Early severe acute respiratory distress syndrome: What's going on? Part I: pathophysiology

Fabrice Petitjeans, Cyrille Pichot, Marco Ghignone, Luc Quintin
Anaesthesiology Intensive Therapy 2016, 48 (5): 314-338
Severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS, PaO₂/FiO₂ < 100 on PEEP ≥ 5 cm H₂O) is treated using controlled mechanical ventilation (CMV), recently combined with muscle relaxation for 48 h and prone positioning. While the amplitude of tidal volume appears set < 6 mL kg⁻¹, the level of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) remains controversial. This overview summarizes several salient points, namely: a) ARDS is an oxygenation defect: consolidation/ difuse alveolar damage is reversed by PEEP and/or prone positioning, at least during the early phase of ARDS b) ARDS is a dynamic disease and partially iatrogenic. This implies that the management of the ventilator may be a life-saver by reducing the duration of mechanical ventilation, or detrimental by extending this duration, leading into critical care-acquired diseases. Indeed, a high PEEP (10-24 cm H₂O) appears to be a life-saver in the context of early severe diffuse ARDS; c) tidal volume and plateau pressure cannot be identical for all patients; d) the only remaining rationale for CMV and muscle relaxation is to suppress patient-ventilator asynchrony and to lower VO2, during the acute cardio-ventilatory distress. Therefore, in early severe diffuse ARDS, this review argues for a combination of a high PEEP (preferably titrated on transpulmonary pressure) with spontaneous ventilation + pressure support (or newer modes of ventilation). However, conditionalities are stringent: upfront circulatory optimization, upright positioning, lowered VO₂, lowered acidotic and hypercapnic drives, sedation without ventilatory depression and without lowered muscular tone. As these propositions require evidence-based demonstration, the accepted practice remains, in 2016, controlled mechanical ventilation, muscle relaxation, and prone position.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"