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new england journal of medicine
The
established in 1812

september 16, 2010

vol. 363

no. 12

Neuromuscular Blockers in Early Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
Laurent Papazian, M.D., Ph.D., Jean-Marie Forel, M.D., Arnaud Gacouin, M.D., Christine Penot-Ragon, Pharm.D., Gilles Perrin, M.D., Anderson Loundou, Ph.D., Samir Jaber, M.D., Ph.D., Jean-Michel Arnal, M.D., Didier Perez,M.D., Jean-Marie Seghboyan, M.D., Jean-Michel Constantin, M.D., Ph.D., Pierre Courant, M.D., Jean-Yves Lefrant, M.D., Ph.D., Claude Guérin, M.D., Ph.D., Gwenaël Prat, M.D., Sophie Morange, M.D., and Antoine Roch, M.D., Ph.D., for the ACURASYS Study Investigators*

A bs t r ac t
Background

In patients undergoing mechanical ventilation for the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS),neuromuscular blocking agents may improve oxygenation and decrease ventilator-induced lung injury but may also cause muscle weakness. We evaluated clinical outcomes after 2 days of therapy with neuromuscular blocking agents in patients with early, severe ARDS.
Methods

In this multicenter, double-blind trial, 340 patients presenting to the intensive care unit (ICU) with an onset of severe ARDS within theprevious 48 hours were randomly assigned to receive, for 48 hours, either cisatracurium besylate (178 patients) or placebo (162 patients). Severe ARDS was defined as a ratio of the partial pressure of arterial oxygen (PaO2) to the fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) of less than 150, with a positive end-expiratory pressure of 5 cm or more of water and a tidal volume of 6 to 8 ml per kilogram ofpredicted body weight. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients who died either before hospital discharge or within 90 days after study enrollment (i.e., the 90-day in-hospital mortality rate), adjusted for predefined covariates and baseline differences between groups with the use of a Cox model.
Results

The hazard ratio for death at 90 days in the cisatracurium group, as compared withthe placebo group, was 0.68 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.48 to 0.98; P = 0.04), after adjustment for both the baseline PaO2:FIO2 and plateau pressure and the Simplified Acute Physiology II score. The crude 90-day mortality was 31.6% (95% CI, 25.2 to 38.8) in the cisatracurium group and 40.7% (95% CI, 33.5 to 48.4) in the placebo group (P = 0.08). Mortality at 28 days was 23.7% (95% CI, 18.1to 30.5) with cisatracurium and 33.3% (95% CI, 26.5 to 40.9) with placebo (P = 0.05). The rate of ICU-acquired paresis did not differ significantly between the two groups.
Conclusions

From Assistance Publique–Hôpitaux de Marseille Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Émergentes (URMITE), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique–Unité Mixte de Recherche (CNRS-UMR)6236 (L.P., J.-M.F., A.R.) and Faculté de Médecine (A.L.), Université de la Méditerranée Aix–Marseille II; Hôpital Sainte-Marguerite (C.P.-R.); Assistance Publique–Hôpitaux de Marseille (G. Perrin); Hôpital Ambroise Paré (J.-M.S.); and Centre d’Investigations Cliniques, Assistance Publique–Hôpitaux de Marseille, INSERM 9502 (S.M.) — all in Marseille; Hôpital Pontchaillou, Rennes (A.G.); HôpitalSaint Eloi, Montpellier (S.J.); Hôpital Font-Pré, Toulon (J.-M.A.); Hôpital Jean Minjoz, Besançon (D.P.); Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu, Clermont-Ferrand (J.-M.C.); Centre Hospitalier, Avignon (P.C.); Hôpital Caremeau, Nîmes (J.-Y.L.); Hôpital de la Croix-Rousse, Lyon (C.G.); and Hôpital de Cavale Blanche, Brest (G. Prat) — all in France. Address reprint requests to Dr. Papazian at Service de RéanimationMédicale, Hôpital Nord, Chemin des Bourrely, 13009 Marseille, France, or at laurent.papazian@ap-hm.fr. *The ARDS et Curarisation Systematique (ACURASYS) study investigators are listed in the Appendix. N Engl J Med 2010;363:1107-16.
Copyright © 2010 Massachusetts Medical Society.

In patients with severe ARDS, early administration of a neuromuscular blocking agent improved the adjusted 90-day...
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