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Chest. 1993 Mar;103(3):932-43.

Immunologic therapy for ARDS, septic shock, and multiple-organ failure.

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Department of Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210.


Advances in cytokine biology and molecular biology have led to the development of novel immunologic approaches to the treatment of septic shock, ARDS, and MOF. These advances are necessary since improvements in supportive care clearly fall short of the hoped-for reductions in mortality associated with these disorders. As noted in this review, these new therapies are directed at three distinct levels of the inflammatory cascade: (1) the inciting event or insult (eg, endotoxin); (2) the mediators (eg, TNF, IL-1); and (3) the effector cells (eg, neutrophils). The current status of these treatments has been reviewed; and while each individual therapy has shown potential, it is likely that combinations of these agents may be necessary to substantially impact on survival. That is, due to the complexity and redundancy of the inflammatory network, it is doubtful that a "magic bullet" will be found. However, it is also clear that advances in our understanding of the pathogenesis of ARDS, septic shock, and MOF at the molecular level have provided clinicians with powerful weapons with which to do battle. It remains to be seen which ones will work the best.

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