Objective: Although unlicensed, inhaled nitric oxide (NO) therapy is now widely used in the United Kingdom. Our aim was to produce guidelines for the clinical application of inhaled NO in adult intensive care practice, based upon the current level of published information.
Methods: The published data regarding the use of inhaled NO in the acute respiratory distress syndrome and right-sided cardiac failure was presented, analysed and discussed. Recommendations based on these data as well as on current experience in the United Kingdom were formulated.
Design: An expert group comprising intensive care specialists from within the United Kingdom, representatives from the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine and the Society of Critical Care Medicine and individuals from the Departments of Health and Industry related to the field was assembled.
Results: United Kingdom guidelines for the indications, contraindications, dose, delivery, monitoring and scavenging of inhaled NO therapy were produced.
Conclusions: The need for additional quality research to establish evidence of efficacy and safety was emphasized. The guidelines are designed to act within the context of current practice and knowledge and should be revised as further data emerge.