BOX 5-5

Example of a Plain-Language Summary: Antenatal Corticosteroids for Accelerating Fetal Lung Maturation for Women at Risk of Preterm Birth

Corticosteroids given to women in early labor help the babies’ lungs to mature and so reduce the number of babies who die or suffer breathing problems at birth.

Babies born very early are at risk of breathing difficulties (respiratory distress syndrome) and other complications at birth. Some babies have developmental delay and some do not survive the initial complications. In animal studies, corticosteroids are shown to help the lungs to mature and so it was suggested these drugs may help babies in preterm labor too. This review of 21 trials shows that a single course of corticosteroid, given to the mother in preterm labor and before the baby is born, helps to develop the baby’s lungs and reduces complications like respiratory distress syndrome. Furthermore, this treatment results in fewer babies dying and fewer common serious neurological and abdominal problems, e.g. cerebroventricular haemorrhage and necrotising enterocolitis, that affect babies born very early. There does not appear to be any negative effects of the corticosteroid on the mother. Long-term outcomes on both baby and mother are also good.

SOURCE: Roberts and Dalziel (2006).

and Green, 2008). Also consistent with the requirement is that PCORI convey the research findings so patients can understand and apply them to their personal circumstances.4

Introduction to the Final Report

The introduction section of an SR final report should describe the research questions as well as the rationale for undertaking the review. The description should address the perspectives of both patients and clinicians, the current state of knowledge, and what the SR aims to add to the body of knowledge. It should indicate whether the review is new or an update of an existing one. If it is an update, the authors should state why the update is needed and describe in general terms how the evidence base has changed since the previous


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public Law 111-148, 111th Cong., Subtitle D, § 6301(d)(8)(A)(i).

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