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Crit Care Med. 2005 Mar;33(3):479-86.

Combining high-frequency oscillatory ventilation and recruitment maneuvers in adults with early acute respiratory distress syndrome: the Treatment with Oscillation and an Open Lung Strategy (TOOLS) Trial pilot study.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Respirology, and the Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine, University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.



To determine the safety, feasibility, and lung-recruitment efficacy of an explicit ventilation protocol combining high-frequency oscillatory ventilation and recruitment maneuvers.


Prospective, multiple-center, single-intervention pilot study.


Four university-affiliated intensive care units.


Twenty-five patients with early acute respiratory distress syndrome and severe oxygenation failure.


Patients were transitioned from standardized conventional ventilation to high-frequency oscillatory ventilation beginning with an initial cycle of up to three sustained inflation recruitment maneuvers (40 cm H2O x 40 secs), followed by a decremental titration of Fio2 and then mean airway pressure. Recruitment maneuvers were repeated for hypoxemia and routinely at least twice daily if the Fio2 was >0.4. A specific protocol was used for weaning high-frequency oscillatory ventilation, for transitioning to conventional ventilation, and for judging intolerance of conventional ventilation whereby patients should be put back on high-frequency oscillatory ventilation.


Patients (median [interquartile range] Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II, 24 [19-32]; age, 50 [41-64]) were enrolled after 13 (range, 6-51) hrs of conventional ventilation. Following the initial cycle of recruitment, the mean (+/-sd) Pao2/Fio2 increased significantly compared with standardized conventional ventilation (200 +/- 117 vs. 92 +/- 36 mm Hg, p < .001). After a mean of 12 hrs of high-frequency oscillatory ventilation, the mean Fio2 was significantly reduced compared with prestudy levels (0.5 +/- 0.2 vs. 0.9 +/- 0.1, p < .001). A median of seven (four to 11) recruitment maneuvers was performed per patient over the study period, with only eight of 244 (3.3%) being aborted. Six of 19 patients transitioned to conventional ventilation (32%) were deemed intolerant and were switched back to high-frequency oscillatory ventilation. Protocol adherence was excellent with documented rates >90%.


The combination of high-frequency oscillatory ventilation and recruitment maneuvers resulted in rapid and sustained improvement in oxygenation, likely through lung recruitment. This explicit high-frequency oscillatory ventilation protocol appears well tolerated, feasible, and physiologically sound.

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