Perioperative Anaesthetic Management of Patients With or at Risk of Acute Distress Respiratory Syndrome Undergoing Emergency Surgery

Denise Battaglini; Chiara Robba; Patricia Rieken Macêdo Rocco; Marcelo Gama De Abreu; Paolo Pelosi; Lorenzo Ball


BMC Anesthesiol. 2019;19(153) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Patients undergoing emergency surgery may present with the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) or develop this syndrome postoperatively. The incidence of ARDS in the postoperative period is relatively low, but the impact of ARDS on patient outcomes and healthcare costs is relevant Aakre (Mayo Clin Proc 89:181–9, 2014).

The development of ARDS as a postoperative pulmonary complication (PPC) is associated with prolonged hospitalisation, longer duration of mechanical ventilation, increased intensive care unit length of stay and high morbidity and mortality Ball (Curr Opin Crit Care 22:379–85, 2016). In order to mitigate the risk of ARDS after surgery, the anaesthetic management and protective mechanical ventilation strategies play an important role. In particular, a careful integration of general anaesthesia with neuraxial or locoregional techniques might promote faster recovery and reduce opioid consumption. In addition, the use of low tidal volume, minimising plateau pressure and titrating a low-moderate PEEP level based on the patient's need can improve outcome and reduce intraoperative adverse events. Moreover, perioperative management of ARDS patients includes specific anaesthesia and ventilator settings, hemodynamic monitoring, moderately restrictive fluid administration and pain control.

The aim of this review is to provide an overview and evidence- and opinion-based recommendations concerning the management of patients at risk of and with ARDS who undergo emergency surgical procedures.