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Critical Care Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/01.CCM.0000057906.89552.8F
Scientific Reviews

Epidemiology and outcome of acute respiratory failure in intensive care unit patients

Vincent, J. L. MD, PhD, FCCM; Sakr, Y. MB, BCh, MSc; Ranieri, V. M. MD

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Objectives: To summarize the prevalence of various forms of acute respiratory failure in acutely ill patients and review the major factors involved in the outcome of these patients.

Data Sources and Selection: MEDLINE search for published studies reporting the prevalence or outcome for patients with acute respiratory failure and cited reference studies and abstracts from a recent international meeting in the intensive care medicine field.

Data Synthesis and Extraction: From the selected articles, information was obtained regarding the prevalence of acute respiratory failure, including acute respiratory distress syndrome and acute lung injury as defined by the North American-European Consensus Conference, the outcome, and the factors influencing mortality rates in this population of patients.

Conclusions: The prevalence of acute respiratory failure varies according to the definition used and the population studied. Nonsurvivors of acute respiratory distress syndrome die predominantly of respiratory failure in <20% of cases. The relatively high mortality rates of acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome are primarily related to the underlying disease, the severity of the acute illness, and the degree of organ dysfunction.

© 2003 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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