Introduction: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a common clinical syndrome with high mortality and long-term morbidity. To date there is no effective pharmacological therapy. Aspirin therapy has recently been shown to reduce the risk of developing ARDS, but the effect of aspirin on established ARDS is unknown.
Methods: In a single large regional medical and surgical ICU between December 2010 and July 2012, all patients with ARDS were prospectively identified and demographic, clinical, and laboratory variables were recorded retrospectively. Aspirin usage, both pre-hospital and during intensive care unit (ICU) stay, was included. The primary outcome was ICU mortality. We used univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses to assess the impact of these variables on ICU mortality.
Results: In total, 202 patients with ARDS were included; 56 (28%) of these received aspirin either pre-hospital, in the ICU, or both. Using multivariate logistic regression analysis, aspirin therapy, given either before or during hospital stay, was associated with a reduction in ICU mortality (odds ratio (OR) 0.38 (0.15 to 0.96) P = 0.04). Additional factors that predicted ICU mortality for patients with ARDS were vasopressor use (OR 2.09 (1.05 to 4.18) P = 0.04) and APACHE II score (OR 1.07 (1.02 to 1.13) P = 0.01). There was no effect upon ICU length of stay or hospital mortality.
Conclusion: Aspirin therapy was associated with a reduced risk of ICU mortality. These data are the first to demonstrate a potential protective role for aspirin in patients with ARDS. Clinical trials to evaluate the role of aspirin as a pharmacological intervention for ARDS are needed.