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Anesthesiology. 1975 Dec;43(6):642-50.

The ineffectiveness of steroid therapy for treatment of fresh-water near-drowning.


The authors evaluated the efficacy of continuous positive-pressure ventilation (CPPV) and methylprenisolone alone and in combination as therapy for near-drowning in 80 dogs that had aspirated distilled water (22 ml/kg or 44 ml/kg). Forty dogs were treated with mechanical ventilation for one hour and 40 for 24 hours. Blood-gas tensions, pH, cardiac output and intrapulmonary shunt (Qs/Qt) were measured frequently for 24 hours. Blood-gas tensions and pH were again measured 48 and 72 hours and seven days later in survivors. Arterial oxygen tension (PaO2) decreased and Qs/Qt increased in all animals following aspiration and before therapy. Forty dogs received methylprednisolone intravenously (30 mg/kg) (20 breathed spontaneously and 20 had CPPV). There was a significant increase in PaO2 and decrease in pulmonary shunt in dogs that were ventilated mechanically compared with animals that breathed spontaneously. Treatment with methylprednisolone made no difference in blood gases, pulmonary shunt, or survival rates. Thus, no evidence to support the use of methylprednisolone in the treatment of the pulmonary lesion of fresh-water near-drowning was found. (Key words: Drowning, fresh-water; Hormones, adrenal, methylprednisolone.).

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