Physiological Effects of Corticosteroids in Foodstuff Aspiration

James W. Wynne, MD; Frank J. DeMarco, MD; C. Ian Hood, MD
Arch Surg. 1981;116(1):46-49. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1981.01380130028007.
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• Aspiration of gastric contents that contain small food particles has been shown to cause severe pneumonitis, even when the pH of the aspirate is greater than 2.5. The effects of corticosteroids on the hemodynamic and ventilatory consequences of this type of aspiration have not been investigated. Twenty healthy mongrel dogs were anesthetized and 2 mL/kg of gastric contents (pH 5.9) that contained small food particles were injected into their tracheas. Group 1 animals (controls, N = 10) received no therapy. Group 2 animals (steroid-treated, N = 10) were given methylprednisolone intravenously, 30 mg/kg, three times a day beginning one hour after aspiration. The animals were observed for 14 days, during which time there were no statistically significant differences between the groups in mortality, Paco2, pH, systemic and pulmonary arterial blood pressures, fractional intrapulmonary shunt, or histological findings. Arterial Po2 was lower at 24 hours in group 2 dogs than in group 1 dogs. We conclude that steroids are of no benefit in the treatment of foodstuff-induced aspiration pneumonia.

(Arch Surg 116:46-49, 1981)


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