We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more
For more information, go to

Did prednisolone affect my recovery after heart surgery?

Q) I’m a rheumatoid arthritis sufferer of about 20 years, on prednisolone and methotrexate. I recently had a coronary followed by two procedures for angioplasty and a heart bypass. I believe I suffered a slower recovery because the management of my prednisolone postoperatively could have been handled better. Could you comment?
Maurice Childs, Orpington, Kent (Winter 2010)

A) It's difficult to comment as you don’t say in what way you think the dosage of prednisolone could have been altered for the better. Some doctors believe that methotrexate should be stopped during operations and such like as it may delay healing, but clinical trials have shown no basis for this. Steroids, including prednisolone, should be increased during times of physical stress and then tapered to their former dose when the stress is over. A heart attack, or coronary, is just one example of such stress, and an operation would be another. Why do you need more steroid during times of physical stress? Normally your body produces more of these naturally occurring hormones during such periods, but if you've been on steroids for some time the body is less able to respond. In these cases, we artificially increase the dose of steroid to do the job the body would normally do.


0800 5200 520

Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes

More Information Close
For more information, go to or call 0300 790 0400 to order the complete printed booklet.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.