Rationale and design of the STeroids to REduce Systemic inflammation after infant heart Surgery (STRESS) trial.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Multicenter Study;Pragmatic Clinical Trial)

For decades, physicians have administered corticosteroids in the perioperative period to infants undergoing heart surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) to reduce the postoperative systemic inflammatory response to CPB. Some question this practice because steroid efficacy has not been conclusively demonstrated and because some studies indicate that steroids could have harmful effects. STRESS is a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial designed to evaluate safety and efficacy of perioperative steroids in infants (age < 1 year) undergoing heart surgery with CPB. Participants (planned enrollment = 1,200) are randomized 1:1 to methylprednisolone (30 mg/kg) administered into the CPB pump prime versus placebo. The trial is nested within the existing infrastructure of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Congenital Heart Surgery Database. The primary outcome is a global rank score of mortality, major morbidities, and hospital length of stay with components ranked commensurate with their clinical severity. Secondary outcomes include several measures of major postoperative morbidity, postoperative hospital length of stay, and steroid-related safety outcomes including prevalence of hyperglycemia and postoperative infectious complications. STRESS will be one of the largest trials ever conducted in children with heart disease and will answer a decades-old question related to safety and efficacy of perioperative steroids in infants undergoing heart surgery with CPB. The pragmatic "trial within a registry" design may provide a mechanism for conducting low-cost, high-efficiency trials in a heretofore-understudied patient population.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hill, KD; Baldwin, HS; Bichel, DP; Butts, RJ; Chamberlain, RC; Ellis, AM; Graham, EM; Hickerson, J; Hornik, CP; Jacobs, JP; Jacobs, ML; Jaquiss, RD; Kannankeril, PJ; O'Brien, SM; Torok, R; Turek, JW; Li, JS; STRESS Network Investigators,

Published Date

  • February 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 220 /

Start / End Page

  • 192 - 202

PubMed ID

  • 31855716

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7008076

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-6744

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ahj.2019.11.016


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States