Background: The purpose of this study was to determine whether the provision of corticosteroids improves time to shock reversal and outcomes in patients with post-cardiac arrest shock.
Methods: We conducted a randomized, double-blind trial of post-cardiac arrest patients in shock, defined as vasopressor support for a minimum of 1 hour. Patients were randomized to intravenous hydrocortisone 100 mg or placebo every 8 hours for 7 days or until shock reversal. The primary endpoint was time to shock reversal.
Results: Fifty patients were included with 25 in each group. There was no difference in time to shock reversal between groups (hazard ratio: 0.83 [95% CI: 0.40-1.75], p = 0.63). We found no difference in secondary outcomes including shock reversal (52% vs. 60%, p = 0.57), good neurological outcome (24% vs. 32%, p = 0.53) or survival to discharge (28% vs. 36%, p = 0.54) between the hydrocortisone and placebo groups. Of the patients with a baseline cortisol < 15 ug/dL, 100% (6/6) in the hydrocortisone group achieved shock reversal compared to 33% (1/3) in the placebo group (p = 0.08). All patients in the placebo group died (100%; 3/3) whereas 50% (3/6) died in the hydrocortisone group (p = 0.43).
Conclusions: In a population of cardiac arrest patients with vasopressor-dependent shock, treatment with hydrocortisone did not improve time to shock reversal, rate of shock reversal, or clinical outcomes when compared to placebo.
Clinical trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT00676585, registration date: May 9, 2008.
Keywords: Adrenal; Cardiac arrest; Hydrocortisone; Shock; Steroids; Vasopressors.