Epidemiology, Patterns of Care, and Mortality for Patients With Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in Intensive Care Units in 50 Countries | Critical Care Medicine | JAMA | JAMA Network
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Original Investigation
Caring for the Critically Ill Patient
February 23, 2016

Epidemiology, Patterns of Care, and Mortality for Patients With Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in Intensive Care Units in 50 Countries

Author Affiliations
  • 1School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milan-Bicocca, Monza, Italy
  • 2Department of Emergency and Intensive Care, San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, Italy
  • 3Departments of Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, St Michael’s Hospital
  • 4Departments of Anesthesia, Physiology and Interdepartmental division of Critical Care Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada
  • 5AP-HP, Hôpital Tenon, Unité de Réanimation médico-chirurgicale, Pôle Thorax Voies aériennes, Groupe hospitalier des Hôpitaux Universitaires de l’Est Parisien, Paris, France
  • 6UMR 1153, Inserm, Sorbonne Paris Cité, ECSTRA Team, Université Paris Diderot, Paris, France
  • 7UMR 915, Inserm, Université Paris Est Créteil, Créteil, France
  • 8Department of Medicine, University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital
  • 9Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine and Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  • 10Keenan Research Centre, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada
  • 11Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  • 12Hospital Universitario de Getafe, CIBER de Enfermedades Respiratorias, Madrid, Spain
  • 13Istituto di Anestesia e Rianimazione, Università degli Studi di Milano, Ospedale Maggiore, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Milan, Italy
  • 14Intensive Care Unit, Canberra Hospital, and Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
  • 15Section of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Department of Surgical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 16Centre for Experimental Medicine, Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • 17Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • 18Regional Intensive Care Unit, Royal Victoria Hospital, Grosvenor Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • 19SAPIENZA Università di ROMA, Dipartimento di Anestesia e Rianimazione, Policlinico Umberto I, Viale del Policlinico 155, 00161 Roma, Italy
  • 20Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  • 21Program in Trauma, Emergency and Critical Care, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, Toronto, Canada
  • 22Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Unit, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston
  • 23Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University of Leipzig, Liebigstr. 20, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
  • 24Keenan Research Center at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St Michael’s Hospital, the Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine, and the Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
JAMA. 2016;315(8):788-800. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.0291

Importance  Limited information exists about the epidemiology, recognition, management, and outcomes of patients with the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Objectives  To evaluate intensive care unit (ICU) incidence and outcome of ARDS and to assess clinician recognition, ventilation management, and use of adjuncts—for example prone positioning—in routine clinical practice for patients fulfilling the ARDS Berlin Definition.

Design, Setting, and Participants  The Large Observational Study to Understand the Global Impact of Severe Acute Respiratory Failure (LUNG SAFE) was an international, multicenter, prospective cohort study of patients undergoing invasive or noninvasive ventilation, conducted during 4 consecutive weeks in the winter of 2014 in a convenience sample of 459 ICUs from 50 countries across 5 continents.

Exposures  Acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary outcome was ICU incidence of ARDS. Secondary outcomes included assessment of clinician recognition of ARDS, the application of ventilatory management, the use of adjunctive interventions in routine clinical practice, and clinical outcomes from ARDS.

Results  Of 29 144 patients admitted to participating ICUs, 3022 (10.4%) fulfilled ARDS criteria. Of these, 2377 patients developed ARDS in the first 48 hours and whose respiratory failure was managed with invasive mechanical ventilation. The period prevalence of mild ARDS was 30.0% (95% CI, 28.2%-31.9%); of moderate ARDS, 46.6% (95% CI, 44.5%-48.6%); and of severe ARDS, 23.4% (95% CI, 21.7%-25.2%). ARDS represented 0.42 cases per ICU bed over 4 weeks and represented 10.4% (95% CI, 10.0%-10.7%) of ICU admissions and 23.4% of patients requiring mechanical ventilation. Clinical recognition of ARDS ranged from 51.3% (95% CI, 47.5%-55.0%) in mild to 78.5% (95% CI, 74.8%-81.8%) in severe ARDS. Less than two-thirds of patients with ARDS received a tidal volume 8 of mL/kg or less of predicted body weight. Plateau pressure was measured in 40.1% (95% CI, 38.2-42.1), whereas 82.6% (95% CI, 81.0%-84.1%) received a positive end-expository pressure (PEEP) of less than 12 cm H2O. Prone positioning was used in 16.3% (95% CI, 13.7%-19.2%) of patients with severe ARDS. Clinician recognition of ARDS was associated with higher PEEP, greater use of neuromuscular blockade, and prone positioning. Hospital mortality was 34.9% (95% CI, 31.4%-38.5%) for those with mild, 40.3% (95% CI, 37.4%-43.3%) for those with moderate, and 46.1% (95% CI, 41.9%-50.4%) for those with severe ARDS.

Conclusions and Relevance  Among ICUs in 50 countries, the period prevalence of ARDS was 10.4% of ICU admissions. This syndrome appeared to be underrecognized and undertreated and associated with a high mortality rate. These findings indicate the potential for improvement in the management of patients with ARDS.

Trial Registration  clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT02010073