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J Crit Care. 2011 Jun;26(3):249-56. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2010.06.005. Epub 2010 Aug 4.

Alveolar fluid clearance is faster in women with acute lung injury compared to men.

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  • 1Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232-2650, USA.



Studies suggest that there is a sex difference in the development and outcomes of acute lung injury (ALI). Few studies have directly addressed the association of sex and alveolar fluid clearance (AFC), a process that is critical to ALI resolution.


To test the hypothesis that female sex is associated with an increased AFC rate, we measured AFC rates in 150 mechanically ventilated patients with acute pulmonary edema and a pulmonary edema fluid-to-plasma protein ratio (EF/PL) diagnostic of low permeability (EF/PL <0.65, n = 69) or high permeability (EF/PL ≥0.65, n = 81) edema. We measured protein concentration in serial samples of undiluted EF collected within 6 hours of intubation and calculated net rate of AFC. In addition, plasma levels of receptor for advanced glycation end products were measured as a surrogate marker for alveolar epithelial injury.


In patients with ALI, women had higher rates of net AFC at 4 hours compared to men (11.9% per hour vs 4.3% per hour, P = .017) and more women had maximal rates of AFC. There were no differences in circulating levels of receptor for advanced glycation end products between men and women.


These findings may have significant implications for future ALI studies and potential therapies.

Published by Elsevier Inc.

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