The pathophysiology of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) results in heterogeneous lung collapse, edema-flooded airways and unstable alveoli. These pathologic alterations in alveolar mechanics (i.e. dynamic change in alveolar size and shape with each breath) predispose the lung to secondary ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI). It is our viewpoint that the acutely injured lung can be recruited and stabilized with a mechanical breath until it heals, much like casting a broken bone until it mends. If the lung can be "casted" with a mechanical breath, VILI could be prevented and ARDS incidence significantly reduced.
Keywords: Acute lung injury; Injurious mechanical ventilation; TCAV protocol.