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Current incidence and outcome of the acute respiratory distress syndrome

Villar, Jesús; Blanco, Jesús; Kacmarek, Robert M.

Current Opinion in Critical Care: February 2016 - Volume 22 - Issue 1 - p 1–6
doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000000266
RESPIRATORY SYSTEM: Edited by Marco Ranieri

Purpose of review This article discusses recently published articles reporting the incidence and outcome of patients with the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This is a difficult task since there is a marked variability regarding the methodology of the few, large epidemiological, and observational studies on ARDS.

Recent findings The review will mainly focus on publications from the past 18 months. We have reviewed new epidemiological studies reporting population-based incidence of ARDS. Also, we have reviewed the data on survival reported in observational and randomized controlled trials, discussed how the current ARDS definition modifies the true incidence of ARDS, and briefly mentioned recent approaches that appear to improve ARDS outcome.

Summary On the basis of current evidence, it seems that the incidence and overall hospital mortality of ARDS has not changed substantially in the last decade. Independent of the definition used for identification of ARDS patients, reported population-based incidence of ARDS is an order of magnitude lower in Europe than in the USA. Current hospital mortality of combined moderate and severe ARDS reported in observational studies is greater than 40%.

aCIBER de Enfermedades Respiratorias, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid

bMultidisciplinary Organ Dysfunction Evaluation Research Network (MODERN), Research Unit, Hospital Universitario Dr Negrin, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

cKeenan Research Center for Biomedical Science at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada

dIntensive Care Unit, Hospital Universitario Río Hortega, Valladolid, Spain

eDepartment of Respiratory Care, Massachusetts General Hospital

fDepartment of Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Jesús Villar, MD, PhD, FCCM, Multidisciplinary Organ Dysfunction Evaluation Research Network, Hospital Universitario Dr Negrín Barranco de la Ballena, s/n – 4th floor, south wing, 35019 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. Tel: +34 928 449413; fax: +34 928 449813; e-mail:

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