Methylprednisolone and the adult respiratory distress syndrome

Du Toit, H. J. ; Erasmus, F. R. ; MacFarlane, C. M. ; Taljaard, J. J. F. ; King, J. B. ; De Klerk, A. J. ; Elk, E. (1984-06)

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Total hip replacement was carried out on 22 patients under general anaesthesia. Of these, 10 were pretreated with methylprednisolone (30 mg/kg); 1 of these developed the adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and had high levels of thromboxane B2 (TXB2) 5 minutes after fixation of the femoral prosthesis and at the end of the operation. The other 12 patients served as controls; 5 of them developed ARDS and had statistically significant higher TXB2 levels than the other 7 control patients who remained well. All patients who did not develop ARDS had low TXB2 levels. TXB2 and β-thromboglobulin levels followed the same trend and there was good correlation (r = 0.6806; P < 0.01) at the end of the operation in the control group patients who developed ARDS. There was no statistical difference in 6-keto-PGF(1α) levels between the patients who developed ARDS and those in the control group who remained well. Steroids reduce arachidonic acid metabolism by inhibiting the release of substrate for cyclo-oxygenase and lipoxygenase activity. Patients prone to ARDS thus benefit from methylprednisolone administration.

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