- Paper Report
- Open Access
Late steroid therapy in primary acute lung injury
- Ognjen Gajic1
© Biomed Central Ltd 2001
- Received: 29 June 2000
- Accepted: 20 September 2001
- Published: 20 September 2001
- ALI, ARDS, corticosteroids, fibroproliferation, methylprednisolone, pneumococcal pneumonia
Pharmacologic treatments of patients with ARDS have so far produced disappointing results. The use of steroids early in the course of the disease has been shown, in randomized trials, to be ineffective and potentially harmful. The recently introduced idea of selective steroid use, in patients with unresolving ARDS and a protracted fibroproliferative phase, has shown some promise.
31 consecutive patients from one intensive care unit (ICU) with primary (pulmonary) ARDS on mechanical ventilation for > 10 days
Exclusions: Patients with prior steroid treatment, chronic immunosuppression, neuromuscular disease or surgery during the first 10 days of ICU study
16 patients received late steroid therapy, the remaining 15 served as a control group.
Retrospective study with contemporary controls
Variables assessed: demographics, etiology of respiratory failure, blood and (BAL) cultures, APACHE II scores, multiorgan failure (MODS) scores, PaO2/FiO2ratio, C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, nosocomial infection levels, duration of mechanical ventilation, ICU and hospital length of stay and 30 day mortality rate
The treatment and control groups were well matched for age, gender, APACHE II scores, PaO2/FiO2 ratio and etiology of ARDS. Pneumococcal pneumonia was the most common etiology (11 patients in the steroid group and seven in the control) followed by community acquired pneumonia and gastric content aspiration. Ventilator management and supportive care were similar in both groups. There was no significant difference in mortality, nosocomial infection levels, length of stay and duration of mechanical ventilation between the two groups. PaO2/FiO2 ratios improved within the first 3 days of steroid treatment and were associated with a fall in CRP levels. In a subgroup of patients with pneumococcal pneumonia steroid administration was also associated with significant decrease in MODS (-2.3 vs 0.6 P = 0.002) and a trend towards reduced 30 day mortality (18.2% vs 42.8%)