This study was aimed to explore the precise dose of corticosteroid therapy in critical COVID-19. A total of forty-five critical COVID-19 patients were enrolled. The process of critical COVID-19 was divided into alveolitis and fibrosis stages. Most nonsurvivors died in fibrosis phase. Nonsurvivors had more dyspnea symptoms, fewer days of hospitalization, shorter duration of alveolitis and fibrosis. High-dose daily corticosteroid therapy (≥150 mg/d) was associated with shorter survival time and lower lymphocyte count in fibrosis phase. Moreover, a high cumulative dose (≥604 mg) was tied to longer duration of virus shedding, lower oxygenation index (OI), higher incidence of tracheal intubation, fewer lymphocytes and higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). In alveolitis phase, the low-to-moderate-dose daily corticosteroid therapy and a small cumulative dose reduced lymphocytes. In conclusion, low-to-moderate dose corticosteroids may be beneficial in the fibrosis phase. High-dose corticosteroid therapy in the fibrosis phase aggravates the severity of critical COVID-19.
Keywords: COVID-19; Corticosteroid; Lymphocytes; Overall survival; Pulmonary fibrosis.
Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.