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J Infect Chemother. 2010 Aug;16(4):266-71. doi: 10.1007/s10156-010-0049-5. Epub 2010 Apr 9.

Efficacy of steroid therapy on adult patients with severe pneumonia.

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The Department of General Medicine, Kyorin University School of Medicine, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8611, Japan.


Optimal management of steroid therapy for severe pneumonia is an urgent issue. One hundred forty-eight elderly patients enrolled in our study were treated for severe pneumonia in a university hospital in Tokyo from 1998 through 2002. Steroid drugs were given to 82 patients (55.4%), whereas 66 (44.6%) received no steroids. Based on this main division, retrospective analyses were performed with regard to patient characteristics, antimicrobial agents, use or nonuse of mechanical ventilators, and prognoses. Significant difference was not seen in age, sex, underlying disease, isolated pathogens, and artificial respirator between the steroid and nonsteroid groups. Partial pressure of oxygen in arterial blood/fraction of inspired oxygen (Pao(2)/Fio(2)) ratio was significantly lower in the steroid (227.2 +/- 96.9) compared with the nonsteroid group (271.6 +/- 86.4) (P < 0.01). Prognoses were evaluated 21 days after treatment initiation. Significant differences appeared: First, the average cure rate of patients who took steroids within 3 days after starting treatment was 62.7%, whereas the rate was 12.9% (P < 0.001) in those who did not take steroids earlier than the 4th day. The cure rate of the nonsteroid group was 39.3% (P < 0.001). Second, the total dose of steroids (methylprednisolone) given within 7 days was less in cured cases (774 +/- 749 mg) than in noncured cases (1,190 +/- 768 mg) (P < 0.05). In conclusion, steroids should be administered in the early stage after onset of pneumonia, and large doses of steroids becomes a compounding factor in the prognosis of pneumonia.

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