21 Aug 12

Do low-dose corticosteroids improve mortality or shock reversal in patients with septic shock?

Posted in Sepsis, Steroid at 20:48 by Laci

By R Sherwin, A Garcia, R Bilkovski

J Emerg Med. 2012;43:7-12.

The management of septic shock has undergone a significant evolution in the past decade. A number of trials have been published to evaluate the efficacy of low-dose corticosteroid administration in patients with septic shock.

Methods
The Sepsis Sub-committee of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine Clinical Practice Committee performed an extensive search of the contemporary literature and identified seven relevant trials.

Results
Six of the seven trials reported a mortality outcome of patients in septic shock. Analysis of the data revealed that the relative risk (RR) of 28-day all-cause mortality in septic shock patients who received low-dose corticosteroids was 0.92 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.79–1.07). All seven trials reported data concerning shock reversal or the withdrawal of vasopressors. Pooled results revealed that the RR of shock reversal is 1.17 (95% CI 1.07–1.28), which suggests that there may be significant improvement in shock reversal after corticosteroid administration. It is important to understand that two of the seven studies reviewed were disproportionately represented and accounted for 799 of 1005 patients (80%) considered for this recommendation.

Conclusions
The evidence suggests that low-dose corticosteroids may reverse shock faster; however, mortality is not improved for the overall population.

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