AIM: We assessed the outcomes of ventilated extremely premature infants treated with late postnatal corticosteroids from 2005-2008, according to permissive or restrictive policies in two centres.
METHODS: This retrospective study included inborn infants below 27 weeks of gestational age who were ventilator dependent after 14 days. Centre P permitted postnatal corticosteroids but centre R restricted their use. The effects on infants were assessed in hospital and after two years using multivariable analysis.
RESULTS: We compared 62 infants from centre P, including 92% who received hydrocortisone, and 48 infants from centre R, including 13% who received betamethasone. Infants from both centres had comparable baseline characteristics and perinatal management, but bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) rates were significantly lower in centre P (30% versus 71%, p < 0.001) and this centre was significantly associated with a younger post-conceptional age at oxygen weaning, with an adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) of 0.45 and an aHR of 0.51at discharge. At two years of corrected age, 18% of centre P infants and 30% of centre R infants showed poor neurodevelopmental outcome (p = 0.18).
CONCLUSION: Using hydrocortisone after 14 days on ventilated extremely preterm infants was associated with decreased BPD, with no apparent effects on neurodevelopment at two years of corrected age.