Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Preoperative Steroids in COPD Patients and Risk of PPCs

Preoperative administration of systemic corticosteroids in stable patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with an increased risk of postoperative wound complications but may not reduce postoperative pulmonary complications (PPCs). Researchers used the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database to identify 92 COPD patients who underwent surgery between 2009 and 2013. The exposure of interest was preoperative systemic corticosteroid therapy. The primary outcomes were PPCs and wound complications. Among the findings:

  • Overall, 42.4% of patients received preoperative systemic corticosteroids.
  • Postoperative wound complications were significantly more frequent in COPD patients who received preoperative systemic corticosteroids vs those who did not (10.3% vs none).
  • However, PPCs were not significantly different between the groups.


Arbid SA, El-Khoury H, Jamali F, Tamim H, Chami H. Association of preoperative systemic corticosteroid therapy with surgical outcomes in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients. Ann Thorac Med. 2019;14(2):141-147. doi:10.4103/atm.ATM_245_18.