Significance of antenatal glucocorticoid exposure for pressure injury prevalence in neonates


AIMS:Studies have highlighted that antenatal steroids could have an effect on neonatal skin maturation. This study examined if there was a relationship between the administration of antenatal glucocorticoids for mothers and the skin injuries in their neonates. Data from skin injury audit were extracted from the neonatal database and analyzed to determine differences in the prevalence of neonates with pressure injuries [cases] whose mothers had received antenatal steroids, compared to those without pressure injuries [control].

RESULTS:Of 247 neonates audited, 77 [31%], had documented pressure injuries, 170 [69%] had no documented injury. The median birth weight and gestation were 1400 g [IQR 893–2268 g] and 30.3 weeks [IQR 26.3–40.0 weeks] respectively. Of the neonates born less than 34 weeks, 80% were exposed to antenatal steroids and were equally distributed across patient genders. Within the 77 cases, 53 [66%] were exposed to antenatal steroids compared to controls in which 88 [53%] had not. The effect between cases and controls was not statistically significant [χ2 = 2.81, P = 0.09]. However a difference was noted between genders, as female neonates benefited from the exposure to steroids [OR = 0.317, 95% [CI 0.105–0.956], p value –0.041].

CONCLUSION:Antenatal glucocorticoids appear to be beneficial in reducing pressure injury prevalence in female neonates.

*Corresponding Author: 

Y. Kandasamy, Department of Neonatology, Townsville Hospital and Health Service, 100 Angus Smith Dr. Douglas, QLD 4814, Australia. Tel.: +61 744331111; Fax: +61 744332981; E-mail: