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Journal of Perinatal Medicine

Official Journal of the World Association of Perinatal Medicine

Editor-in-Chief: Dudenhausen, Joachim W.

Editorial Board Member: / Bancalari, Eduardo / Greenough, Anne / Genc, Mehmet R. / Chervenak, Frank A. / Chappelle, Joseph / Bergmann, Renate L. / Bernardes, J.F. / Bevilacqua, G. / Blickstein, Isaac / Cabero Roura, Luis / Carbonell-Estrany, Xavier / Carrera, Jose M. / D`Addario, Vincenzo / D'Alton, MD, Mary E. / Dimitrou, G. / Grunebaum, Amos / Hentschel, Roland / Köpcke, W. / Kawabata, Ichiro / Keirse, M.J.M.C. / Kurjak M.D., Asim / Levene, Malcolm / Lockwood, Charles J. / Marsal, Karel / Makatsariya, Alexander / Nishida, Hiroshi / Papp, Zoltán / Pejaver, Ranjan Kumar / Pooh, Ritsuko K. / Romero, Roberto / Saugstad, Ola D. / Schenker, Joseph G. / Sen, Cihat / Seri, Istvan / Vetter, Klaus / Winn, Hung N. / Young, Bruce K. / Zimmermann, Roland

6 Issues per year

IMPACT FACTOR 2013: 1.425



Using prophylactic, but not tocolytic, magnesium sulfate to reduce cerebral palsy related to prematurity: what dose, and what about infant mortality?

Peter G. Pryde1 / 2

1University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, WI, USA

2Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

Corresponding author: Robert Mittendorf Loyola University Health System 2160 South First Avenue Maywood, IL 60153 USA Tel.: +1-708-216-2465 Fax: +1-708-216-6288

Citation Information: Journal of Perinatal Medicine. Volume 39, Issue 4, Pages 375–378, ISSN (Online) 1619-3997, ISSN (Print) 0300-5577, DOI: 10.1515/jpm.2011.036, April 2011

Publication History

Published Online:


Strategies for the prevention of cerebral palsy (CP) remain incompletely characterized. Recognizing that half of all cases are associated with preterm delivery (Australian CP Register Report, 2009), research protocols aimed at reducing its prevalence have focused on interventions in pregnancies at risk for preterm birth. Compelling data from recent clinical trials have led to an emerging consensus favoring the use of antenatal magnesium sulfate for preterm neuroprophylaxis. Unresolved, however, is the critical question regarding the “best dose”. Acknowledging that any substance in high enough doses becomes toxic, the “best dose” is really the least dose that achieves efficacy, while minimizing potential toxicity among susceptible fetuses. Importantly, credible evidence from these CP prevention trials indicates that antenatal magnesium sulfate, if dosed appropriately, may also decrease infant mortality – a worthy goal in its own right. Accordingly, whether we achieve (a) reduction in CP only, (b) simultaneous reduction in CP and infant mortality, or (c) CP reduction offset by possibly increased pediatric mortality, may depend on selection of dose. In this Opinion paper, we review the findings of all major randomized trials that tested the magnesium hypothesis for prevention of CP. In addition, we discuss future research, in progress, that is hoped to refine estimates of best dose.

Keywords: Best dose of magnesium; magnesium sulfate neuroprophylaxis; prevention of cerebral palsy; prevention of infant mortality

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