Objective: In 2006, Chinese critical care experts drafted management guidelines for diagnosis and therapy of acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), that would be of practical use for the clinician, and this effort may serve to increase nationwide awareness and to improve the treatment result of ALI/ARDS.
Methods: The process included a modified Delphi method, a consensus conference, several subsequent smaller meetings of subgroups and key individuals, teleconferences, and electronic based discussion among subgroups and among the entire committee. The modified Delphi methodology used for grading recommendations was derived from a 2001 publication sponsored by the International Sepsis Forum. A systematic review of the literature was undertook, and the reported results were graded into five levels to create recommendation grading from A to E, with a being the highest grade.
Results: It is essential to control the primary disease in ALI/ARDS. Role of noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation in ALI/ARDS is undefined. Noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation can not be considered in patients with coma, shock and damage of airway clearance. Limitation of end-inspiratory plateau pressure is important in the management of ARDS and may be facilitated by permissive hypercapnia. Recruitment maneuver should be considered to open collapsed lung and improve oxygenation. A minimum amount of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) should be set to prevent atelectasis at end expiration in ARDS. If it is possible, setting the level of PEEP may be guided by measurement of static pulmonary pressure-volume curve. Unless contraindicated, patients with ARDS should be maintained semi-recumbent. Prone positioning should be considered in the patients with severest ARDS. Sedation protocols should be used. Paralysis is not recommended. The limited fluid management strategy is beneficial for ARDS. Corticosteroid is not recommended for ARDS. The role of other drugs is uncertain in ARDS.
Conclusion: Evidence-based recommendations can be made regarding many aspects of the acute management of ALI/ARDS that will hopefully translate into improved outcomes for the critically ill patient. The guidelines will be updated when some important new knowledge becomes available.