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Review: moderately early postnatal corticosteroids reduce chronic lung disease and mortality in preterm infants, but increase complications

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QUESTIONS: Is moderately early postnatal corticosteroid (PC) treatment given 7–14 days after birth effective for prevention and treatment of chronic lung disease (CLD) in at risk, preterm infants? Do PCs increase the risk of adverse effects?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching the Oxford Database of Perinatal Trials, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, and Medline (1966 to September 2000); handsearching paediatric and perinatal journals; examining review articles; and contacting practising neonatologists.

Study selection

Randomised controlled trials were selected if they compared systemic PC treatment given 7–14 days after birth with control (placebo or nothing) in preterm infants with or at risk of developing CLD.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on study methods, participant characteristics, and outcomes.

Main results

7 trials (8 treatment arms) were included in …

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  • Source of Funding: no external funding

  • For correspondence: Professor H L Halliday, Department of Child Health, Queen's University of Belfast, Regional Neonatal Unit, Royal Maternity Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT12 6BB, UK. Fax +44 (0)289 023 6203. h.halliday{at}