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      Antenatal corticosteroid therapy for foetal maturation in women with eclampsia and severe pre-eclampsia in a rural hospital in Western Tanzania


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          Preterm birth is a major cause of neonatal mortality, especially in low and middle income countries. Antenatal corticosteroid therapy for foetal maturation could have a significant impact and therefore is often referred to as an important strategy to reduce neonatal mortality. A recently conducted large multinational trial showed that antenatal corticosteroids can have adverse effects in low income countries, but this is likely to depend on the specific setting. In our hospital preterm birth is only recognized in patients with severe maternal disease, due to physician-initiated delivery. Spontaneous preterm births are rarely seen in the hospital and often take place in the community or while on the road to a health facility.


          To investigate the effects of antenatal corticosteroid therapy in a rural hospital in Tanzania.


          A secondary analysis of a retrospective medical records study of women with severe pre-eclampsia and eclampsia performed in Ndala Hospital between July 2011 and December 2012. We used data on gestational age, birth weight, Apgar score, time between admission and birth, use of corticosteroids and maternal and foetal survival. Ethical clearance was obtained from the directorate of research and publications of the University of Dodoma (ref. UDOM/DRP/346).


          Thirty-six women with forty live foetuses were analysed. Twelve women (13 neonates) were given corticosteroids and could be compared to 24 women (27 neonates) who did not get corticosteroids. The incidence of fresh stillbirths (antenatal death) was 20 %. The 13 neonates who received corticosteroids had significantly smaller birth weight, longer interval between admission and delivery and poorer outcomes (stillbirth and neonatal death). An analysis of 24 neonates with a birth weight between 1.5 and 2.5 kg showed a trend toward better outcome in neonates who did not receive antenatal corticosteroid therapy.


          Small retrospective studies as these have a low level of evidence, but this study helped to gain more knowledge of local conditions affecting the effectiveness of antenatal corticosteroid therapy in our setting of a small rural hospital. Reliability of estimating gestational age, epidemiology of preterm birth, exposure to infections, foetal monitoring and quality of neonatal care are likely to influence the effect of antenatal corticosteroid therapy. Further larger prospective studies should be conducted to determine the exact preconditions of antenatal corticosteroid therapy in low-income countries. Until that time, the WHO precautions seem reasonable and audits and small observational studies like ours can help in assessing whether a specific hospital is suited for antenatal corticosteroid therapy.

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          Antenatal corticosteroids for accelerating fetal lung maturation for women at risk of preterm birth.

          Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) is a serious complication of preterm birth and the primary cause of early neonatal mortality and disability. To assess the effects on fetal and neonatal morbidity and mortality, on maternal mortality and morbidity, and on the child in later life of administering corticosteroids to the mother before anticipated preterm birth. We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group Trials Register (30 October 2005). Randomised controlled comparisons of antenatal corticosteroid administration (betamethasone, dexamethasone, or hydrocortisone) with placebo or with no treatment given to women with a singleton or multiple pregnancy, expected to deliver preterm as a result of either spontaneous preterm labour, preterm prelabour rupture of the membranes or elective preterm delivery. Two review authors assessed trial quality and extracted data independently. Twenty-one studies (3885 women and 4269 infants) are included. Treatment with antenatal corticosteroids does not increase risk to the mother of death, chorioamnionitis or puerperal sepsis. Treatment with antenatal corticosteroids is associated with an overall reduction in neonatal death (relative risk (RR) 0.69, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.58 to 0.81, 18 studies, 3956 infants), RDS (RR 0.66, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.73, 21 studies, 4038 infants), cerebroventricular haemorrhage (RR 0.54, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.69, 13 studies, 2872 infants), necrotising enterocolitis (RR 0.46, 95% CI 0.29 to 0.74, eight studies, 1675 infants), respiratory support, intensive care admissions (RR 0.80, 95% CI 0.65 to 0.99, two studies, 277 infants) and systemic infections in the first 48 hours of life (RR 0.56, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.85, five studies, 1319 infants). Antenatal corticosteroid use is effective in women with premature rupture of membranes and pregnancy related hypertension syndromes. The evidence from this new review supports the continued use of a single course of antenatal corticosteroids to accelerate fetal lung maturation in women at risk of preterm birth. A single course of antenatal corticosteroids should be considered routine for preterm delivery with few exceptions. Further information is required concerning optimal dose to delivery interval, optimal corticosteroid to use, effects in multiple pregnancies, and to confirm the long-term effects into adulthood.
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            A controlled trial of antepartum glucocorticoid treatment for prevention of the respiratory distress syndrome in premature infants.

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              International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems. Tenth revision.

              G Brämer (1988)
              The International Classification of Diseases has, under various names, been for many decades the essential tool for national and international comparability in public health. This statistical tool has been customarily revised every 10 years in order to keep up with the advances of medicine. At first intended primarily for the classification of causes of death, its scope has been progressively widening to include coding and tabulation of causes of morbidity as well as medical record indexing and retrieval. The ability to exchange comparable data from region to region and from country to country, to allow comparison from one population to another and to permit study of diseases over long periods, is one of the strengths of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injuries, and Causes of Death (ICD). WHO has been responsible for the organization, coordination and execution of activities related to ICD since 1948 (Sixth Revision of the ICD) and is now proceeding with the Tenth Revision. For the first time in its history the ICD will be based on an alphanumeric coding scheme and will have to function as a core classification from which a series of modules can be derived, each reaching a different degree of specificity and adapted to a particular specialty or type of user. It is proposed that the chapters on external causes of injury and poisoning, and factors influencing health status and contact with health services, which were supplementary classifications in ICD-9, should form an integral part of ICD-10. The title of ICD has been amended to "International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems"', but the abbreviation "ICD" will be retained.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

                Author and article information

                BMC Pregnancy Childbirth
                BMC Pregnancy Childbirth
                BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
                BioMed Central (London )
                19 August 2016
                19 August 2016
                : 16
                : 235
                [1 ]Ndala Hospital, 15 Ndala, Tabora, Tanzania
                [2 ]Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Maastricht University Medical Centre, P. Debyelaan 25, 6229 HX Maastricht, The Netherlands
                [3 ]College of Health Sciences, University of Dodoma, 395, Dodoma, Tanzania
                [4 ]Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Radboud University Medical Centre, Geert Grooteplein-Zuid 10, 6525 GA Nijmegen, The Netherlands
                [5 ]Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Leeuwarden Medical Centre, Henri Dunantweg 2, 8934 AD Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
                [6 ]Department of Health Sciences, Global Health, University Medical Centre Groningen/University of Groningen, PO Box 196, 9700 AD Groningen, The Netherlands
                Author information
                © The Author(s). 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                : 30 October 2015
                : 11 August 2016
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2016

                Obstetrics & Gynecology
                low-income countries,preterm birth,glucocorticoids,antenatal corticosteroid therapy,tanzania


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