Purpose of review: To analyze recently published articles in the medical literature that studied distinct aspects of adult patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) after the new Berlin definition introduced in 2012.
Recent findings: The degree of ARDS severity according to this new classification correlated well with extravascular lung water index, pulmonary vascular permeability index and the finding of diffuse alveolar damage on autopsy. The new possibility of bedside echocardiographic evaluation of biventricular cardiac function is indicating the necessity of including a subgroup of severity of patients with right ventricular dysfunction. High-resolution CT evaluation showed that signs of pulmonary fibroproliferation in early ARDS predict increased ventilator dependency, multiple organ failure and mortality. The median development of ARDS 1 or 2 days after hospital admission emphasizes the need for ARDS intrahospital prevention, especially protective ventilation in non-ARDS patients. The better outcome with the use of prone position in patients with PaO2/FIO2 below 150 recently observed questioned the Berlin definition thresholds to decide the future best treatment strategies according to the proposed degree of severity of the syndrome.
Summary: The impact of the Berlin definition of ARDS on the incidence, better treatment stratification and mortality ratio of ARDS is still to be determined.