Perioperative corticosteroid management for patients with inflammatory bowel disease

Caitlin W. Hicks, Elizabeth C. Wick, Roberto Salvatori, Christina Y. Ha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Guidelines on the appropriate use of perioperative steroids in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are lacking. As a result, corticosteroid supplementation during and after colorectal surgery procedures has been shown to be highly variable. A clearer understanding of the indications for perioperative corticosteroid administration relative to preoperative corticosteroid dosing and duration of therapy is essential. In this review, we outline the basic tenets of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and its normal response to stress, describe how corticosteroid use is thought to affect this system, and provide an overview of the currently available data on perioperative corticosteroid supplementation including the limited evidence pertaining to patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Based on currently existing data, we define "adrenal suppression," and propose a patient-based approach to perioperative corticosteroid management in the inflammatory bowel disease population based on an individual's historical use of corticosteroids, the type of surgery they are undergoing, and HPA axis testing when applicable. Patients without adrenal suppression (,5 mg prednisone per day) do not require extra corticosteroid supplementation in the perioperative period; patients with adrenal suppression (.20 mg prednisone per day) should be treated with additional perioperative corticosteroid coverage above their baseline home regimen; and patients with unclear HPA axis function (.5 and ,20 mg prednisone per day) should undergo preoperative HPA axis testing to determine the best management practices. The proposed management algorithm attempts to balance the risks of adrenal insufficiency and immunosuppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-228
Number of pages8
JournalInflammatory bowel diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Corticosteroids
  • Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Perioperative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Gastroenterology


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