Gestational age at initiation of 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate and recurrent preterm birth.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Preterm birth is the leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality in nonanomalous neonates in the United States. Women with a previous early spontaneous preterm birth are at highest risk for recurrence. Weekly intramuscular 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate reduces the risk of recurrent prematurity. Although current guidelines recommend 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate initiation between 16 and 20 weeks, in clinical practice, 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate is started across a spectrum of gestational ages.

OBJECTIVE

The objective of the study was to examine the relationship between the gestational age at 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate initiation and recurrent preterm birth among women with a prior spontaneous preterm birth 16-28 weeks' gestation.

STUDY DESIGN

This was a retrospective cohort study of women from a single tertiary care center, 2005-2016. All women with ≥1 singleton preterm births because of a spontaneous onset of contractions, preterm prelabor rupture of membranes, or painless cervical dilation between 16 and 28 weeks followed by a subsequent singleton pregnancy treated with 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate were included. Women were grouped based on quartiles of gestational age of 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate initiation (quartile 1, 140/7 to 161/7; quartile 2, 162/7 to 170/7; quartile 3, 171/7 to 186/7; and quartile 4, 190/7 to 275/7). Women with a gestational age of 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate initiation in quartiles 1 and 2 were considered to have early-start 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate; those in quartiles 3 and 4 were considered to have late-start 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate. The primary outcome was recurrent preterm birth <37 weeks' gestation. Secondary outcomes included recurrent preterm birth <34 and <28 weeks' gestation and composite major neonatal morbidity (diagnosis of grade III or IV intraventricular hemorrhage, periventricular leukomalacia, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, necrotizing enterocolitis stage II or III, or death). Gestational age at delivery was compared by quartile of 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate initiation using Kaplan-Meier survival curves and the log-rank test. Logistic regression models estimated odds ratios for the association between gestational age at 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate initiation and preterm birth <37 weeks' gestation, adjusting for demographics, prior pregnancy and antenatal characteristics.

RESULTS

A total of 132 women met inclusion criteria; 52 (39.6%) experienced recurrent preterm birth <37 weeks in the studied pregnancy. 17-Alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate was initiated at a mean 176/7 ± 2.5 weeks. Demographic and baseline characteristics were similar between women with early-start 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate (quartiles 1 and 2) compared with those with late-start 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate (quartiles 3 and 4). Women with early-start 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate trended toward lower rates of recurrent preterm birth <37 weeks compared with those with late-start 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate (41.3% vs 57.7%, P = .065). Delivery gestational age was inversely proportional to gestational age at 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate initiation (quartile 1, 374/7 weeks vs quartile 2, 365/7 vs quartile 3, 361/7 weeks vs quartile 4, 340/7, P = .007). In Kaplan-Meier survival analyses, these differences in delivery gestational age by 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate initiation quartile persisted across pregnancy (log-rank P < .001). In regression models, later initiation of 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate was significantly associated with increased odds of preterm birth <37 weeks. Women with early 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate initiation also had lower rates of major neonatal morbidity than those with later 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate initiation (1.5% vs 14.3%, P = .005).

CONCLUSION

Rates of recurrent preterm birth among women with a prior spontaneous preterm birth 16-28 weeks are high. Women beginning 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate early deliver later and have improved neonatal outcomes. Clinicians should make every effort to facilitate 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate initiation at 16 weeks.

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