Aspirin as a potential treatment in sepsis or acute respiratory distress syndrome

Philip Toner, Danny Francis McAuley, Murali Shyamsundar
Critical Care: the Official Journal of the Critical Care Forum 2015 October 23, 19: 374
Sepsis is a common condition that is associated with significant morbidity, mortality and health-care cost. Pulmonary and non-pulmonary sepsis are common causes of the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The mortality from ARDS remains high despite protective lung ventilation, and currently there are no specific pharmacotherapies to treat sepsis or ARDS. Sepsis and ARDS are characterised by activation of the inflammatory cascade. Although there is much focus on the study of the dysregulated inflammation and its suppression, the associated activation of the haemostatic system has been largely ignored until recently. There has been extensive interest in the role that platelet activation can have in the inflammatory response through induction, aggregation and activation of leucocytes and other platelets. Aspirin can modulate multiple pathogenic mechanisms implicated in the development of multiple organ dysfunction in sepsis and ARDS. This review will discuss the role of the platelet, the mechanisms of action of aspirin in sepsis and ARDS, and aspirin as a potential therapy in treating sepsis and ARDS.

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