Prophylactic Corticosteroids for Prevention of Postextubation Stridor and Reintubation in Adults

A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Published:February 20, 2017DOI:


      Corticosteroid administration before elective extubation has been used to prevent postextubation stridor and reintubation. We updated a systematic review to identify which patients would benefit from prophylactic corticosteroid administration before elective extubation.


      We searched PubMed, EMBASE, the Wanfang Database, the China Academic Journal Network Publishing Database, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for eligible trials from inception through February 29, 2016. All randomized controlled trials were eligible if they examined the efficacy and safety of systemic corticosteroids given prior to elective extubation in mechanically ventilated adults. We pooled data using the DerSimonian and Laird random-effects model.


      We identified 11 trials involving 2,472 participants for analysis. Use of prophylactic corticosteroids was associated with a reduced incidence of postextubation airway events (risk ratio [RR], 0.43; 95% CI, 0.29-0.66) and reintubation (RR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.25-0.71) compared with placebo or no treatment. This association was prominent in participants at high risk for the development of postextubation airway complications, defined using the cuff-leak test, with a reduced incidence of postextubation airway events (RR, 0.34; 95% CI, 0.24-0.48) and reintubation (RR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.20-0.64). This association was not found in trials with unselected participants. Adverse events were rare.


      Administration of prophylactic corticosteroids before elective extubation was associated with significant reductions in the incidence of postextubation airway events and reintubation, with few adverse events. It is reasonable to select patients at high risk for airway obstruction who may benefit from prophylactic corticosteroids.

      Key Words


      RR ( risk ratio)
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