Gestational age-specific risks vs benefits of multicourse antenatal corticosteroids for preterm labor

Laurie C. Zephyrin*, Kimberly N. Hong, Ronald J. Wapner, Alan M. Peaceman, Yoram Sorokin, Donald J. Dudley, Jay D. Iams, Margaret Harper, Steve N. Caritis, Brian M. Mercer, John M. Thorp, Susan M. Ramin, Dwight J. Rouse, Baha Sibai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective The purpose of this study was to estimate a gestational age threshold at which the benefits of treatment with weekly courses of antenatal corticosteroids (ACS) during preterm labor outweigh the risks. Study Design Risk-benefit ratios by gestational age were determined with the use of a Markov microsimulation decision-analysis model with a 1-week cycle length. Single course and multiple (weekly to a maximum of 4) courses of ACS by gestational age of entry (23 weeks to 31 weeks 6 days' gestation) were compared. Benefits were composite events (respiratory distress syndrome, chronic lung disease, severe intraventricular hemorrhage, periventricular leukomalacia, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, or stillbirth) averted. Risks were small head circumference and small for gestational age. Results More composite events are averted (benefits) than risks acquired (ratio, 6:1) when multiple courses of ACS are initiated at 26 weeks' gestation. When multiple courses of ACS are initiated at 29 weeks' gestation, the risk-benefit ratio is 1. Beyond 29 weeks, there is a suggestion of more risk than benefit. Conclusion The model suggests that multiple courses of ACS that are initiated at <29 weeks' gestation may have increased benefit compared with risks. Further analyses are needed to determine the long-term clinical significance of these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330.e1-330.e7
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • antenatal corticosteroid
  • decision analysis
  • preterm labor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Gestational age-specific risks vs benefits of multicourse antenatal corticosteroids for preterm labor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this