Background: Guidelines suggest a plateau pressure (PPLAT) of 30 cm H(2)O or less for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome, but ventilation may still be injurious despite adhering to this guideline. The shape of the curve plotting airway pressure versus time (STRESS INDEX) may identify injurious ventilation. The authors assessed accuracy of PPLAT and STRESS INDEX to identify morphological indexes of injurious ventilation.
Methods: Indexes of lung aeration (computerized tomography) associated with injurious ventilation were used as a "reference standard." Threshold values of PPLAT and STRESS INDEX were determined assessing the receiver-operating characteristics ("training set," N = 30). Accuracy of these values was assessed in a second group of patients ("validation set," N = 20). PPLAT and STRESS INDEX were partitioned between respiratory system (Pplat,Rs and STRESS INDEX,RS) and lung (PPLAT,L and STRESS INDEX,L; esophageal pressure; "physiological set," N = 50).
Results: Sensitivity and specificity of PPLAT of greater than 30 cm H(2)O were 0.06 (95% CI, 0.002-0.30) and 1.0 (95% CI, 0.87-1.00). PPLAT of greater than 25 cm H(2)O and a STRESS INDEX of greater than 1.05 best identified morphological markers of injurious ventilation. Sensitivity and specificity of these values were 0.75 (95% CI, 0.35-0.97) and 0.75 (95% CI, 0.43-0.95) for PPLAT greater than 25 cm H(2)O versus 0.88 (95% CI, 0.47-1.00) and 0.50 (95% CI, 0.21-0.79) for STRESS INDEX greater than 1.05. Pplat,Rs did not correlate with PPLAT,L (R(2) = 0.0099); STRESS INDEX,RS and STRESS INDEX,L were correlated (R(2) = 0.762).
Conclusions: The best threshold values for discriminating morphological indexes associated with injurious ventilation were Pplat,Rs greater than 25 cm H(2)O and STRESS INDEX,RS greater than 1.05. Although a substantial discrepancy between Pplat,Rs and PPLAT,L occurs, STRESS INDEX,RS reflects STRESS INDEX,L.