Caustic ingestion can have a complicated clinical course. Corticosteroids are widely used but there is uncertainty about its role in preventing esophageal stricture formation following caustic ingestion. This systematic review and meta-analysis assessed the available clinical evidence regarding the efficacy and safety of corticosteroids for preventing esophageal strictures following caustic injury.Methods:
We assessed randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared corticosteroids versus no corticosteroids in the prevention of esophageal stricture formation following caustic ingestion. We searched the following databases from inception to March 2017: PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. Two reviewers retrieved eligible articles, assessed risk of bias, and performed data extraction. The main outcome measure was the prevention of esophageal stricture formation.Results:
The search identified 763 citations. Three RCTs involving 244 participants met the inclusion criteria. There was no benefit of corticosteroids in the prevention of esophageal strictures following the ingestion of caustic materials (risk ratio [RR] = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.29–1.37).Conclusions:
The available evidence does not support the use of corticosteroids for the prevention of esophageal strictures following caustic ingestion. The overall quality of the evidence is limited because of methodological weaknesses and small sample sizes in the primary studies.