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2.  Low-dose hydrocortisone in patients with cirrhosis and septic shock: a randomized controlled trial 
Background
Recent studies have reported a high prevalence of relative adrenal insufficiency in patients with liver cirrhosis. However, the effect of corticosteroid replacement on mortality in this high-risk group remains unclear. We examined the effect of low-dose hydrocortisone in patients with cirrhosis who presented with septic shock.
Methods
We enrolled patients with cirrhosis and septic shock aged 18 years or older in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Relative adrenal insufficiency was defined as a serum cortisol increase of less than 250 nmol/L or 9 μg/dL from baseline after stimulation with 250 μg of intravenous corticotropin. Patients were assigned to receive 50 mg of intravenous hydrocortisone or placebo every six hours until hemodynamic stability was achieved, followed by steroid tapering over eight days. The primary outcome was 28-day all-cause mortality.
Results
The trial was stopped for futility at interim analysis after 75 patients were enrolled. Relative adrenal insufficiency was diagnosed in 76% of patients. Compared with the placebo group (n = 36), patients in the hydrocortisone group (n = 39) had a significant reduction in vasopressor doses and higher rates of shock reversal (relative risk [RR] 1.58, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.98–2.55, p = 0.05). Hydrocortisone use was not associated with a reduction in 28-day mortality (RR 1.17, 95% CI 0.92–1.49, p = 0.19) but was associated with an increase in shock relapse (RR 2.58, 95% CI 1.04–6.45, p = 0.03) and gastrointestinal bleeding (RR 3.00, 95% CI 1.08–8.36, p = 0.02).
Interpretation
Relative adrenal insufficiency was very common in patients with cirrhosis presenting with septic shock. Despite initial favourable effects on hemodynamic parameters, hydrocortisone therapy did not reduce mortality and was associated with an increase in adverse effects. (Current Controlled Trials registry no. ISRCTN99675218.)
doi:10.1503/cmaj.090707
PMCID: PMC3001503  PMID: 21059778
3.  Immunophenotyping of Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes in Saudi Men 
Flow cytometry is an important tool for the diagnosis and follow-up of immunodeficiency patients, as well as for pateints with leukemia and lymphoma. Lymphocytes and their subsets show variations with race. The aim of this study was to establish reference ranges for lymphocytes and their subsets in an Saudi adult population by using flow cytometry. Blood samples obtained from 209 healthy Saudi men were used for this study. All blood donors were between 18 and 44 years old. Lymphocytes and their subsets were analyzed by flow cytometry, and the absolute and percentage values were calculated. We investigated the expression of T-cell markers (CD3, CD4, and CD8), B cells (CD19), and natural killer cells (CD16 and CD56). The absolute and percent values of each cell subset were compared with published data from different populations by using the Student t test. Reference ranges, each expressed as the mean ± the standard deviation, were as follows: leukocytes (6,335 ± 1759), total lymphocytes (2,224 ± 717), CD3 cells (1,618 ± 547), CD4 cells (869 ± 310), CD8 cells (615 ± 278), CD19 cells (230 ± 130), and CD3-CD16+/CD56+ cells (262 ± 178). The CD4/CD8 ratio was 1.6 ± 0.7. Our results for B cells, CD4 cells, and CD8 cells and for the CD4/CD8 ratio fell in between the reported results for Ethiopian and Dutch subjects. Our results were also different from previously reported findings in an Saudi adult population that showed no increase in CD8 T cells. We thus establish here the reference ranges for lymphocytes and their subsets in a large cohort of Saudi men. The CD8 cell count was not abnormally high, as previously reported, and fell in between previous results obtained for African and European populations.
doi:10.1128/CDLI.9.2.279-281.2002
PMCID: PMC119953  PMID: 11874863

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