Steroid treatment in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome: a systematic review and network meta-analysis

Shodai Yoshihiro, Takashi Hongo, Shingo Ohki, Tadashi Kaneko, Junichi Ishikawa, Shoichi Ihara, Shunsuke Taito, Masahiko Sakaguchi, Tomoaki Yatabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Although the most recent systematic review and meta-analyses on acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) have shown that the use of steroids decreases mortality in adult patients, its benefits and risks may differ depending on the type and dosage of the steroid. Therefore, we conducted a network meta-analysis (NMA) to compare the differences in the efficacy among different doses and types of steroids. Methods: We searched MEDLINE, CENTRAL, ICHUSHI,, and WHO ICTRP databases from the earliest records to March 2021 for randomized control trials, which compared steroids with placebo or conventional therapy for ARDS. Using the random-effects model, we compared various categories of steroids (high-dose methylprednisolone, low-dose methylprednisolone, hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, and no steroid) concerning hospital mortality, incidence of infection, and ventilator-free days (VFD). Results: We analyzed nine studies involving adult patients (n = 1212). Although there were no significant differences between the groups in terms of the mortality and incidence of infection, the number of VFD were greater when using low-dose methylprednisolone than when not using any steroids (Mean difference: 6.06; 95% confidence intervals: [2.5, 10.5]). Moreover, the rank probability showed that low-dose methylprednisolone might be the optimal treatment, whereas using no steroid or high-dose methylprednisolone may be inferior to other treatments in terms of mortality, infection, and VFD. Conclusion: This NMA suggested that the effect of steroids on the outcome in patients with ARDS might depend on the type of the steroid drug administered. Moreover, further studies are needed to identify the optimal type and dosage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-121
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Anesthesia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Critical care
  • Network meta-analysis
  • Respiratory insufficiency
  • Steroids
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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