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Is there a place for pressure-support ventilation and high positive end-expiratory pressure combined to alpha-2 agonists early in severe diffuse acute respiratory distress syndrome?



Is there a place for pressure-support ventilation and high positive end-expiratory pressure combined to alpha-2 agonists early in severe diffuse acute respiratory distress syndrome?



Medical Hypotheses 80(6): 732-737



Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is associated with a high mortality linked primarily to co-morbidities (sepsis, cardiac failure, multiple organ failure, etc.). When the lung is the single failing organ, quick resolution of ARDS should skip some complications arising from a prolonged stay in the critical care unit. In severe ARDS (PaO2/FIO2=P/F<100 with positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) ≥ 5 cm H2O), current recommendations are to intubate the trachea of the patient and use mechanical ventilation, low tidal volume, high PEEP, prone positioning and possibly neuromuscular blockade in association with intravenous sedation. Another strategy is possible. Firstly, spontaneous ventilation (SV) coupled with pressure support (PS) ventilation and high PEEP is possible from tracheal intubation onwards, with the possible exception of the short period following immediately tracheal intubation. Secondly, using alpha-2 adrenergic agonists (e.g. clonidine, dexmedetomidine) can provide first-line sedation from the beginning of mechanical ventilation, as they preserve respiratory drive, lower oxygen consumption and pulmonary hypertension and increase diuresis. Alpha-2 agonists are to be supplemented, if appropriate, by drugs devoid of effect on respiratory drive (neuroleptics, etc.). The expected benefits would be to prevent acquired diaphragmatic weakness, accumulation of sedation, cognitive dysfunction, and presumably improved outcome. This hypothesis should be tested in a double blind randomized controlled trial.

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Accession: 036835244

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PMID: 23561575

DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2013.02.023


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