Cardiovascular risk factors in children after repeat doses of antenatal glucocorticoids: an RCT.

PMID 25601978


Treatment of women at risk for preterm birth with repeat doses of glucocorticoids reduces neonatal morbidity but could have adverse long-term effects on cardiometabolic health in offspring. We assessed whether exposure to repeat antenatal betamethasone increased risk factors for later cardiometabolic disease in children whose mothers participated in the Australasian Collaborative Trial of Repeat Doses of Corticosteroids. Women were randomized to betamethasone or placebo treatment, ≥ 7 days after an initial course of glucocorticoids, repeated each week that they remained at risk for preterm birth at <32 weeks' gestation. In this follow-up study, children were assessed at 6 to 8 years' corrected age for body composition, insulin sensitivity, ambulatory blood pressure, and renal function. Of 320 eligible childhood survivors, 258 were studied (81%; 123 repeat betamethasone group; 135 placebo [single course] group). Children exposed to repeat antenatal betamethasone and those exposed to placebo had similar total fat mass (geometric mean ratio 0.98, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.78 to 1.23), minimal model insulin sensitivity (geometric mean ratio 0.89, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.08), 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure (mean difference systolic 0 mm Hg, 95% CI -2 to 2; diastolic 0 mm Hg, 95% CI -1 to 1), and estimated glomerular filtration rate (mean difference 1.2 mL/min/1.73 m(2), 95% CI -3.2 to 5.6). Exposure to repeat doses of antenatal betamethasone compared with a single course of glucocorticoids does not increase risk factors for cardiometabolic disease at early school age.