Corticosteroid therapy in refractory shock following cardiac arrest: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, trial

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Abstract

Background: The purpose of this study was to determine whether the provision of corticosteroids improves time to shock reversal and outcomes in patients with post-cardiac arrest shock. Methods: We conducted a randomized, double-blind trial of post-cardiac arrest patients in shock, defined as vasopressor support for a minimum of 1 hour. Patients were randomized to intravenous hydrocortisone 100 mg or placebo every 8 hours for 7 days or until shock reversal. The primary endpoint was time to shock reversal. Results: Fifty patients were included with 25 in each group. There was no difference in time to shock reversal between groups (hazard ratio: 0.83 [95 % CI: 0.40-1.75], p = 0.63). We found no difference in secondary outcomes including shock reversal (52 % vs. 60 %, p = 0.57), good neurological outcome (24 % vs. 32 %, p = 0.53) or survival to discharge (28 % vs. 36 %, p = 0.54) between the hydrocortisone and placebo groups. Of the patients with a baseline cortisol < 15 ug/dL, 100 % (6/6) in the hydrocortisone group achieved shock reversal compared to 33 % (1/3) in the placebo group (p = 0.08). All patients in the placebo group died (100 %; 3/3) whereas 50 % (3/6) died in the hydrocortisone group (p = 0.43). Conclusions: In a population of cardiac arrest patients with vasopressor-dependent shock, treatment with hydrocortisone did not improve time to shock reversal, rate of shock reversal, or clinical outcomes when compared to placebo. Clinical trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT00676585 , registration date: May 9, 2008.

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Donnino, M. W., Andersen, L. W., Berg, K. M., Chase, M., Sherwin, R., Smithline, H., … Cocchi, M. N. (2016). Corticosteroid therapy in refractory shock following cardiac arrest: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, trial. Critical Care, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13054-016-1257-x

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