Rapidly Improving ARDS in Therapeutic Randomized Controlled Trials

Edward J. Schenck, Clara Oromendia, Lisa K. Torres, David A. Berlin, Augustine M.K. Choi, Ilias I. Siempos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Background: Observational studies suggest that some patients meeting criteria for ARDS no longer fulfill the oxygenation criterion early in the course of their illness. This subphenotype of rapidly improving ARDS has not been well characterized. We attempted to assess the prevalence, characteristics, and outcomes of rapidly improving ARDS and to identify which variables are useful to predict it. Methods: A secondary analysis was performed of patient level data from six ARDS Network randomized controlled trials. We defined rapidly improving ARDS, contrasted with ARDS > 1 day, as extubation or a PaO 2 to FIO 2 ratio (PaO 2 :FIO 2 ) > 300 on the first study day following enrollment. Results: The prevalence of rapidly improving ARDS was 10.5% (458 of 4,361 patients) and increased over time. Of the 1,909 patients enrolled in the three most recently published trials, 197 (10.3%) were extubated on the first study day, and 265 (13.9%) in total had rapidly improving ARDS. Patients with rapidly improving ARDS had lower baseline severity of illness and lower 60-day mortality (10.2% vs 26.3%; P <.0001) than ARDS > 1 day. PaO 2 :FIO 2 at screening, change in PaO 2 :FIO 2 from screening to enrollment, use of vasopressor agents, FIO 2 at enrollment, and serum bilirubin levels were useful predictive variables. Conclusions: Rapidly improving ARDS, mostly defined by early extubation, is an increasingly prevalent and distinct subphenotype, associated with better outcomes than ARDS > 1 day. Enrollment of patients with rapidly improving ARDS may negatively affect the prognostic enrichment and contribute to the failure of therapeutic trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-482
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • ICUs
  • acute lung injury
  • acute respiratory failure
  • epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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