Evolution of practice patterns in the management of acute respiratory distress syndrome: A secondary analysis of two successive randomized controlled trials
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PURPOSE: We sought to examine changes in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) management over a 12-year period of two successive randomized trials. METHODS: Analyses included baseline data, from eligible patients, prior to influence of trial protocols, and daily study data, from randomized patients, of variables not determined by trial protocols. Mixed linear regressions examined changes in practice year-on-year. RESULTS: A total of 2376 patients met the inclusion criteria. Over the 12-year period, baseline tidal volume index decreased (9.0 to 7.0 ml/kg, p < 0.001), plateau pressures decreased (30.8 to 29.0 cmH2O, p < 0.05), and baseline positive end-expiratory pressures increased (10.8 to 13.2 cmH2O, p < 0.001). Volume-controlled ventilation declined from 29.4 to 14.0% (p < 0.01). Use of corticosteroids increased (baseline: 7.7 to 30.3%; on study: 32.6 to 61.2%; both p < 0.001), as did neuromuscular blockade (baseline: 12.3 to 24.5%; on study: 55.5 to 70.0%; both p < 0.01). Inhaled nitric oxide use increased (24.9 to 65.8%, p < 0.05). We observed no significant change in prone positioning (16.2 to 18.9%, p = 0.70). CONCLUSIONS: Clear trends were apparent in tidal volume, airway pressures, ventilator modes, adjuncts and rescue therapies. With the exception of prone positioning, and outside the context of rescue therapy, these trends appear consistent with the evolving literature on ARDS management.