Study examines longterm benefit of rescue therapy

A recent study conducted by the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Wash., examined whether a long-term survival benefit develops for those receiving rescue therapies for severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

The results, published in Critical Care Medicine, found that the probability of survival three years after receiving ARDS rescue therapy was 56 percent, according to a University of Pittsburgh Center for Health Security press release.

Almost all of the deaths occurred during hospitalization, and the survival rate was 85 percent for those who made it to discharge.

The three-year mortality rate for those who received rescue therapies was similar to those who are not treated with them.

The study retrospectively analyzed adults with severe ARDS treated in an intensive care unit between 2008-2011. Rescue therapies were used with 62 of the 428 patients, while the rest were given conventional ventilation.

The study also noted statistical differences among those treated with rescue therapies, including that they were younger and were more likely to have sepsis and/or pneumonia.

The final pathway for death for many respiratory infections, including MERS, avian flu and SARS, often includes severe ARDS with refractory hypoxemia that are not amenable to conventional ventilation. Rescue therapies are sometimes used on these patients as a method of last resort.