June 5, 2014 – Steroids in the ICU
ANCHOR LEAD: STEROIDS CAN CAUSE PROBLEMS FOR THOSE IN THE ICU, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Corticosteroids, commonly known as steroids, are frequently used in the intensive care unit or ICU to reduce inflammation, especially lung inflammation in people who are on ventilators to breath. Now a study by Dale Needham, a critical care medicine expert at Johns Hopkins and colleagues, has shown that steroids may be associated with a state of cognitive impairment known as delirium.
NEEDHAM: We found that among all the different risk factors that the use of steroids was significantly associated with patient’s transition from a non-delirious state to a delirious state the next day. And I think this is important for us to think about, are the use of these medications, which are very common in the ICU, a modifiable risk factor for delirium? :24
Another study by this group found that steroid use was also associated with long term compromise of physical functioning. Needham says a closer look at how steroids are used in the ICU is needed. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.