Repeated courses of antenatal corticosteroids: Are there effects on the infant's auditory brainstem responses?

Michael W. Church, Ronald J. Wapner, Lisa M. Mele, Francee Johnson, Donald J. Dudley, Catherine Y. Spong, Alan M. Peaceman, Atef H. Moawad, Mary J. O'Sullivan, Menachem Miodovnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Our objective was to assess the effects of repeated antenatal corticosteroid treatments on the neonatal auditory brainstem response (ABR), a sensitive measure of neonatal brain maturity and auditory function. To achieve this, we performed and blindly evaluated neonatal ABRs on a subset of infants delivering within a multicenter randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial comparing single versus repeated courses of antenatal corticosteroid treatments for women at 23-31. weeks gestation who remained at increased risk for preterm birth. The women were randomly assigned to either the single or the repeated antenatal corticosteroid treatment group. Women in the repeated antenatal corticosteroid group received weekly antenatal corticosteroid treatments until 34. weeks gestation or until they reached a study-determined limited number of courses, whereas women in the single antenatal corticosteroid group received an initial course of corticosteroid followed by weekly placebo injections. We performed ABR testing on their infants prior to discharge. The latencies of waves I, III and V and the peak-to-trough amplitudes of waves I and V were compared between those in the single (n= 27) and repeated antenatal corticosteroid treatment (n= 24) groups. The majority of repeated antenatal corticosteroid infants (20 of 24) were exposed to ≥ 4 antenatal corticosteroid treatments. Even though gestational age was similar between our subset of single and repeated antenatal corticosteroid treatment groups, infant birth weight and length and head circumference were significantly smaller in the repeated antenatal corticosteroid group (p< 0.05). Despite these differences in birth sizes, there were no significant group differences in the ABR wave latencies or amplitudes. We concluded that our repeated antenatal corticosteroid treatments, in comparison to a single treatment, did not significantly benefit or harm the neonatal ABR despite significant effects on birth size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-610
Number of pages6
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Antenatal corticosteroid (AC)
  • Auditory brainstem response (ABR)
  • Betamethasone
  • Brain development
  • Hearing
  • Premature birth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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