Quantification of potential for lung recruitment may guide the ventilatory strategy in acute respiratory distress syndrome. However, there are no quantitative data on recruitability in patients with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome who require extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. We sought to quantify potential for lung recruitment and its relationship with outcomes in this cohort of patients.
A single-center, retrospective, observational cohort study.
Tertiary referral severe respiratory failure center in a university hospital in the United Kingdom.
Forty-seven adults with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
Measurements and Main Results:
In patients with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome—mainly of pulmonary origin (86%)—the potential for lung recruitment and the weight of nonaerated, poorly aerated, normally aerated, and hyperaerated lung tissue were assessed at low (5 cmH2O) and high (45 cmH2O) airway pressures. Patients were categorized as high or low potential for lung recruitment based on the median potential for lung recruitment value of the study population. The median potential for lung recruitment was 24.3% (interquartile range = 11.4–37%) ranging from –2% to 76.3% of the total lung weight. Patients with potential for lung recruitment above the median had significantly shorter extracorporeal membrane oxygenation duration (8 vs 13 d; p = 0.013) and shorter ICU stay (15 vs 22 d; p = 0.028), but mortality was not statistically different (24% vs 46%; p = 0.159).
We observed significant variability in potential for lung recruitment in patients with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Patients with high potential for lung recruitment had a shorter ICU stay and shorter extracorporeal membrane oxygenation duration.