Hypotension, bradycardia, and asystole after high-dose intravenous methylprednisolone in a monitored patient

Am J Kidney Dis. 1998 Jul;32(2):E4. doi: 10.1053/ajkd.1998.v32.pm10074612.


We report a case of hypotension, bradycardia, and asystole after intravenous administration of high-dose methylprednisolone in a 73-year-old patient who underwent electrocardiographic (ECG) monitoring throughout the episode. There was a history of ischemic cardiac disease 9 years earlier. The patient was admitted with a pulmonary-renal syndrome with hemoptysis, rapidly progressive renal failure, and hypoxemia that required mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit. After receiving advanced cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the patient recovered cardiac rhythm. The ECG showed a junctional rhythm without ventricular arrhythmia. This study reviews the current proposed mechanisms of sudden death after a high dose of intravenous methylprednisolone (IVMP). These mechanisms are not well understood because, in most cases, the patients were not monitored at the moment of the event. Rapid infusion and underlying cardiac disease were important risk factors in the case reported here, and the authors discount ventricular arrhythmia as the main mechanism.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anti-Glomerular Basement Membrane Disease / drug therapy
  • Bradycardia / chemically induced*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / chemically induced*
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / administration & dosage
  • Methylprednisolone / adverse effects*
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Recurrence


  • Methylprednisolone