Late-stage Use of Low-dose Corticosteroids Aid Recovery of Severe H1N1 Viral Pneumonia

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The role of corticosteroids in the management of severely ill patients with influenza A (H1N1) viral infection is unclear and controversial. Two critically ill cases with influenza A (H1N1) infections complicated with organizing pneumonia (OP) in 2011 successfully treated with low dose corticosteroids were reported here. After initial clinical improvement, the condition of both patients aggravated 20-23 days after the onset of illness. Chest X-ray and computed tomographies (CT) showed an increment of lung infiltrates. Cultures of blood, pleural fluid and transbronchial aspirate were negative for bacteria and fungi. Organizing pneumonia was diagnosed clinically and both patients were successfully treated with low-dose corticosteroids. Low-dose corticosteroids initiated during convalescence may be beneficial for severe swine-origin influenza A H1N1 pandemic 2009 virus (S-OIV) infections.

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