Severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is strongly related to interstitial pneumonia with frequent development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The role of corticosteroids (CS) treatment in these patients is still controversial. Some studies evidenced a possible role of an early short-term course of CS treatment in the treatment of severe pneumonia.
This is a single-center, retrospective study considering the patients with confirmed COVID-19 pneumonia admitted to our hospital between 9th March and 15 June 2020. Two groups were considered: early high-dose of methyl-prednisolone (eHDM; n ​= ​31) and the control group (n ​= ​52). Patients in the eHDM group received the dose of 5-8 ​mg/kg/day of methyl-prednisolone for 2 consecutive days. Primary outcome was the mortality evaluation; secondary outcomes were clinical improvement, side-effects and laboratory/radiographic changes.
Significant differences between the two groups were: length of hospitalization (21.5 vs 28.4 days, p ​= ​0.026), length of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) or mechanical ventilation (11.5 vs 14.5 days, p ​= ​0.031), death (5 vs 12, p ​= ​0.006) and clinical improvement (16 vs 11, p=0.018). The following factors were related to in-hospital mortality in the multivariate analysis: comorbidities (OR ​= ​2.919; 95%CI ​= ​1.515-16.705; p<0.001), days from the onset of symptoms and the hospital admission (OR ​= ​1.404; 95%CI ​= ​1.069-12.492; p ​= ​0.011), PaO/FiO (P/F) ratio (OR ​= ​3.111; 95%CI ​= ​2.334-16.991; p ​= ​0.009) and eHDM treatment (OR ​= ​0.741; 95%CI ​= ​0.129-0.917; p ​= ​0.007).
The eHDM is an interesting and promising approach in the ARDS related to COVID-19 pneumonia, which reduces mortality, length of hospitalization and the need for mechanical ventilation.

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