Perioperative steroid therapy: where's the evidence?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Review of historical and current evidence of adrenal suppression in patients on chronic glucocorticoid therapy during perioperative period, and discussion of current recommendations for perioperative stress dose steroid administration.

Recent findings

Evidence suggests low incidence of perioperative adrenal insufficiency in patients receiving chronic glucocorticoid therapy. Recent studies show no difference in survival or hemodynamic sequella by withholding perioperative stress steroids; however, these studies are limited in size and universal applicability.

Summary

Current recommendations for perioperative stress dose steroids for patients on chronic glucocorticoid therapy are based on duration and dose of maintenance steroids. All patients should take their regular daily dose of steroid preoperatively regardless of dose or chronicity of prior treatment. Additional, stress dose steroid dosing is based on patient risk of adrenal suppression and surgical complexity and stress.

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