Background: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is characterized by the increased pulmonary permeability secondary to diffuse alveolar inflammation and injuries of several origins. Especially, the distinction between a direct (pulmonary injury) and an indirect (extrapulmonary injury) lung injury etiology is gaining more attention as a means of better comprehending the pathophysiology of ARDS. However, there are few reports regarding the quantitative methods distinguishing the degree of pulmonary permeability between ARDS patients due to pulmonary injury and extrapulmonary injury.Methods: A prospective, observational, multi-institutional study was performed in 23 intensive care units of academic tertiary referral hospitals throughout Japan. During a 2-year period, all consecutive ARDS-diagnosed adult patients requiring mechanical ventilation were collected in which three experts retrospectively determined the pathophysiological mechanisms leading to ARDS. Patients were classified into two groups: patients with ARDS triggered by extrapulmonary injury (ARDSexp) and those caused by pulmonary injury (ARDSp). The degree of pulmonary permeability using the transpulmonary thermodilution technique was obtained during the first three intensive care unit (ICU) days.Results: In total, 173 patients were assessed including 56 ARDSexp patients and 117 ARDSp patients. Although the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score was significantly higher in the ARDSexp group than in the ARDSp group, measurements of the pulmonary vascular permeability index (PVPI) were significantly elevated in the ARDSp group on all days: at day 0 (2.9 ± 1.3 of ARDSexp vs. 3.3 ± 1.3 of ARDSp, p = .008), at day 1 (2.8 ± 1.5 of ARDSexp vs. 3.2 ± 1.2 of ARDSp, p = .01), at day 2 (2.4 ± 1.0 of ARDSexp vs. 2.9 ± 1.3 of ARDSp, p = .01). There were no significant differences in mortality at 28 days, mechanical ventilation days, and hospital length of stay between the two groups.Conclusions: The results of this study suggest the existence of several differences in the increased degree of pulmonary permeability between patients with ARDSexp and ARDSp.
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