Clinical characteristics and outcomes of sepsis-related vs non-sepsis-related ARDS

Chau Chyun Sheu, Michelle N. Gong, Rihong Zhai, Feng Chen, Ednan K. Bajwa, Peter F. Clardy, Diana C. Gallagher, B. Taylor Thompson, David C. Christiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


Background: ARDS may occur after either septic or nonseptic injuries. Sepsis is the major cause of ARDS, but little is known about the differences between sepsis-related and non-sepsis-related ARDS. Methods: A total of 2,786 patients with ARDS-predisposing conditions were enrolled consecutively into a prospective cohort, of which 736 patients developed ARDS. We defined sepsis-related ARDS as ARDS developing in patients with sepsis and non-sepsis-related ARDS as ARDS developing after nonseptic injuries, such as trauma, aspiration, and multiple transfusions. Patients with both septic and nonseptic risks were excluded from analysis. Results: Compared with patients with non-sepsis-related ARDS(n = 62), patients with sepsisrelated ARDS (n = 524) were more likely to be women and to have diabetes, less likely to have preceding surgery, and had longer pre-ICU hospital stays and higher APACHE III (Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation III) scores(median, 78 vs 65, P<.0001). There were no differences in lung injury score, blood pH, PaO 2/FIO2 ratio, and PaCO2 on ARDS diagnosis. However, patients with sepsis-related ARDS had significantly lower PaO 2/FIO2 ratios than patients with non-sepsis-related ARDS patients on ARDS day 3 (P =.018), day 7(P =.004), and day 14(P =.004) (repeated-measures analysis, P =.011). Compared with patients with non-sepsis-related ARDS, those with sepsis-related had a higher 60-day mortality (38.2% vs 22.6%; P =.016), a lower successful extubation rate (53.6% vs 72.6%; P =.005), and fewer ICU-free days (P =.0001) and ventilator-free days (P =.003). In multivariate analysis, age, APACHE III score, liver cirrhosis, metastatic cancer, admission serum bilirubin and glucose levels, and treatment with activated protein C were independently associated with 60-day ARDS mortality. After adjustment, sepsis-related ARDS was no longer associated with higher 60-day mortality (hazard ratio, 1.26; 95% CI, 0.71-2.22). Conclusion: Sepsis-related ARDS has a higher overall disease severity, poorer recovery from lung injury, lower successful extubation rate, and higher mortality than non-sepsis-related ARDS. Worse clinical outcomes in sepsis-related ARDS appear to be driven by disease severity and comorbidities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-567
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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