Lung-Protective Ventilation With Low Tidal Volumes and the Occurrence of Pulmonary Complications in Patients Without Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Individual Patient Data Analysis

Crit Care Med. 2015 Oct;43(10):2155-63. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000001189.


Objective: Protective mechanical ventilation with low tidal volumes is standard of care for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. The aim of this individual patient data analysis was to determine the association between tidal volume and the occurrence of pulmonary complications in ICU patients without acute respiratory distress syndrome and the association between occurrence of pulmonary complications and outcome in these patients.

Design: Individual patient data analysis.

Patients: ICU patients not fulfilling the consensus criteria for acute respiratory distress syndrome at the onset of ventilation.

Interventions: Mechanical ventilation with low tidal volume.

Measurements and main results: The primary endpoint was development of a composite of acute respiratory distress syndrome and pneumonia during hospital stay. Based on the tertiles of tidal volume size in the first 2 days of ventilation, patients were assigned to a "low tidal volume group" (tidal volumes ≤ 7 mL/kg predicted body weight), an "intermediate tidal volume group" (> 7 and < 10 mL/kg predicted body weight), and a "high tidal volume group" (≥ 10 mL/kg predicted body weight). Seven investigations (2,184 patients) were included. Acute respiratory distress syndrome or pneumonia occurred in 23% of patients in the low tidal volume group, in 28% of patients in the intermediate tidal volume group, and in 31% of the patients in the high tidal volume group (adjusted odds ratio [low vs high tidal volume group], 0.72; 95% CI, 0.52-0.98; p = 0.042). Occurrence of pulmonary complications was associated with a lower number of ICU-free and hospital-free days and alive at day 28 (10.0 ± 10.9 vs 13.8 ± 11.6 d; p < 0.01 and 6.1 ± 8.1 vs 8.9 ± 9.4 d; p < 0.01) and an increased hospital mortality (49.5% vs 35.6%; p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Ventilation with low tidal volumes is associated with a lower risk of development of pulmonary complications in patients without acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiration, Artificial / adverse effects*
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome
  • Tidal Volume