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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Effects of Hydrocortisone on Regulating Inflammation, Hemodynamic Stability, and Preventing Shock in Severe Sepsis Patients

Yue Zhao, Cong Ding

Department of Emergency, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University, Dalian, Liaoning, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24: LBR3612-3619

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.906208

Available online: 2018-05-30

Published: 2018-05-30


BACKGROUND: Severe sepsis is among the most common causes of death in Emergency Departments, with more than 30% mortality. Hydrocortisone is used in severe sepsis patients who were not responsive to fluid resuscitation and vasopressor therapy. However, the effect of hydrocortisone on regulating inflammation, hemodynamic stability, and preventing shock is still unclear in Chinese patients.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: In this prospective observational study, we included 105 severe sepsis patients. We measured the level of serum inflammatory cytokines, hemodynamic variables, and phagocytic ability of innate immune cells during the treatment. We analyzed the relationship between these variables and the hydrocortisone treatment.
RESULTS: We treated 43 (41.0%) patients with hydrocortisone, while the other 62 (59.0%) patients were not, based on their response to fluid resuscitation and vasopressor therapy. The hydrocortisone group had a mean simplified acute physiology score (SAPS) II score of 41.8 with standard deviation (SD) of 7.1, while the non-hydrocortisone group had a mean SAPS II score of 36.7 with SD of 7.3. The mean sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) scores of these 2 groups were 10.6 and 9.2, respectively. We found an obvious decrease of serum pro-inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interferon-γ (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and IL-6, after hydrocortisone treatment. However, these changes were not observed in the non-hydrocortisone group. What’s more, amelioration of hemodynamic variables was observed after hydrocortisone treatment. No significant association between hydrocortisone treatment and innate immune cell phagocytic function was observed.
CONCLUSIONS: Based on these results, we believe that hydrocortisone treatment has potential anti-inflammatory, hemodynamic reversal, and stability effects on severe sepsis patients. These key benefits may help patients by preventing septic shock.

Keywords: Hydrocortisone, Immunity, Innate, Sepsis, Shock