Gover A et al. – No effect of a single course of dexamethasone on resting salivary cortisol, an indicator of hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis function, was found in infancy up to 18 months corrected age in infants born very preterm.Methods
- Preterm infants born >32 weeks gestational age were recruited during 2001–2004 from a single neonatal intensive care unit.
- Resting salivary cortisol was collected at least once at 3, 8 and 18 months corrected age in a longitudinal cohort.
- A mixed-effects repeated measures analysis was used to accommodate cases with less than complete follow-up.
- One hundred and thirty three infants were included in the present study, contributing 266 cortisol samples.
- Of these, 107 infants had been exposed to a single course of antenatal dexamethasone and 26 not exposed to antenatal steroids.
- There was no significant main effect of antenatal steroids on resting cortisol at any age.
- This result was not altered after adjusting for gestational age at birth, neonatal cumulative pain, morphine exposure, mechanical ventilation days and post-natal steroid exposure.