Special article: rescue therapies for acute hypoxemic respiratory failure

Anesth Analg. 2010 Sep;111(3):693-702. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3181e9c356. Epub 2010 Jul 12.


The recent H1N1 epidemic has resulted in a large number of deaths, primarily from acute hypoxemic respiratory failure. We reviewed the current strategies to rescue patients with severe hypoxemia. Included in these strategies are high-frequency oscillatory ventilation, airway pressure release ventilation, inhaled vasodilators, and the use of extracorporeal life support. All of these strategies are targeted at improving oxygenation, but improved oxygenation alone has yet to be demonstrated to correlate with improved survival. The risks and benefits of these strategies, including cost-effectiveness data, are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Chest Wall Oscillation
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
  • Critical Care
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Epoprostenol / therapeutic use
  • Extracorporeal Circulation
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / complications
  • Hypoxia / therapy*
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Nitric Oxide / administration & dosage
  • Nitric Oxide / therapeutic use
  • Prone Position
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Vasodilator Agents / administration & dosage
  • Vasodilator Agents / therapeutic use


  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Epoprostenol