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DAY (3). Session 2 Presentation: Prophylactic corticosteroids for preterm birth. Learning objectives. To recognise the dangers of reading a report without looking at all available evidence. To learn the importance of critical appraisal (of a systematic review).

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day 3
DAY (3)

Session 2

Presentation: Prophylactic corticosteroids for preterm birth

learning objectives
Learning objectives
  • To recognise the dangers of reading a report without looking at all available evidence.
  • To learn the importance of critical appraisal (of a systematic review).
prophylactic corticosteroids for preterm birth
Prophylactic corticosteroids for preterm birth
  • It is August 1982.
  • You are a keen young midwife caring for a patient who has just been admitted in premature labour.
  • Your patient is 30 weeks pregnant.
prophylactic corticosteroids for preterm birth1
Prophylactic corticosteroids for preterm birth
  • You wonder whether corticosteroids are indicated for the prevention of respiratory distress syndrome in the baby.
steps in ebrhc
Steps in EBRHC
  • Asking the question
  • Searching for the answer
  • Finding the evidence
  • Interpreting the evidence
exercise
Exercise
  • Take 5 minutes to compose a three-part clinical question that would help you to find the necessary evidence.
searching for the answer
Searching for the answer
  • Would you:
    • visit the local medical library?
    • do a computer search?
    • consult an expert (your consultant)?
searching for the answer1
Searching for the answer
  • look for an answer in
    • textbooks?
    • practice guidelines?
    • RCTs?
    • systematic reviews?
medline citation
“MEDLINE” citation
  • Liggins GC, Howie RN. A controlled trial of antepartum glucocorticoid treatment for prevention of the respiratory distress syndrome in premature infants. Pediatrics, 1972;50:515-525.
a later citation
A later citation:
  • Block MF, Kling OR, Crosby WM. Antenatal glucocorticoid therapy for the prevention of respiratory distress syndrome in the premature infant. Obstet Gynecol, 1977;50:186-90.
a more recent citation
A more recent citation:
  • published in the BMJ as a “Leading article”
  • Robertson NR. Advances in respiratory distress syndrome. British Medical Journal, 1982;284:917-918
what would you do
What would you do?
  • Work through the trials and try to synthesise a summary of their results?
  • Read the above-mentioned article in the BMJ?
bmj 1982 article conclusion
BMJ 1982 article conclusion
  • “The evidence suggests that antenatal steroids are of value only in white males, and even for them the benefit is mainly in those of 30–32 weeks’ gestation, when in our experience serious morbidity and mortality from respiratory distress syndrome is rare. In black males and in girls treatment has not been proven to be of benefit.”

Robertson NR. Advances in respiratory distress syndrome. British Medical Journal, 1982;284:917-918

exercise1
Exercise:
  • Take 20 minutes to study the table titled: “Results of the trials done pre-1980” which is printed in your manuals and to answer the questions which are printed below the table.
results of early trials published before 1980
Results of early trials published before 1980

Trial N Odds Ratio CI

a 1972 1070 0.55 0.38 - 0.80

b 1977 130 0.32 0.11 - 0.97

c 1978 126 0.32 0.11 - 0.89

d 1979 127 0.58 0.22 - 1.56

e 1979 146 0.25 0.10 - 0.62

systematic review
Systematic review
  • Crowley P, Chalmers I, Keirse MJNC. The effects of corticosteroid administration before preterm delivery: an overview of the evidence from controlled trials. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1990;97:11-25.
results of systematic review
Results of systematic review
  • The occurrence of neonatal respiratory distress is the principal outcome reported in the 12 eligible trials identified. Antenatal corticosteroid administration is associated with an overall reduction of about 50% in the odds of this form of neonatal morbidity (typical odds ratio 0.49, 95% CI 0.41-0.60)
cochrane systematic review main results
Cochrane systematic review: Main results
  • Antenatal administration of corticosteroids (individual doses given in review) to women expected to give birth preterm was associated with a significant reduction in respiratory distress syndrome (odds ratio 0.53, 95% confidence interval 0.44 to 0.63) in preterm infants.
cochrane systematic review
Cochrane systematic review
  • “Despite repeated randomised trials throughout the 1970s and 1980s and a systematic review of randomised trials in 1987 providing incontrovertible evidence in favour of antenatal corticosteroid therapy, obstetricians all over the world have been slow to adopt this treatment.”

Crowley P, author of the Cochrane review

cochrane review continued
Cochrane review (continued)
  • “The causes of this reluctance are unclear. A possible explanation is that the use of antenatal corticosteroids has not been promoted by any pharmaceutical company.
cochrane sr continued
Cochrane SR (continued)
  • Obstetricians may have been influenced by informal reviews that suggested that corticosteroids are effective only in certain small sub-groups of women and babies.”