Rationale: In patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), lung recruitment maneuvers (LRMs) may prevent ventilator-induced lung injury and improve survival. Objectives: To summarize the current evidence in support of the use of LRMs in adult patients with ARDS and to inform the recently published American Thoracic Society/European Society of Intensive Care Medicine/Society of Critical Care Medicine clinical practice guideline on mechanical ventilation in ARDS. Methods: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials comparing mechanical ventilation strategies with and without LRMs. Eligible trials were identified from among previously published systematic reviews and an updated literature search. Data on 28-day mortality, oxygenation, adverse events, and use of rescue therapy were collected, and results were pooled using random effects models weighted by inverse variance. Strength of evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation methodology. Results: We screened 430 citations and previous systematic reviews and found six trials eligible for inclusion (n = 1,423 patients in total). The type of LRM varied widely between trials, and five of the trials involved a cointervention with a higher positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) ventilation strategy. Risk of bias was deemed high in one trial. In the primary analysis, the only trial without a cointervention showed that LRMs were associated with reduced mortality (one trial; risk ratio [RR], 0.62; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.39–0.98; evidence grade = low). Meta-analysis of all six trials also suggested a significant mortality reduction (six trials; RR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.69–0.95; evidence grade = moderate), and the use of a higher PEEP cointervention did not significantly modify the mortality effect (P = 0.27 for heterogeneity). LRMs were also associated with improved oxygenation after 24 hours (six trials; mean increase, 52 mm Hg; 95% CI, 23–81 mm Hg) and less frequent requirement for rescue therapy (three trials; RR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.45–0.94). LRMs were not associated with an increased rate of barotrauma (four trials; RR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.46–1.55). The rate of hemodynamic compromise was not significantly increased with LRMs (three trials; RR, 1.30; 95% CI, 0.92–1.78). Conclusions: Randomized trials suggest that LRMs in combination with a higher PEEP ventilation strategy reduce mortality, but confidence in this finding is limited. Further trials are required to confirm benefit from LRMs in adults with ARDS.
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome
- Lung recruitment
- Positive end-expiratory pressure