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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome: definition, incidence, and epidemiology: proceedings from the Pediatric Acute Lung Injury Consensus Conference

Robinder G Khemani, Lincoln S Smith, Jerry J Zimmerman, Simon Erickson
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine 2015, 16 (5 Suppl 1): S23-40
26035358

OBJECTIVES: Although there are similarities in the pathophysiology of acute respiratory distress syndrome in adults and children, pediatric-specific practice patterns, comorbidities, and differences in outcome necessitate a pediatric-specific definition. We sought to create such a definition.

DESIGN: A subgroup of pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome investigators who drafted a pediatric-specific definition of acute respiratory distress syndrome based on consensus opinion and supported by detailed literature review tested elements of the definition with patient data from previously published investigations.

SETTINGS: International PICUs.

SUBJECTS: Children enrolled in published investigations of pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome.

INTERVENTIONS: None.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Several aspects of the proposed pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome definition align with the Berlin Definition of acute respiratory distress syndrome in adults: timing of acute respiratory distress syndrome after a known risk factor, the potential for acute respiratory distress syndrome to coexist with left ventricular dysfunction, and the importance of identifying a group of patients at risk to develop acute respiratory distress syndrome. There are insufficient data to support any specific age for "adult" acute respiratory distress syndrome compared with "pediatric" acute respiratory distress syndrome. However, children with perinatal-related respiratory failure should be excluded from the definition of pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome. Larger departures from the Berlin Definition surround 1) simplification of chest imaging criteria to eliminate bilateral infiltrates; 2) use of pulse oximetry-based criteria when PaO2 is unavailable; 3) inclusion of oxygenation index and oxygen saturation index instead of PaO2/FIO2 ratio with a minimum positive end-expiratory pressure level for invasively ventilated patients; 4) and specific inclusion of children with preexisting chronic lung disease or cyanotic congenital heart disease.

CONCLUSIONS: This pediatric-specific definition for acute respiratory distress syndrome builds on the adult-based Berlin Definition, but has been modified to account for differences between adults and children with acute respiratory distress syndrome. We propose using this definition for future investigations and clinical care of children with pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome and encourage external validation with the hope for continued iterative refinement of the definition.

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