Corticosteroids in acute respiratory distress syndrome: meta-analysis
Nick Dunn explains a study that uses Bayesian methods
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a serious illness with an appreciable mortality rate, which occurs in patients who are ill from some other cause, such as sepsis. It is characterised by stiff lungs, diffuse bilateral pulmonary infiltrate, hypoxaemia, and the absence of cardiogenic pulmonary oedema. Clinical features consist of tachypnoea, increasing hypoxaemia, and laboured breathing. Chest x ray images shows diffuse bilateral shadowing, which may eventually progress to complete whiteout.
The introduction to this paper is admirably brief and states that the use of steroids in this illness is controversial. The aims of this study are to review the evidence for using steroids as a preventive measure and as a therapeutic measure. Previous overviews of the evidence have been contradictory, so this might seem a good reason to do a further review, using more rigorous methodology.
This study design is a meta-analysis, a statistical synthesis of the numerical results