Patient self-inflicted lung injury (P-SILI) is a life-threatening condition arising from excessive respiratory effort and work of breathing in patients with lung injury. The pathophysiology of P-SILI involves factors related to the underlying lung pathology and vigorous respiratory effort. P-SILI might develop both during spontaneous breathing and mechanical ventilation with preserved spontaneous respiratory activity. In spontaneously breathing patients, clinical signs of increased work of breathing and scales developed for early detection of potentially harmful effort might help clinicians prevent unnecessary intubation, while, on the contrary, identifying patients who would benefit from early intubation. In mechanically ventilated patients, several simple non-invasive methods for assessing the inspiratory effort exerted by the respiratory muscles were correlated with respiratory muscle pressure. In patients with signs of injurious respiratory effort, therapy aimed to minimize this problem has been demonstrated to prevent aggravation of lung injury and, therefore, improve the outcome of such patients. In this narrative review, we accumulated the current information on pathophysiology and early detection of vigorous respiratory effort. In addition, we proposed a simple algorithm for prevention and treatment of P-SILI that is easily applicable in clinical practice.
Keywords: extracorporeal membranous oxygenation; patient self-inflicted lung injury; respiratory effort; transpulmonary driving pressure; work of breathing.