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Respir Care. 2019 Sep 10. pii: respcare.07026. doi: 10.4187/respcare.07026. [Epub ahead of print]

A Survey of Academic Intensivists' Use of Neuromuscular Blockade in Subjects With ARDS.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
Baltimore Veterans Administration Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland.



Our Cooling to Help Injured Lungs (CHILL) trial of therapeutic hypothermia in ARDS includes neuromuscular blockade (NMB) as an inclusion criterion to avoid shivering. NMB has been used to facilitate mechanical ventilation in ARDS and was shown to reduce mortality in the ACURASYS trial. To assess the feasibility of a multi-center CHILL trial, we conducted a survey of academic intensivists about their NMB use in patients with ARDS.


We distributed via email a 16-question survey about NMB use in patients with ARDS including frequency, indications, and dosing strategy.


212 (24.3%) of 871 respondents completed the survey: 94.7% were board-certified in internal medicine, 88% in pulmonary and critical care; 90.3% practiced in academic medical centers, with 87% working in medical ICUs; 96.6% of respondents who treat ARDS use NMB, and 39.7% use NMB in ≥ 50% of these patients. Of 4 listed indications for initiating NMB in ARDS, allowing adherence with lung-protective ventilator strategies and patient-ventilator synchrony were cited as the most important reasons, followed by the results of the ACURASYS trial and facilitating prone positioning.


We conclude that NMB is frequently used by academic intensivists to facilitate mechanical ventilation in patients with moderate to severe ARDS.


ACURASYS trial; acute respiratory distress syndrome; intensivist; lung-protective ventilation; mechanical ventilation; neuromuscular blockade; survey


Conflict of interest statement

The authors have disclosed no conflicts of interest.

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