Audit of antenatal steroid use in mothers of preterms admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit in Ghana.
Background: Antenatal corticosteroids (ACS) are established as an effective method of reducing preterm morbidity and mortality. At the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), a tertiary referral centre in Ghana, it is recommended that a course of ACS should be given to mothers before delivery between 24 weeks to 34 weeks gestation.
Objectives: The study was performed primarily to determine the level of adherence to guidelines on administration of ACS.
Methods: All babies with gestational ages up to 34 weeks admitted to the neonatal unit (NICU) during the period of the study were eligible for inclusion.
Results: There were 214 eligible admissions during the study period, of which 93 babies (43%) were studied due to poor access to medical records. Dexamethasone was the only steroid used, and mothers of 65 (70%) of the 93 babies received at least one dose; 17 (18%) received only one dose, 35 (38%) - 2 doses, 9 (10%) – 3 doses, and 4 (4%) - 4
Conclusions: This study has shown a low uptake of antenatal corticosteroids, similar to other low-income and middle-income countries. To improve preterm survival and morbidity, there is an urgent need to increase the use of corticosteroids before preterm deliveries in Ghana and other low-income and middle-income countries.
Funding: Not indicated
Keywords: Antenatal corticosteroids, prematurity, neonatal intensive care, audit, low-income countries.