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Recenti Prog Med. 2006 Jan;97(1):32-6.

[Prolonged infusion of hydrocortisone in patients with severe community acquired pneumonia].

[Article in Italian]


Despite advances in antimicrobial therapy and supportive measures, mortality for patients with severe community-acquired pneumonia admitted to the intensive care unit remains high, especially in case of development of sepsis with its complications. So, the early detection of the severity of pneumonia is crucial to achieve an optimal monitoring and treatment of the patients. Studies of serum and lung cytokines levels in patients with pneumonia show a compartimentalized response, that rarely appears in the serum. In case of severe community-acquired pneumonia inflammation spill over from the lungs, particularly there is a persistent increase of IL-6 and CRP in serum, and this is associated with a worst prognosis and possible development of sepsis-related complications. Hydrocortisone and other glucorticoid agents have a powerful modulating effect on inflammation and balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory factors. Recent randomized controlled clinical trials on patients with severe community acquired pneumonia support the use of prolonged infusion of low doses of hydrocortisone to accelerate the resolution of the pneumonia and prevent the development of complications due to sepsis. Moreover, this therapeutic approach seems to be associated with a significant reduction in duration of mechanical ventilation, in length of hospital stay and mortality in hospital.

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