Acute Lung Injury: Prevention May Be the Best Medicine

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Acute lung injury affects a subset of hospitalized patients but is not universal. This syndrome can substantially delay ventilator liberation, prolong intensive care unit (ICU) stay, and increase mortality. As with many critical illness syndromes, the available treatment options are limited in number and impact. Once a patient develops lung injury, the best known strategy is supportive care. Observational studies have identified potential risk factors and have suggested that the use and timing of certain critical care interventions may influence the likelihood of developing lung injury. These findings suggest that a well designed screening tool and the systematic application of best practices in critical care may limit the risk of lung injury. An effective prediction score may also facilitate enrollment in pharmacopreventive trials. Development of such tools is accelerated by multicenter collaboration.

Keywords: acute lung injury; critical illness; intensive care; mechanical ventilation; prevention

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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