Ventilatory Variables and Mechanical Power in Patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Rationale: Mortality in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) has decreased after the adoption of lung-protective strategies. Lower Vt, lower driving pressure (ΔP), lower respiratory rates (RR), and higher end-expiratory pressure have all been suggested as key components of lung protection strategies. A unifying theoretical explanation has been proposed that attributes lung injury to the energy transfer rate (mechanical power) from the ventilator to the patient, calculated from a combination of several ventilator variables.Objectives: To assess the impact of mechanical power on mortality in patients with ARDS as compared with that of primary ventilator variables such as the ΔP, Vt, and RR.Methods: We obtained data on ventilatory variables and mechanical power from a pooled database of patients with ARDS who had participated in six randomized clinical trials of protective mechanical ventilation and one large observational cohort of patients with ARDS. The primary outcome was mortality at 28 days or 60 days.Measurements and Main Results: We included 4,549 patients (38% women; mean age, 55 ± 23 yr). The average mechanical power was 0.32 ± 0.14 J · min-1 · kg-1 of predicted body weight, the ΔP was 15.0 ± 5.8 cm H2O, and the RR was 25.7 ± 7.4 breaths/min. The driving pressure, RR, and mechanical power were significant predictors of mortality in adjusted analyses. The impact of the ΔP on mortality was four times as large as that of the RR.Conclusions: Mechanical power was associated with mortality during controlled mechanical ventilation in ARDS, but a simpler model using only the ΔP and RR was equivalent.


  • Costa, Eduardo LV
  • Slutsky, Arthur S
  • Brochard, Laurent J
  • Brower, Roy
  • Serpa-Neto, Ary
  • Cavalcanti, Alexandre B
  • Mercat, Alain
  • Meade, Maureen
  • Morais, Caio CA
  • Goligher, Ewan
  • Carvalho, Carlos RR
  • Amato, Marcelo BP

publication date

  • August 1, 2021