Steroid Therapy for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in Nonseptic Lobectomy Patients

Clinical Pulmonary Medicine, 05/02/2012

Nonseptic patients with Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and acute lung injury (ALI) identified by CT scan and given steroids early in the course of ARDS after surgery demonstrated a rapid recovery, which is considerably better than historical data.


  • A total of 625 lobectomies were performed between August 1999 and January 2010.
  • Eleven patients developed ARDS and 2 developed ALI.


  • Symptoms developed an average of 3.2days (1 to 5d) after surgery.
  • Early chest x-ray findings showed only nonspecific infiltrative process that started in the lung contralateral to the side of resection.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scans demonstrated diffuse ground-glass opacities that were not recognized by chest x-rays.
  • The response to this steroid regimen was rapid with a significant improvement occurring in the PaO2/FiO2 ratio within 24hours.
  • There were no mortalities.
  • The average time on a ventilator was 1.5days and the average hospital length of stay was 11days.
  • A CT scan and a high degree of clinical awareness are essential in making an early diagnosis of ARDS/ALI after a lobectomy.

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