Objective: To describe the recommendations of the Pediatric Acute Lung Injury Consensus Conference for mechanical ventilation management of pediatric patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Design: Consensus Conference of experts in pediatric acute lung injury.
Methods: The Pediatric Acute Lung Injury Consensus Conference experts developed and voted on a total of 27 recommendations focused on the optimal mechanical ventilation approach of the patient with pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome. Topics included ventilator mode, tidal volume delivery, inspiratory plateau pressure, high-frequency ventilation, cuffed endotracheal tubes, and gas exchange goals. When experimental data were lacking, a modified Delphi approach emphasizing the strong professional agreement was used.
Results: There were 17 recommendations with strong agreement and 10 recommendations with weak agreement. There were no recommendations with equipoise or disagreement. There was weak agreement on recommendations concerning approach to tidal volume and inspiratory pressure limitation (88% to 72% agreement, respectively), whereas strong agreement could be achieved for accepting permissive hypercapnia. Using positive end-expiratory pressure levels greater than 15 cm H2O in severe pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome, under the condition that the markers of oxygen delivery, respiratory system compliance, and hemodynamics are closely monitored as positive end-expiratory pressure is increased, is strongly recommended. The concept of exploring the effects of careful recruitment maneuvers during conventional ventilation met an agreement level of 88%, whereas the use of recruitment maneuvers during rescue high-frequency oscillatory ventilation is highly recommended (strong agreement).
Conclusions: The Consensus Conference developed pediatric-specific recommendations regarding mechanical ventilation of the patient with pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome as well as future research priorities. These recommendations are intended to initiate discussion regarding optimal mechanical ventilation management for children with pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome and identify areas of controversy requiring further investigation.