Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Services Research & Development

Go to the ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Dexamethasone in hospitalised coronavirus-19 patients not on intensive respiratory support.

Crothers K, DeFaccio R, Tate J, Alba PR, Goetz MB, Jones B, King JT, Marconi V, Ohl ME, Rentsch CT, Rodriguez-Barradas MC, Shahrir S, Justice AC, Akgün KM, Veterans Aging Cohort Study Clinical COVID-19 Working Group. Dexamethasone in hospitalised coronavirus-19 patients not on intensive respiratory support. The European respiratory journal. 2021 Nov 25.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


INTRODUCTION: Dexamethasone decreases mortality in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients on intensive respiratory support (IRS) but is of uncertain benefit if less severely ill. We determined whether early (within 48 h) dexamethasone was associated with mortality in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 not on IRS. METHODS: We included patients admitted to Veterans Affairs hospitals between June 7, 2020-May 31, 2021 within 14-days after SARS-CoV-2 positive test. Exclusions included recent prior corticosteroids and IRS within 48 h. We used inverse probability of treatment weights (IPTW) to balance exposed and unexposed groups, and Cox proportional hazards models to determine 90-day all-cause mortality. RESULTS: Of 19 973 total patients (95% men, median age 71, 27% black), 15 404 (77%) were without IRS within 48 h. Of these, 3514/9450 (34%) patients on no oxygen received dexamethasone and 1042 (11%) died; 4472/5954 (75%) patients on low-flow nasal cannula (NC) received dexamethasone and 857 (14%) died. In IPTW stratified models, patients on no oxygen who received dexamethasone experienced 76% increased risk for 90-day mortality (hazard ratio [HR] 1.76, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.47 to 2.12); there was no association with mortality among patients on NC (HR 1.08, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.36). CONCLUSION: In patients hospitalised with COVID-19, early initiation of dexamethasone was common and was associated with no mortality benefit among those on no oxygen or NC in the first 48 h; instead, we found evidence of potential harm. These real-world findings do not support the use of early dexamethasone in hospitalised COVID-19 patients without IRS.

Questions about the HSR&D website? Email the Web Team.

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.