Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome: new diagnostic criteria for infants
Even infants can be affected by Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), a severe respiratory disease that can be fatal in over 30% of cases. It emerges from a study published in the prestigious journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, which involved researchers from the Catholic University-Polyclinic A. Gemelli Foundation in Rome and which also led to the development of a practical diagnostic ‘vade mecum’ for pediatricians and neonatologists.
This important result was achieved thanks to the international Neonatal ARDS Project coordinated by Peter Rimensberger, University of Geneva, and Daniele De Luca, Paris-Sud University, with the contribution of Giorgio Conti, Director of the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and of the Institute of Anesthesia and Reanimation of Polyclinic A. Gemelli Foundation. “This study is the result of a scientific and technical-logistical effort that lasted over two years”, explained Giorgio Conti, “which included repeated meetings and which, at the same time, extended the project to a second phase aimed at describing clinical course, epidemiology and follow-up of infants with ARDS”.
The study also led to a simple diagnostic definition of the disease, which can also be applied by clinicians that are not experts in the field. To be defined as affected by ARDS, for example, the infant should be affected by acute respiratory failure within 7 days of the onset of a triggering factor, such as diffuse pneumonia. Conversely, the infant should not be affected by pulmonary edema of cardiac origin, lung disease of prematurity or congenital anomalies that justify respiratory failure.