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Concept: Pulmonary contusion


Background Previous trials suggesting that high-frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFOV) reduced mortality among adults with the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) were limited by the use of outdated comparator ventilation strategies and small sample sizes. Methods In a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial conducted at 39 intensive care units in five countries, we randomly assigned adults with new-onset, moderate-to-severe ARDS to HFOV targeting lung recruitment or to a control ventilation strategy targeting lung recruitment with the use of low tidal volumes and high positive end-expiratory pressure. The primary outcome was the rate of in-hospital death from any cause. Results On the recommendation of the data monitoring committee, we stopped the trial after 548 of a planned 1200 patients had undergone randomization. The two study groups were well matched at baseline. The HFOV group underwent HFOV for a median of 3 days (interquartile range, 2 to 8); in addition, 34 of 273 patients (12%) in the control group received HFOV for refractory hypoxemia. In-hospital mortality was 47% in the HFOV group, as compared with 35% in the control group (relative risk of death with HFOV, 1.33; 95% confidence interval, 1.09 to 1.64; P=0.005). This finding was independent of baseline abnormalities in oxygenation or respiratory compliance. Patients in the HFOV group received higher doses of midazolam than did patients in the control group (199 mg per day [interquartile range, 100 to 382] vs. 141 mg per day [interquartile range, 68 to 240], P<0.001), and more patients in the HFOV group than in the control group received neuromuscular blockers (83% vs. 68%, P<0.001). In addition, more patients in the HFOV group received vasoactive drugs (91% vs. 84%, P=0.01) and received them for a longer period than did patients in the control group (5 days vs. 3 days, P=0.01). Conclusions In adults with moderate-to-severe ARDS, early application of HFOV, as compared with a ventilation strategy of low tidal volume and high positive end-expiratory pressure, does not reduce, and may increase, in-hospital mortality. (Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; Current Controlled Trials numbers, ISRCTN42992782 and ISRCTN87124254 , and numbers, NCT00474656 and NCT01506401 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Pulmonology, Sample size, Medical statistics, Intensive care medicine, Acute respiratory distress syndrome, Mechanical ventilation, Pulmonary contusion


Acute respiratory compromise describes a deterioration in respiratory function with a high likelihood of rapid progression to respiratory failure and death. Identifying patients at risk for respiratory compromise coupled with monitoring of patients who have developed respiratory compromise might allow earlier interventions to prevent or mitigate further decompensation. The National Association for the Medical Direction of Respiratory Care (NAMDRC) organized a workshop meeting with representation from many national societies to address the unmet needs of respiratory compromise from a clinical practice perspective. Respiratory compromise may arise de novo or may complicate preexisting lung disease. The group identified distinct subsets of respiratory compromise that present similar opportunities for early detection and useful intervention to prevent respiratory failure. The subtypes were characterized by the pathophysiological mechanisms they had in common: impaired control of breathing, impaired airway protection, parenchymal lung disease, increased airway resistance, hydrostatic pulmonary edema, and right-ventricular failure. Classification of acutely ill respiratory patients into one or more of these categories may help in selecting the screening and monitoring strategies that are most appropriate for the patient’s particular pathophysiology. Standardized screening and monitoring practices for patients with similar mechanisms of deterioration may enhance the ability to predict respiratory failure early and prevent its occurrence.

Concepts: Cancer, Pulmonology, Lung, Patient, Pulmonary contusion, Respiratory system, Edema, Pulmonary edema


The adverse effects of mechanical ventilation in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) arise from two main causes: unphysiological increases of transpulmonary pressure and unphysiological increases/decreases of pleural pressure during positive or negative pressure ventilation. The transpulmonary pressure-related side effects primarily account for ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI) while the pleural pressure-related side effects primarily account for hemodynamic alterations. The changes of transpulmonary pressure and pleural pressure resulting from a given applied driving pressure depend on the relative elastances of the lung and chest wall. The term ‘volutrauma’ should refer to excessive strain, while ‘barotrauma’ should refer to excessive stress. Strains exceeding 1.5, corresponding to a stress above ~20 cmH2O in humans, are severely damaging in experimental animals. Apart from high tidal volumes and high transpulmonary pressures, the respiratory rate and inspiratory flow may also play roles in the genesis of VILI. We do not know which fraction of mortality is attributable to VILI with ventilation comparable to that reported in recent clinical practice surveys (tidal volume ~7.5 ml/kg, positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) ~8 cmH2O, rate ~20 bpm, associated mortality ~35%). Therefore, a more complete and individually personalized understanding of ARDS lung mechanics and its interaction with the ventilator is needed to improve future care. Knowledge of functional lung size would allow the quantitative estimation of strain. The determination of lung inhomogeneity/stress raisers would help assess local stresses; the measurement of lung recruitability would guide PEEP selection to optimize lung size and homogeneity. Finding a safety threshold for mechanical power, normalized to functional lung volume and tissue heterogeneity, may help precisely define the safety limits of ventilating the individual in question. When a mechanical ventilation set cannot be found to avoid an excessive risk of VILI, alternative methods (such as the artificial lung) should be considered.

Concepts: Pulmonology, Pneumonia, Respiratory physiology, Intensive care medicine, Acute respiratory distress syndrome, Mechanical ventilation, Pulmonary contusion, Thermodynamics


Lung injury activates multiple pro-inflammatory pathways, including neutrophils, epithelial, and endothelial injury, and coagulation factors leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Low-dose methylprednisolone therapy (MPT) improved oxygenation and ventilation in early pediatric ARDS without altering duration of mechanical ventilation or mortality. We evaluated the effects of MPT on biomarkers of endothelial [Ang-2 and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1)] or epithelial [soluble receptor for activated glycation end products (sRAGE)] injury, neutrophil activation [matrix metalloproteinase-8 (MMP-8)], and coagulation (plasminogen activator inhibitor-1).

