Curr Med Chem. 2021 May 31. doi: 10.2174/0929867328666210531145617. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: The pathophysiology of cardiac arrest (CA) involves over-activation of systemic inflammatory responses, relative adrenal insufficiency, and glycocalyx damage. Corticosteroids have beneficial effects in preventing the perturbation of the endothelial glycocalyx.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this systematic review was to determine the efficacy of glucocorticoids in patients with cardiac arrest.
METHODS: We searched PubMed, Scopus, ISI Web of Science, Google Scholar and Cochrane central register for relevant clinical trials and cohort studies until September 2019.
RESULTS: We retrieved 7 peer-reviewed published studies for the systematic review. Two studies were clinical trials evaluating 147 patients, while five illustrated cohort design, evaluating 196,192 patients. In total, 196,339 patients were assessed. There was limited evidence and conflicting results to establish a correlation between glucocorticoids and the survival of patients suffering from cardiac arrest. However, the link between these medications and survival-to-admission, survival-to discharge, and 1-year survival rates was strong and consistent in observational studies.
CONCLUSION: The clinical evidence regarding the efficacy and safety of glucocorticoids in CA is limited to observational studies with inconsistent methodology and few clinical trials with small sample size. Nevertheless, it seems that glucocorticoid supplementation during and after cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may have significant effects in terms of survival-to-admission, survival to discharge, 1-year survival rates and an improved return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) rate, especially in patients with hemodynamic instability and cardiovascular diseases (i.e., refractory hemodynamic shock). Future studies with high-quality, large-scale, long-term intervention and precise baseline characteristics are needed to evaluate the exact effective dose, duration, and efficacy of glucocorticoids in CA.