High survival rate in 122 ARDS patients managed according to a clinical algorithm including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

K Lewandowski, R Rossaint, D Pappert, H Gerlach, K J Slama, H Weidemann, D J Frey, O Hoffmann, U Keske, K J Falke
Intensive Care Medicine 1997, 23 (8): 819-35

OBJECTIVE: We investigated whether a treatment according to a clinical algorithm could improve the low survival rates in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

DESIGN: Uncontrolled prospective trial.

SETTING: One university hospital intensive care department.

PATIENTS AND PARTICIPANTS: 122 patients with ARDS, consecutively admitted to the ICU.

INTERVENTIONS: ARDS was treated according to a criteria-defined clinical algorithm. The algorithm distinguished two main treatment groups: The AT-sine-ECMO (advanced treatment without extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) groups (n = 73) received a treatment consisting of a set of advanced non-invasive treatment options, the ECMO treatment group (n = 49) received additional extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) using heparin-coated systems.

MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: The groups differed in both APACHE II (16 +/- 5 vs 18 +/- 5 points, p = 0.01) and Murray scores (3.2 +/- 0.3 vs 3.4 +/- 0.3 points, p = 0.0001), the duration of mechanical ventilation prior to admission (10 +/- 9 vs 13 +/- 9 days, p = 0.0151), and length of ICU stay in Berlin (31 +/- 17 vs 50 +/- 36 days, p = 0.0016). Initial PaO2/FIO2 was 86 +/- 27 mm Hg in AT-sine-ECMO patients that improved to 165 +/- 107 mm Hg on ICU day 1, while ECMO patients showed an initial PaO2/FIO2 of 67 +/- 28 mm Hg and improvement to 160 +/- 102 mm Hg was not reached until ICU day 13. QS/QT was significantly higher in the ECMO-treated group and exceeded 50% during the first 14 ICU days. The overall survival rate in our 122 ARDS patients was 75%. Survival rates were 89% in the AT-sine ECMO group and 55% in the ECMO treatment group (p = 0.0000).

CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that patients with ARDS can be successfully treated with the clinical algorithm and high survival rates can be achieved.

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