Background/Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of antenatal corticosteroids for preventing very low birth weight (VLBW) infants with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) from surfactant use at different gestational ages (GA). Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the VLBW preterm infants registered in the Premature Baby Foundation of Taiwan from 1997 through 2014. Infants at 20–37 weeks' gestation were included, and infants with lethal congenital anomaly, chromosomal anomaly, and congenital infection were excluded. Antenatal corticosteroid courses were classified into two groups (<2 doses or ≧2 doses). The beneficial effect of antenatal corticosteroids on preventing VLBW infants with RDS from surfactant use was evaluated according to gestational ages. Results: Total 12,685 VLBW infants were included. For VLBW infants with gestational age 26–33 weeks, antenatal corticosteroid therapy has significantly protective effect (odds ratio 0.43 [95% CI 0.26 to 0.72] - 0.60 [95% CI 0.48 to 0.75], P < 0.05). The effect was not obvious for VLBW infants with gestational age 34 weeks and more (odds ratio 0.32 [95% CI 0.08 to 1.38], P = 0.127). Conclusion: For VLBW infants with RDS at 34 weeks' gestation and more, the beneficial effect of antenatal corticosteroids on preventing surfactant use was not evident. In conclusion, completion of two doses or more of antenatal corticosteroids is of great importance for VLBW infants with RDS at gestational age between 26 and 33 weeks on preventing surfactant use.
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