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Randomized Controlled Trial
, 124 (2), 90-5

Effects of Single Dose of Dexamethasone on Patients With Systemic Inflammatory Response

Randomized Controlled Trial

Effects of Single Dose of Dexamethasone on Patients With Systemic Inflammatory Response

Domingos Dias Cicarelli et al. Sao Paulo Med J.


Context and objective: Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) is a very common condition among critically ill patients. SIRS, sepsis, septic shock and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) can lead to death. Our aim was to investigate the efficacy of a single dose of dexamethasone for blocking the progression of systemic inflammatory response syndrome.

Design and setting: Prospective, randomized, double-blind, single-center study in a postoperative intensive care unit (Surgical Support Unit) at Hospital das Clínicas, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo.

Methods: The study involved 29 patients with SIRS. All eligible patients were prospectively randomized to receive either a single dose of 0.2 mg/kg of dexamethasone or placebo, after SIRS was diagnosed. The patients were monitored over a seven-day period using Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score (SOFA).

Results: The respiratory system showed an improvement on the first day after dexamethasone was administered, demonstrated by the improved PaO2/FiO2 ratio (p < 0.05). The cardiovascular system of patients requiring vasopressor therapy also improved over the first two days, with a better evolution in the dexamethasone group (p < 0.05). Non-surviving patients presented higher lactate assays than did survivors (p < 0.05) during this period.

Conclusions: Dexamethasone enhanced the effects of vasopressor drugs and evaluation of the respiratory system showed improvements (better PaO2/FiO2 ratio), one day after its administration. Despite these improvements, the single dose of dexamethasone did not block the evolution of SIRS.

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