[Skip to Navigation]
August 21, 2002

Corticosteroids and Septic Shock

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver (Dr Abraham) and Unit of Critical Care, Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, England (Dr Evans).

JAMA. 2002;288(7):886-887. doi:10.1001/jama.288.7.886

The use of corticosteroid therapy in patients with sepsis and septic shock has a long and controversial history. The first study suggesting that steroids could prove beneficial in this patient population was published in 1951,1 and the results of more than 50 clinical investigations exploring this hypothesis have been published since.2,3 Early reports4 suggested that survival was improved; but subsequent large, randomized studies and meta-analyses failed to show a mortality benefit and have even indicated that steroid therapy may be harmful.2,3,5