Drago BB, Kimura D, Rovnaghi CR, et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot randomized trial of methylprednisolone infusion in pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2015 Mar;16(3):e74-81.
OBJECTIVE: Low-dose methylprednisolone therapy in adults with early acute respiratory distress syndrome reduces systemic inflammation, duration of mechanical ventilation, and ICU length of stay. We report a pilot randomized trial of glucocorticoid treatment in early pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome.
DESIGN: Double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial.
SETTING: Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Memphis, TN.
PATIENTS: Children (0-18 yr) with acute respiratory distress syndrome undergoing mechanical ventilation.
INTERVENTIONS: Patients were randomly assigned to steroid or placebo groups within 72 hours of intubation. IV methylprednisolone administered as loading dose (2 mg/kg) and continuous infusions (1 mg/kg/d) on days 1-7 and then tapered over days 8-14. Both groups were ventilated according to the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Network protocol modified for children. Daily surveillance was performed for adverse effects.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Thirty-five patients were randomized to the steroid (n = 17, no death) and placebo groups (n = 18, two deaths). No differences occurred in length of mechanical ventilation, ICU stay, hospital stay, or mortality between the two groups. At baseline, higher plateau pressures (p = 0.006) and lower Pediatric Logistic Organ Dysfunction scores (p = 0.04) occurred in the steroid group; other characteristics were similar. Despite higher plateau pressures on days 1 (p = 0.006) and 2 (p = 0.025) due to poorer lung compliance in the steroid group, they had lower PaCO2 values on days 2 (p = 0.009) and 3 (p = 0.014), higher pH values on day 2 (p = 0.018), and higher PaO2/FIO2 ratios on days 8 (p = 0.047) and 9 (p = 0.002) compared with the placebo group. Fewer patients in the steroid group required treatment for postextubation stridor (p = 0.04) or supplemental oxygen at ICU transfer (p = 0.012). Steroid therapy was not associated with detectable adverse effects.
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the feasibility of administering low-dose glucocorticoid therapy and measuring clinically relevant outcomes in pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome. Changes in oxygenation and/or ventilation are consistent with early acute respiratory distress syndrome pathophysiology and results of similar clinical trials in adults. We propose and design a larger randomized trial to define the role of glucocorticoid therapy in pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome.