The administration of antenatal corticosteroids (ACS) to women who are at risk of preterm birth has been proven to reduce not only the mortality, but also the major morbidities of the preterm infants. The rate of ACS and the risk factors associated with ACS use in Chinese population is unclear. This study aimed to investigate the rate of ACS use and the associated perinatal factors in the tertiary maternal centers of China.
Data for this retrospective observational study came from a clinical database of preterm infants established by REIN-EPIQ trial. All infants born at <34 weeks of gestation and admitted to 18 tertiary maternal centers in China from 2017 to 2018 were enrolled. Any dose of dexamethasone was given prior to preterm delivery was recorded and the associated perinatal factors were analyzed.
The rate of ACS exposure in this population was 71.2% (range 20.2% – 92%) and the ACS use in these 18 maternal centers varied from 20.2–92.0% in this period. ACS exposure was higher among women with preeclampsia, caesarean section delivery, antibiotic treatment and who delivered infants with lower gestational age and small for gestational age. ACS use was highest in the 28-31 weeks gestational age group, and lowest in the under 26 weeks of gestational age group (x2=65.478, P < 0.001). ACS exposure was associated with lower odds of bronchopulmonary dysplasia or death (OR, 0.778; 95% CI 0.661 to 0.916) and invasive respiration requirement (OR, 0.668; 95% CI 0.585 to 0.762) in this population.
The ACS exposure was variable among maternity hospitals and quality improvement of ACS administration is warranted.