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Crit Care. 2013 Apr 29;17(2):225. doi: 10.1186/cc11867.

Clinical review: Acute respiratory distress syndrome - clinical ventilator management and adjunct therapy.


Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a potentially devastating form of acute inflammatory lung injury with a high short-term mortality rate and significant long-term consequences among survivors. Supportive care, principally with mechanical ventilation, remains the cornerstone of therapy - although the goals of this support have changed in recent years - from maintaining normal physiological parameters to avoiding ventilator-induced lung injury while providing adequate gas exchange. In this article we discuss the current evidence base for ventilatory support and adjunctive therapies in patients with ARDS. Key components of such a strategy include avoiding lung overdistension by limiting tidal volumes and airway pressures, and the use of positive end-expiratory pressure with or without lung recruitment manoeuvres in patients with severe ARDS. Adjunctive therapies discussed include pharmacologic techniques (for example, vasodilators, diuretics, neuromuscular blockade) and nonpharmacologic techniques (for example, prone position, alternative modes of ventilation).

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