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New tool helps doctors better predict, prevent deadly respiratory failure
Date:4/22/2014

A new prediction tool can help doctors better identify patients who are at highest risk for respiratory failure after surgery and therefore prevent the often deadly condition, suggest data from a large multi-center study published in the May issue of Anesthesiology.

Affecting nearly 200,000 Americans a year, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a sudden failure of the lungs caused by a number of issues ranging from smoke inhalation to pneumonia or blood infection. High-risk patients can develop ARDS after surgery. ARDS is difficult to treat once it develops and is fatal about 30 percent of the time.

Doctors may be able to take measures during surgery to prevent the condition, such as using blood products conservatively, restricting the volume of fluids administered and using different methods to ventilate the lungs. However, only about 3 percent of patients considered at risk actually develop ARDS and testing preventative measures is costly, time-consuming and may be less than ideal for patients not at high risk. Therefore, researchers in this study focused on identifying patients most likely to develop ARDS after surgery.

"It's certainly true in this case that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," said Daryl J. Kor, M.D., lead author of the study and associate professor of anesthesiology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. "But our ability to predict who is at risk has been limited. By identifying those who are at highest risk with better accuracy, we can begin to take steps toward preventing this dangerous and costly surgical complication."

The prediction tool could help doctors assign risk levels to patients by determining if they have one or more of nine predictors identified as most associated with the development of ARDS: blood infection (sepsis), liver disease, high-risk surgery on the heart or aorta (the body's largest blood vessel), emergency surgery, admission from a location other than hom
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Contact: Natalie Cammarata
n.cammarata@asahq.org
847-268-2252
American Society of Anesthesiologists
Source:Eurekalert  

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