Respir Investig. 2021 Jun 12:S2212-5345(21)00088-5. doi: 10.1016/j.resinv.2021.05.007. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: In patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pneumonia, corticosteroids reduce progression to respiratory failure and death. Some patients, however, remain unresponsive to this treatment, or experience a rebound after termination.
METHODS: This retrospective cohort study included COVID-19 patients treated with systemic corticosteroids in a Japanese hospital between June 1, 2020, and January 17, 2021. Patients were categorized into three groups: success, rebound, and refractory, and clinical characteristics and outcomes were compared.
RESULTS: A total of 319 COVID-19 patients were admitted to our hospital and 113 patients met inclusion criteria. The success group had 83 patients (73.5%), the rebound group had nine patients (8.0%), and the refractory group had 21 patients (18.6%). Compared with the success group, the rebound group received corticosteroids earlier, for a shorter duration, and stopped them sooner. The median time from symptom onset to rebound was 12 days. There was no rebound after 20 days. Compared with the success group, the hazard ratio for the number of days from corticosteroid onset to an improvement of two points on a seven-point ordinal scale was 0.29 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.14-0.60, P < .001) for the rebound group versus 0.13 (95% CI, 0.07-0.25, P < .001) for the refractory group.
CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 patients treated with corticosteroids were classified into three response groups: success, rebound, and refractory, between which recovery time and prognosis differed. It was found that corticosteroid administration may prevent rebound phenomena if administered at least two weeks from symptom onset.