, 17:108
Date: 24 Jan 2013

Extravascular lung water and the pulmonary vascular permeability index may improve the definition of ARDS

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Abstract

The recent Berlin definition has made some improvements in the older definition of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), although the concepts and components of the definition remained largely unchanged. In an effort to improve both predictive and face validity, the Berlin panel has examined a number of additional measures that may reflect increased pulmonary vascular permeability, including extravascular lung water. The panel concluded that although extravascular lung water has improved face validity and higher values are associated with mortality, it is infeasible to mandate on the basis of availability and the fact that it does not distinguish between hydrostatic and inflammatory pulmonary edema. However, the results of a multi-institutional study that appeared in the previous issue of Critical Care show that this latter reservation may not necessarily be true. By using extravascular lung water and the pulmonary vascular permeability index, both of which are derived from transpulmonary thermodilution, the authors could successfully differentiate between patients with ARDS and other patients in respiratory failure due to either cardiogenic edema or pleural effusion with atelectasis. This commentary discusses the merits and limitations of this study in view of the potential improvement that transpulmonary thermodilution may bring to the definition of ARDS.