During ARDS, CT can reveal two distinct lung imaging patterns, focal or nonfocal, with different responses to positive end-expiratory pressure, recruitment maneuvers, and prone position. Nevertheless, their association with plasma biomarkers and their distinct functional/pathobiological mechanisms are unknown. The objective of this study was to characterize focal and nonfocal patterns of lung CT-based imaging with plasma markers of lung injury.
A prospective multicenter cohort study involving 119 consecutive patients with ARDS. Plasma biomarkers (soluble form of the receptor for advanced glycation end product [sRAGE], plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and surfactant protein-D) were measured within 24 h of ARDS onset. Lung CT scan was performed within the first 48 h to assess lung morphology.
Thirty-two (27%) and 87 (73%) patients had focal and nonfocal ARDS, respectively. Plasma levels of sRAGE were significantly higher in nonfocal ARDS, compared with focal ARDS. A cut-off of 1,188 pg/mL differentiated focal from nonfocal ARDS with a sensitivity of 94% and a specificity of 84%. Nonfocal patterns were associated with higher 28- and 90-day mortality than focal patterns (31% vs 12%, P = .038 and 46% vs 21%, P = .026, respectively). Plasma levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 were significantly higher in nonfocal ARDS. There was no difference in other biomarkers.
Plasma sRAGE is associated with a nonfocal ARDS. Such novel findings may suggest a role for RAGE pathway in an underlying endotype of impaired alveolar fluid clearance and stimulate future research on the association between ARDS phenotypes and therapeutic responses.