Send to

Choose Destination
Eur J Intern Med. 2008 Oct;19(6):461-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2007.12.004. Epub 2008 Feb 4.

Perioperative glucocorticosteroid supplementation is not supported by evidence.

Author information

Department of Intensive Care Medicine and the National Centre for Emergency Medicine and Clinical Toxicology, University Medical Centre, Location AZU, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Ever since the first descriptions of adrenal insufficiency following exogenous supplementation physicians dread to abolish perioperative glucocorticosteroid supplementation. Now, 55 years after the first publications we can challenge those first reports. However, these cases have resulted in the supplementation of supraphysiological doses of glucocorticosteroids to patients that use exogenous corticosteroids: the so-called perioperative glucocorticosteroid supplementation or "(gluco)corticosteroid stress scheme". It is very questionable whether a dose that exceeds the normal daily production of 5.7 mg cortisol per square meter of body surface area is necessary to prevent perioperative hypotension. Retrospective, prospective and randomised studies, though all methodologically flawed, are discussed and show that continuation of the "basal" amount of glucocorticosteroids is sufficient to counterbalance surgical stress. The current and rather defensive strategy of perioperative supraphysiological glucocorticosteroid supplementation is not embedded in medical evidence. Additionally, high doses of glucocorticosteroids have disadvantages that should not be ignored.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center