Mending a growth-restricted fetal heart: should we use glucocorticoids?

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Clinical and experimental studies suggest that the growth-restricted fetus at increased risk of impaired cardiovascular function that likely contributes to both increased mortality rate and in survivors, to cardiovascular dysfunction apparent in childhood and later life. Fetal growth restriction is also associated with a high risk of preterm birth. Accordingly, the growth-restricted fetus is more likely than average to receive antenatal glucocorticoids to accelerate lung maturation in preparation for birth. However, glucocorticoids are powerful regulators of vascular tone and antenatal glucocorticoid administration to the intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) fetus results in systemic cardiovascular changes that are not observed in the healthy normal grown fetus. These responses to glucocorticoids may disturb the IUGR fetus ability to appropriately compensate to placental insufficiency. Indeed is it possible that in the setting of severe IUGR exogenous glucocorticoids are detrimental rather than beneficial to the fetus?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2149 - 2153
Number of pages5
JournalThe Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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