Effect of corticosteroid treatment on 1376 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. A cohort study.


Background: Since the start of the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, corticosteroid use has been the subject of debate. The available evidence is uncertain, and knowledge on the subject is evolving. The aim of our cohort study was to evaluate the association between corticosteroid therapy and hospital mortality, in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 after balancing for possible confounders.
Results: One thousand four hundred forty four patients were admitted to our hospital with a positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2, 559 patients (39%) were exposed to corticosteroids during hospital stay, 844 (61%) were not exposed to corticosteroids.In the cohort of patients exposed to corticosteroids, 171 (30.6%) died. In the cohort of patients not exposed to corticosteroids, 183 (21.7%) died (unadjusted p <0.001). Nonetheless, exposure to corticosteroids was not associated with in-hospital mortality after balancing with overlap weight propensity score (adjusted p = 0.25). Patients in the corticosteroids cohort had reduced risk of ICU admission (adjusted p <0.001).
Conclusions: Treatment with corticosteroids did not affect hospital mortality in patients with COVID-19 after balancing for confounders. A possible advantage of corticosteroid therapy was to reduce Intensive Care Unit admission, which could be useful in reducing pressure on the Intensive Care Units in times of limited resources, as during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Competing Interest Statement

The authors have declared no competing interest.

Funding Statement

The study was not funded by any grants.

Author Declarations

I confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.


The details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below:

Comitato Etico di Brescia

All necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived.


I understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).


I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.


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