Acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are common causes of hypoxemic respiratory failure. Multiple etiologies lead to direct and indirect pulmonary injury that progresses through an acute exudative phase, fibroproliferative phase, and recovery phase. Inflammatory mechanisms are thought to play a predominant role in the pathophysiology of ALI/ARDS. Mechanical ventilation with a lower tidal volume and an inspiratory plateau pressure of ≤30 cm H2O is one intervention that has demonstrated a reduction in mortality. A clinical trial to determine the role of restrictive versus liberal fluid management is underway. Inhaled nitric oxide has been used to improve oxygenation but has not resulted in any outcome benefit. Glucocorticoids may be beneficial in the fibroproliferative phase of lung injury by suppressing chronic inflammation. Rigorous clinical trials of new and established interventions are required to determine optimum therapy and reduce mortality in ALI/ARDS.
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome
- Lung injury
- Mechanical ventilation
- Nitric oxide, inhaled
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