Risk of respiratory distress syndrome after prenatal dexamethasone treatment

H. W. Taeusch, F. Frigoletto, J. Kitzmiller, M. E. Avery, A. Hehre, B. Fromm, E. Lawson, R. K. Neff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


A prospective double-blind randomized clinical trial was carried out to determine whether glucocorticoid treatment reduces the risk of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) in prematurely born infants. There were 127 infants born to 122 mothers who received either steroid (dexamethasone phosphate) or placebo. No differences between groups occurred in risk factors for RDS (e.g. prepartum asphyxia, male sex, cesarean section). When those who received a full course of dexamethasone therapy were compared with those who received placebo, a significant reduction was found in risk, severity, and deaths due to RDS. An increased incidence of infection in mothers treated with steroid was evident, particularly after premature rupture of membranes. We conclude that steroids are effective in reducing risk of RDS, but safer and more efficacious approaches for the prevention of RDS should be sought.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-72
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 19 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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