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Intensive Care Med. 2016 Aug;42(8):1206-13. doi: 10.1007/s00134-016-4403-7. Epub 2016 Jun 18.

Mortality and pulmonary mechanics in relation to respiratory system and transpulmonary driving pressures in ARDS.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 55 Fruit Street, Bulfinch 108, Boston, MA, 02114, USA.
Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Ave, Boston, MA, 02215, USA.



The driving pressure of the respiratory system has been shown to strongly correlate with mortality in a recent large retrospective ARDSnet study. Respiratory system driving pressure [plateau pressure-positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP)] does not account for variable chest wall compliance. Esophageal manometry can be utilized to determine transpulmonary driving pressure. We have examined the relationships between respiratory system and transpulmonary driving pressure, pulmonary mechanics and 28-day mortality.


Fifty-six patients from a previous study were analyzed to compare PEEP titration to maintain positive transpulmonary end-expiratory pressure to a control protocol. Respiratory system and transpulmonary driving pressures and pulmonary mechanics were examined at baseline, 5 min and 24 h. Analysis of variance and linear regression were used to compare 28 day survivors versus non-survivors and the intervention group versus the control group, respectively.


At baseline and 5 min there was no difference in respiratory system or transpulmonary driving pressure. By 24 h, survivors had lower respiratory system and transpulmonary driving pressures. Similarly, by 24 h the intervention group had lower transpulmonary driving pressure. This decrease was explained by improved elastance and increased PEEP.


The results suggest that utilizing PEEP titration to target positive transpulmonary pressure via esophageal manometry causes both improved elastance and driving pressures. Treatment strategies leading to decreased respiratory system and transpulmonary driving pressure at 24 h may be associated with improved 28 day mortality. Studies to clarify the role of respiratory system and transpulmonary driving pressures as a prognosticator and bedside ventilator target are warranted.


ARDS; Driving pressure; Esophageal manometry; Mortality; Respiratory system driving pressure; Transpulmonary driving pressure

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