In ARDS, the extent of fibroproliferative activity on chest high-resolution CT (HRCT) scan has been reported to correlate with poorer short-term outcomes and pulmonary-associated quality of life. However, clinical factors associated with HRCT scan fibroproliferation are incompletely characterized. We questioned if lung compliance assessed at the bedside would be associated with fibroproliferation on HRCT scans obtained during the resolution phase of ARDS.
We used data from a published randomized, controlled clinical trial in ARDS. All patients were cared for using a low tidal volume strategy. Demographic data and ventilator parameters were examined in association with radiologic scores from chest HRCT scans obtained 14 days after diagnosis.
Data from 82 patients with ARDS were analyzed. Average static respiratory compliance over the first 14 days after diagnosis was inversely associated with chest HRCT scan reticulation (ρ = −0.46); this relationship persisted in multivariable analysis including APACHE (Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation) II scores, initial Pao2/Fio2, pneumonia diagnosis, and ventilator days. Average static respiratory compliance was also lower among patients with bronchiectasis at day 14 (P = .007). Initial static respiratory compliance obtained within the first day after ARDS diagnosis was correlated inversely with the presence of HRCT scan reticulation (ρ = −0.38) and was lower among patients who demonstrated bronchiectasis on the day 14 HRCT scan (P = .008).
In patients with ARDS, diminished lung compliance measured bedside was associated with radiologic fibroproliferation 14 days post diagnosis. Establishing factors that predispose to development of excessive fibroproliferation with subsequent confirmation by chest HRCT scan represents a promising strategy to identify patients with ARDS at risk for poorer clinical outcomes.