Setting: The treatment of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is at best controversial, although there is considerable anecdotal experience to show the benefits of corticosteroid therapy for selected patients. Some patients deteriorate relentlessly despite treatment with antibiotic, corticosteroid and mechanical ventilation.
Objective: To attempt to determine the clinical efficacy of pentaglobin, an IgM-enriched immunoglobulin preparation, on 12 severe SARS patients who continued to deteriorate despite corticosteroid and ribavirin therapy.
Design: Retrospective analysis of daily quantitative and radiographic data on the cohort in a regional teaching hospital.
Results and conclusion: There was significant improvement in radiographic scores, when compared with day 1, on days 5, 6 and 7 (P < 0.05) after commencement of pentaglobin treatment. Similarly, there was significant improvement in oxygen requirement, when compared with day 1, on days 6 and 7 (P < 0.05) after commencement of pentaglobin treatment. There were no reported adverse events attributable to pentaglobin administration. Ten patients made an uneventful recovery after treatment. One elderly man died from cardiorespiratory arrest despite clinical and radiological improvement, and another patient is making good progress. Pentaglobin is safe and probably effective in the treatment of steroid-resistant SARS. A double-blind placebo-controlled study should therefore be considered.