Inhaled and systemic steroid exposure and neurodevelopmental outcome of preterm neonates

<p><b>Objectives:</b> To compare death and/or neurodevelopmental outcomes of preterm infants exposed to inhaled and/or systemic steroids with those without exposure, and examine the impact of timing of exposure.</p> <p><b>Methods:</b> Retrospective study of infants born <29 weeks gestation and assessed at 18–21 months corrected age (CA). Neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) was defined as any Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-III (BSID-III) score <85, cerebral palsy ≥ grade one, and visual or hearing impairment. Significant NDI (sNDI) was defined as any Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID-III) score <70, cerebral palsy ≥ grade three, or severe vision or hearing impairment.</p> <p><b>Results:</b> Of 2570 neonates, 1811 had no exposure, 125 were exposed to inhaled steroids, 522 to systemic steroids and 112 to both. Infants exposed to inhaled steroids had lower odds of bronchopulmonary dysplasia [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 0.51, (0.33, 0.79)], and displayed no difference in death/NDI or death/significant neurodevelopmental impairment (sNDI), regardless of timing of exposure. Infants only exposed to systemic steroids before 4 weeks of age were at increased odds of death/NDI [AOR 1.83 (1.43, 2.34)] and death/sNDI [AOR 2.28 (1.76, 2.96)].</p> <p><b>Conclusions:</b> Exposure to inhaled steroids was not associated with increased odds of death/NDI or death/sNDI. Systemic steroids use before 4 weeks of age was associated with significantly worse outcomes.</p>