Perioperative methylprednisolone and outcome in neonates undergoing heart surgery

Sara K. Pasquali, Jennifer S. Li, Xia He, Marshall L. Jacobs, Sean M. O'Brien, Matthew Hall, Robert D B Jaquiss, Karl F. Welke, Eric D. Peterson, Samir S. Shah, J. William Gaynor, Jeffrey P. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Recent studies have called into question the benefit of perioperative corticosteroids in children undergoing heart surgery, but have been limited by the lack of placebo control, limited power, and grouping of various steroid regimens together in analysis. We evaluated outcomes across methylprednisolone regimens versus no steroids in a large cohort of neonates. METHODS: Clinical data from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Database were linked to medication data from the Pediatric Health Information Systems Database for neonates (#30 days) undergoing heart surgery (2004-2008) at 25 participating centers. Multivariable analysis adjusting for patient and center characteristics, surgical risk category, and within-center clustering was used to evaluate the association of methylprednisolone regimen with outcome. RESULTS: A total of 3180 neonates were included: 22% received methylprednisolone on both the day before and day of surgery, 12% on the day before surgery only, and 28% on the day of surgery only; 38% did not receive any perioperative steroids. In multivariable analysis, there was no significant mortality or length-of-stay benefit associated with any methylprednisolone regimen versus no steroids, and no difference in postoperative infection. In subgroup analysis by surgical-risk group, there was a significant association of methylprednisolone with infection consistent across all regimens (overall odds ratio 2.6, 95% confidence interval 1.3-5.2) in the lower-surgical-risk group. CONCLUSIONS: This multicenter observational analysis did not find any benefit associated with methylprednisolone in neonates undergoing heart surgery and suggested increased infection in certain subgroups. These data reinforce the need for a large randomized trial in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e385-e391
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Congenital heart disease
  • Heart surgery
  • Outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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