Efficacy and safety of corticosteroid therapy in patients with cardiac arrest: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials

Link to article at PubMed

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2020 Jul 21. doi: 10.1007/s00228-020-02964-3. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSES: The role of corticosteroid therapy in patients with cardiac arrest (CA) is uncertain. We aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of corticosteroid therapy in CA patients.

METHODS: Randomised controlled trials were identified using PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure and the Chinese Biomedical Literature Database. The primary outcome was overall survival. Secondary outcomes were positive neurological status and probability of sustained restoration of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). Complications were infection and bleeding. Given the significant heterogeneity across previous studies, combining the data using meta-analysis was deemed not appropriate.

RESULTS: Five studies (551 patients) met the criteria. Two studies of co-intervention therapy (corticosteroid, vasopressin and epinephrine protocol) found that this approach could benefit in-hospital CA patient survival rates at hospital discharge, improve neurological function at hospital discharge and yield sustained ROSC rate. However, further two studies failed to demonstrate that corticosteroid therapy alone could improve survival and neurological outcomes among CA patients. Additionally, corticosteroid therapy did not increase the risk of infection and bleeding.

CONCLUSIONS: Due to the inherent limitations of the studies in this review, we have not been able to reach definitive conclusions. Larger-scale and better-designed studies are therefore recommended, to further evaluate the potential and rational use of corticosteroid therapy in CA patients.

PMID:32696232 | DOI:10.1007/s00228-020-02964-3

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