Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low-Tech Ventilator Treatment Proves A Life-Saver In Research Breakthrough

Date:
March 19, 1999
Source:
University Of California, San Francisco
Summary:
A simple adjustment in the way patients receive breathing assistance from a mechanical ventilator has been shown to cut mortality 25 percent among victims of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), a devastating, often fatal lung condition that affects about 150,000 Americans annually.

A simple adjustment in the way patients receive breathing assistance from a mechanical ventilator has been shown to cut mortality 25 percent among victims of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), a devastating, often fatal lung condition that affects about 150,000 Americans annually.

A three-year, nationwide clinical trial of the new ventilator treatment has been so successful that it has been stopped ahead of schedule to alert critical care specialists of the life-saving results, said Michael Matthay, M.D., professor of medicine and anesthesia at UC San Francisco and a principal investigator in the ten-city study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

"This is the first major breakthrough in treatment of this devastating condition in 32 years," Matthay said. "It is very gratifying to see this progress. More patients die from ARDS each year than from breast cancer."

The successful treatment provided ARDS patients with smaller breaths of oxygen-rich air from a mechanical ventilator than had been conventionally used. Laboratory and pre-clinical animal studies had suggested that providing air in smaller volumes might protect the lung from injury.

"The reason these results are so exciting," Matthay said, "is that 40 to 60 percent of ARDS patients die, yet if we can save so many with this simple treatment, most of them can recover to lead perfectly normal lives."

Matthay, a senior scientist in UCSF's Cardiovascular Research Institute, has focused on mechanisms of lung injury and repair for more than 20 years. He directed the ventilator treatment for ARDS patients at UCSF Medical Center, part of UCSF Stanford Health Care. ARDS patients also participated in the study at UCSF-affiliated San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center (SFGHMC), under the direction of John Luce, M.D., a co-investigator of the study and UCSF professor of medicine and anesthesiology.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome often results from pneumonia or other life-threatening infections. ARDS patients are often, but not always, already hospitalized for other conditions, Matthay said. Severe trauma and blood loss, such as from a car accident, can also lead to ARDS, as can blood-borne infections, including some that affect AIDS patients.

ARDS patients become severely short of breath, needing intensive care, usually with a mechanical ventilator. Excess fluid in the lungs displaces oxygen and leads to respiratory failure, Matthay said.

"This finding will save thousands of lives each year," said Claude Lenfant, M.D., director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH, which funded the large-scale study. "It provides us with something that we can implement quickly, at no additional cost, that will improve the treatment of intensive care patients. This is important news."

In an era of tight budgets for medical research it is interesting to note that this simple treatment study required a large-scale, long-term clinical trial which, according to Matthay, "would never have been done if it had to rely on biotech industry support." There is no potential profit in the treatment, he pointed out: no new drug, no new apparatus or appliance to market. "It simply requires a change of setting on the ventilator," Matthay said. "But we couldn't have established its effectiveness without the NIH support for a multi-site study."

The oxygen-rich breaths of air provided to patients in the successful clinical trial were each half the volume of those used in conventional ventilation therapy for ARDS.

At UCSF, Brian Daniel served as the study's clinical coordinator; at SFGHMC, Richard Kallet was clinical coordinator. Both are respiratory therapists. Other study sites included hospitals associated with the Cleveland Clinic, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Michigan, University of Washington and Vanderbilt University. The study was coordinated at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

The researchers are eager to share the results with patients and their families, and have already posted the treatment protocol and other treatment-related information on the Internet at: http://hedwig.mgh.harvard.edu/ardsnet


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California, San Francisco. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California, San Francisco. "Low-Tech Ventilator Treatment Proves A Life-Saver In Research Breakthrough." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990319061512.htm>.
University Of California, San Francisco. (1999, March 19). Low-Tech Ventilator Treatment Proves A Life-Saver In Research Breakthrough. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990319061512.htm
University Of California, San Francisco. "Low-Tech Ventilator Treatment Proves A Life-Saver In Research Breakthrough." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990319061512.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins