Pharmacologic adjuncts during mechanical ventilation.
Despite recent advances in technology, the mortality rate for patients suffering from adult respiratory distress syndrome remains in the range of 40-50%. This high mortality rate may be in part related to complications from ventilator management, such as ventilator-induced lung injury. In these patients, adjunct therapies aiming at ameliorating ventilator-induced lung injury are being developed. This article discusses the rationale for use of pharmacologic adjunct therapies, including inhaled nitric oxide, surfactant replacement therapy, antioxidants, prostaglandins, and corticosteroids, in patients with acute lung injury, and reviews the effectiveness of these agents in human clinical trials to date.
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