What is the role of corticosteroids in the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)?

Updated: Mar 27, 2020
  • Author: Eloise M Harman, MD; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Answer

No drug has proved beneficial in the prevention or management of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Early administration of corticosteroids to septic patients does not prevent the development of ARDS. A study by Martin-Loeches et al concluded that the early use of corticosteroids was also ineffective in patients with the pandemic H1N1 influenza A infection, resulting in an increased risk of superinfections. [24] This finding was also echoed in a study by Brun-Buisson et al, who found no evidence of benefit associated with corticosteroids in patients with ARDS secondary to influenza pneumonia but did find that early corticosteroid therapy may be harmful. [25]


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