Background: Acute respiratory distress syndrome continues to drive significant morbidity and mortality after severe trauma. The incidence of trauma-induced, moderate-to-severe hypoxaemia, according to the Berlin definition, could be as high as 45%. Its pathophysiology includes the release of damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), which propagate tissue injuries by triggering neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). NETs include a DNA backbone coated with cytoplasmic proteins, which drive pulmonary cytotoxic effects. The structure of NETs and many DAMPs includes double-stranded DNA, which prevents their neutralization by plasma. Dornase alfa is a US Food and Drug Administration-approved recombinant DNase, which cleaves extracellular DNA and may therefore break up the backbone of NETs and DAMPs. Aerosolized dornase alfa was shown to reduce trauma-induced lung injury in experimental models and to improve arterial oxygenation in ventilated patients.
Methods: TRAUMADORNASE will be an institution-led, multicentre, double-blinded, placebo-controlled randomized trial in ventilated trauma patients. The primary trial objective is to demonstrate a reduction in the incidence of moderate-to-severe hypoxaemia in severe trauma patients during the first 7 days from 45% to 30% by providing aerosolized dornase alfa as compared to placebo. The secondary objectives are to demonstrate an improvement in lung function and a reduction in morbidity and mortality. Randomization of 250 patients per treatment arm will be carried out through a secure, web-based system. Statistical analyses will include a descriptive step and an inferential step using fully Bayesian techniques. The study was approved by both the Agence Nationale de la Sécurité du Médicament et des Produits de Santé (ANSM, on 5 October 2018) and a National Institutional Review Board (CPP, on 6 November 2018). Participant recruitment began in March 2019. Results will be published in international peer-reviewed medical journals.
Discussion: If early administration of inhaled dornase alfa actually reduces the incidence of moderate-to-severe hypoxaemia in patients with severe trauma, this new therapeutic strategy may be easily implemented in many clinical trauma care settings. This treatment may facilitate ventilator weaning, reduce the burden of trauma-induced lung inflammation and facilitate recovery and rehabilitation in severe trauma patients.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03368092. Registered on 11 December 2017.
Keywords: Acute respiratory distress syndrome; Adult; Deoxyribonuclease I; Hypoxaemia; Multiple trauma; Neutrophil extracellular traps; Randomized controlled trial.