Objective: To evaluate the effects of prophylactic perioperative corticosteroid administration, compared with placebo, on postoperative mortality and clinical outcomes (renal dysfunction, duration of mechanical ventilation, and ICU length of stay) in pediatric patients undergoing cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass.
Data Sources: MEDLINE and Cochrane Library were screened through August 2013 for randomized controlled trials in which perioperative steroid treatment was adopted.
Study Selection: Included were randomized controlled trials conducted on pediatric population that reported clinical outcomes about mortality and morbidity.
Data Extraction: Eighty citations (PubMed, 48 citations; Cochrane, 32 citations) were identified, of which 14 articles were analyzed in depth and six articles fulfilled eligibility criteria and reported mortality data (232 patients), two studies reported ICU length of stay and mechanical ventilation duration (60 patients), and two studies reported renal dysfunction (49 patients).
Data Synthesis: A nonsignificant trend of reduced mortality was observed in steroid-treated patients (11 [4.7%] vs 4 [1.7%] patients; odds ratio, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.14–1.15; p = 0.089). Steroids had no effects on mechanical ventilation time (117.4 ± 95.9 hr vs 137.3 ± 102.4 hr; p = 0.43) and ICU length of stay (9.6 ± 4.6 d vs 9.9 ± 5.9 d; p = 0.8). Perioperative steroid administration reduced the prevalence of renal dysfunction (13 [54.2%] vs 2 [8%] patients; odds ratio, 0.07; 95% CI, 0.01–0.38; p = 0.002).
Conclusion: Despite a demonstrated attenuation of cardiopulmonary bypass–induced inflammatory response by steroid administration, a systematic review of randomized controlled trials performed so far reveals that steroid administration has potential clinical advantages (lower mortality and significant reduction of renal function deterioration). A larger prospective randomized study is needed to verify clearly the effects of steroid prophylaxis in pediatric patients.