Acute lung injury review

Intern Med. 2009;48(9):621-30. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.48.1741. Epub 2009 May 1.


The first report of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) was published in 1967, and even now acute lung injury (ALI) and ARDS are severe forms of diffuse lung disease that impose a substantial health burden all over the world. Recent estimates indicate approximately 190,000 cases per year of ALI in the United States each year, with an associated 74,500 deaths per year. Common causes of ALI/ARDS are sepsis, pneumonia, trauma, aspiration pneumonia, pancreatitis, and so on. Several pathologic stages of ALI/ARDS have been described: acute inflammation with neutrophil infiltration, fibroproliferative phase with hyaline membranes, with varying degrees of interstitial fibrosis, and resolution phase. There has been intense investigation into the pathophysiologic events relevant to each stage of ALI/ARDS, and much has been learned in the alveolar epithelial, endobronchial homeostasis, and alveolar cell immune responses, especially neutrophils and alveolar macrophages in an animal model. However, these effective results in the animal models are not equally adoptive to those in randomized, controlled trials. The clinical course of ALI/ARDS is variable with the likely pathophysiologic complexity of human ALI/ARDS. In 1994, the definition was recommended by the American-European Consensus Conference Committee, which facilitated easy nomination of patients with ALI/ARDS for a randomized, clinical trial. Here, we review the recent randomized, clinical trials of ALI/ARDS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Lung Injury / diagnosis*
  • Acute Lung Injury / epidemiology*
  • Acute Lung Injury / pathology
  • Acute Lung Injury / therapy
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods