Background: Acute lung injury (ALI) is a potentially fatal lung disease with few treatment options. Platelet activation is a key component of ALI pathophysiology and may provide an opportunity for prevention strategies. We examined the association of prehospitalization antiplatelet therapy with development of ALI in critically ill patients.
Methods: All Olmsted County, Minnesota, residents with a medical ICU admission in the year 2006 were evaluated. Patients with at least one major risk factor for ALI who did not meet criteria for ALI at the time of hospital admission were included in the analysis. Baseline characteristics, major risk factors for ALI, the presence of antiplatelet therapy at the time of hospitalization, and the propensity to receive this therapy were determined. The primary outcome was ALI or ARDS during the hospitalization. Secondary outcomes were ICU and hospital-free days and ICU and hospital mortality.
Results: A total of 161 patients were evaluated. Seventy-nine (49%) were receiving antiplatelet therapy at hospital admission; 33 (21%) developed ALI/ARDS. Antiplatelet therapy was associated with a reduced incidence of ALI/ARDS (12.7% vs 28.0%; OR, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.16-0.84; P = .02). This association remained significant after adjusting for confounding variables.
Conclusions: Prehospitalization antiplatelet therapy was associated with a reduced incidence of ALI/ARDS. If confirmed in a more diverse patient population, these results would support the use of antiplatelet agents in an ALI prevention trial.