Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a common cause of death in the intensive care unit, with mortality rates of ~30-40%. To reduce invasive diagnostics such as bronchoalveolar lavage and time-consuming in-hospital transports for imaging diagnostics, we hypothesized that particle flow rate (PFR) pattern from the airways could be an early detection method and contribute to improving diagnostics and optimizing personalized therapies. Porcine models were ventilated mechanically. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was administered endotracheally and in the pulmonary artery to induce ARDS. PFR was measured using a customized particles in exhaled air (PExA 2.0) device. In contrast to control animals undergoing mechanical ventilation and receiving saline administration, animals who received LPS developed ARDS according to clinical guidelines and histologic assessment. Plasma levels of TNF-α and IL-6 increased significantly compared with baseline after 120 and 180 min, respectively. On the other hand, the PFR significantly increased and peaked 60 min after LPS administration, i.e., ~30 min before any ARDS stage was observed with other well-established outcome measurements such as hypoxemia, increased inspiratory pressure, and lower tidal volumes or plasma cytokine levels. The present results imply that PFR could be used to detect early biomarkers or as a clinical indicator for the onset of ARDS.
Keywords: ARDS; LPS-induced lung injury; mechanical ventilation; particles in exhaled air.