Background: We sought to determine the efficacy and safety of perioperative treatment with methylprednisolone on the development of lung injury after pulmonary thromboendarterectomy.
Methods: This was a randomized, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 98 adult patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension who were undergoing pulmonary thromboendarterectomy at a single institution. The patients received either placebo (n = 47) or methylprednisolone (n = 51) (30 mg/kg in the cardiopulmonary bypass prime, 500 mg IV bolus following the final circulatory arrest, and 250 mg IV bolus 36 h after surgery). The primary end point was the presence of lung injury as determined by two independent, blinded physicians using prospectively defined criteria. The secondary end points included ventilator-free, ICU-free, and hospital-free days and selected levels of cytokines in the blood and in BAL fluid.
Results: The incidence of lung injury was similar in both treatment groups (45% placebo, 41% steroid; P = .72). There were no statistical differences in the secondary clinical end points between treatment groups. Treatment with methylprednisolone, compared with placebo, was associated with a statistically significant reduction in plasma IL-6 and IL-8, a significant increase in plasma IL-10, and a significant reduction in postoperative IL-1ra and IL-6, but not IL-8 in BAL fluid obtained 1 day after surgery.
Conclusions: Perioperative methylprednisolone does not reduce the incidence of lung injury following pulmonary thromboendarterectomy surgery despite having an antiinflammatory effect on plasma and lavage cytokine levels.