Concepts: Pulmonology, Blood, Pneumonia, Acute respiratory distress syndrome, Shock, Pulmonary contusion, Fibrinolysis, Endothelium


Mechanical ventilation with a tidal volume (VT) of 6 mL/kg/predicted body weight (PBW), to maintain plateau pressure (Pplat) lower than 30 cmH2O, does not completely avoid the risk of ventilator induced lung injury (VILI). The aim of this study was to evaluate safety and feasibility of a ventilation strategy consisting of very low VT combined with extracorporeal carbon dioxide removal (ECCO2R).

Concepts: Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Pulmonology, Pneumonia, Respiratory physiology, Acute respiratory distress syndrome, Mechanical ventilation, Pulmonary contusion


Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a common condition in intensive care unit patients and remains a major concern, with mortality rates of around 30-45% and considerable long-term morbidity. Respiratory support in these patients must be optimized to ensure adequate gas exchange while minimizing the risks of ventilator-induced lung injury. The aim of this expert opinion document is to review the available clinical evidence related to ventilator support and adjuvant therapies in order to provide evidence-based and experience-based clinical recommendations for the management of patients with ARDS.

Concepts: Pulmonology, The Canon of Medicine, Intensive care medicine, Avicenna, Acute respiratory distress syndrome, Mechanical ventilation, Infant respiratory distress syndrome, Pulmonary contusion


Extravascular lung water (EVLW) is a key variable in heart failure management and prognosis, but its objective assessment remains elusive. Lung imaging has been traditionally considered off-limits for ultrasound techniques due to the acoustic barrier of high-impedance air wall. In pulmonary congestion however, the presence of both air and water creates a peculiar echo fingerprint. Lung ultrasound shows B-lines, comet-like signals arising from a hyper-echoic pleural line with a to-and-fro movement synchronized with respiration. Increasing EVLW accumulation changes the normal, no-echo signal (black lung, no EVLW) into a black-and-white pattern (interstitial sub-pleural oedema with multiple B-lines) or a white lung pattern (alveolar pulmonary oedema) with coalescing B-lines. The number and spatial extent of B-lines on the antero-lateral chest allows a semi-quantitative estimation of EVLW (from absent, ≤5, to severe pulmonary oedema, >30 B-lines). Wet B-lines are made by water and decreased by diuretics, which cannot modify dry B-lines made by connective tissue. B-lines can be evaluated anywhere (including extreme environmental conditions with pocket size instruments to detect high-altitude pulmonary oedema), anytime (during dialysis to titrate intervention), by anyone (even a novice sonographer after 1 h training), and on anybody (since the chest acoustic window usually remains patent when echocardiography is not feasible). Cardiologists can achieve much diagnostic gain with little investment of technology, training, and time. B-lines represent ‘the shape of lung water’. They allow non-invasive detection, in real time, of even sub-clinical forms of pulmonary oedema with a low cost, radiation-free approach.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Cardiology, Heart, Epithelium, Pulmonary contusion, Pneumothorax, Edema, Pulmonary edema


Background Patients with the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) require mechanical ventilation to maintain arterial oxygenation, but this treatment may produce secondary lung injury. High-frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFOV) may reduce this secondary damage. Methods In a multicenter study, we randomly assigned adults requiring mechanical ventilation for ARDS to undergo either HFOV with a Novalung R100 ventilator (Metran) or usual ventilatory care. All the patients had a ratio of the partial pressure of arterial oxygen (PaO(2)) to the fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO(2)) of 200 mm Hg (26.7 kPa) or less and an expected duration of ventilation of at least 2 days. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality 30 days after randomization. Results There was no significant between-group difference in the primary outcome, which occurred in 166 of 398 patients (41.7%) in the HFOV group and 163 of 397 patients (41.1%) in the conventional-ventilation group (P=0.85 by the chi-square test). After adjustment for study center, sex, score on the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II, and the initial PaO(2):FiO(2) ratio, the odds ratio for survival in the conventional-ventilation group was 1.03 (95% confidence interval, 0.75 to 1.40; P=0.87 by logistic regression). Conclusions The use of HFOV had no significant effect on 30-day mortality in patients undergoing mechanical ventilation for ARDS. (Funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme; OSCAR Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN10416500 .).

Concepts: Epidemiology, Pulmonology, Pneumonia, Intensive care medicine, Acute respiratory distress syndrome, Mechanical ventilation, Pulmonary contusion, Pressure


Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is an often fatal neutrophil-dominant lung disease. Although influenced by multiple proinflammatory mediators, identification of suitable therapeutic candidates remains elusive. We aimed to delineate the presence of mitochondrial formylated peptides in ARDS and characterise the functional importance of formyl peptide receptor 1 (FPR1) signalling in sterile lung inflammation.

Concepts: Inflammation, Protein, Pulmonology, Pneumonia, Acute respiratory distress syndrome, Pulmonary contusion, Sepsis, Formyl peptide receptor


Small 14F pigtail catheters (PCs) have been shown to drain air quite well in patients with traumatic pneumothorax (PTX). But their effectiveness in draining blood in patients with traumatic hemothorax (HTX) or hemopneumothorax (HPTX) is unknown. We hypothesized that 14F PCs can drain blood as well as large-bore 32F to 40F chest tubes. We herein report our early case series experience with PCs in the management of traumatic HTX and HPTX.

Concepts: Hospital, Pulmonary contusion, Pneumothorax, Physical trauma, Chest tube, Hemothorax, Chest trauma, Hemopneumothorax