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Changes in lung parenchyma after acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS): assessment with high-resolution computed tomography

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the appearance, extent, and distribution of parenchymal changes in the lung after acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) as a function of disease severity and therapeutic procedures. High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT), clinical examination, and lung function tests were performed in 15 patients, 6–10 months after ARDS. The appearance and extent of parenchymal changes were compared with the severity of ARDS, as well as with clinical and therapeutic data. Lung parenchymal changes resembling those found in the presence of pulmonary fibrosis were observed in 13 of 15 patients (87%). The changes were significantly more frequent and more pronounced in the ventral than in the dorsal portions of the lung (p<0.01). A significant correlation was observed between the extent of lung alterations and the severity of ARDS (p<0.01), and the duration in which patients had received mechanical ventilation either with a peak inspiratory pressure greater than 30 mmHg (p<0.05), or with more than 70% oxygen (p<0.01). Acute respiratory distress syndrome frequently is followed by fibrotic changes in lung parenchyma. The predominantly ventral distribution of these changes indicates that they may be caused by the ventilation regimen and the oxygen therapy rather than by the ARDS.

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Nöbauer-Huhmann, IM., Eibenberger, K., Schaefer-Prokop, C. et al. Changes in lung parenchyma after acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS): assessment with high-resolution computed tomography. Eur Radiol 11, 2436–2443 (2001).

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