes. Since then, postnatal steroid use has declined sharply, but they continue to be regarded by many clinicians as an essential part of neonatal care, and there is considerable confusion as to the most appropriate time to use them. This review examines the meta-analyses of the relationship between intravenous postnatal steroids and neurodevelopmental impairment, and provides recommendations for their use based upon that body of evidence.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.