The Association of Early Corticosteroid Therapy With Clinical and Health-Related Quality of Life Outcomes in Children With Septic Shock.

01 Sep 2022
Kamps NN, Banks R, Reeder RW, Berg RA, Newth CJ, Pollack MM, Meert KL, Carcillo JA, Mourani PM, Sorenson S, Varni JW, Cengiz P, Zimmerman JJ, Life After Pediatric Sepsis Evaluation (LAPSE) Investigators


Corticosteroids are commonly used in the treatment of pediatric septic shock without clear evidence of the potential benefits or risks. This study examined the association of early corticosteroid therapy with patient-centered clinically meaningful outcomes.


Subsequent cohort analysis of data derived from the prospective Life After Pediatric Sepsis Evaluation (LAPSE) investigation. Outcomes among patients receiving hydrocortisone or methylprednisolone on study day 0 or 1 were compared with those who did not use a propensity score-weighted analysis that controlled for age, sex, study site, and measures of first-day illness severity.


Twelve academic PICUs in the United States.


Children with community-acquired septic shock 1 month to 18 years old enrolled in LAPSE, 2013-2017. Exclusion criteria included a history of chronic corticosteroid administration.




Among children enrolled in LAPSE, 352 of 392 met analysis inclusion criteria, and 155 of 352 (44%) received early corticosteroid therapy. After weighting corticosteroid therapy administration propensity across potentially confounding baseline characteristics, differences in outcomes associated with treatment were not statistically significant (adjusted effect or odds ratio [95% CI]): vasoactive-inotropic support duration (-0.37 d [-1.47 to 0.72]; p = 0.503), short-term survival without new morbidity (1.37 [0.83-2.28]; p = 0.218), new morbidity among month-1 survivors (0.70 [0.39-1.23]; p = 0.218), and persistent severe deterioration of health-related quality of life or mortality at month 1 (0.70 [0.40-1.23]; p = 0.212).


This study examined the association of early corticosteroid therapy with mortality and morbidity among children encountering septic shock. After adjusting for variables with the potential to confound the relationship between early corticosteroid administration and clinically meaningful end points, there was no improvement in outcomes associated with this therapy. Results from this propensity analysis provide additional justification for equipoise regarding corticosteroid therapy for pediatric septic shock and ascertain the need for a well-designed clinical trial to examine benefit/risk for this intervention.