Severe lung failure called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is frequently encountered in intensive care units throughout the world. Various causes such as infection in the lung or elsewhere in the body, trauma, or blood transfusion can lead to this clinical condition. While overall supportive care has improved the outcomes, there is still no definitive drug-based treatment for this condition. Various trials of drug therapies have failed to demonstrate a benefit and this is likely to be due to our poor understanding of the underlying mechanisms that drive this disease. Current treatment is limited to supportive care with lung support (ventilation), antibiotics and other routine care as required.
The research efforts of the critical care community over the last decade has led to the identification of sub-types of ARDS that might help us provide personalised therapy and reduce death and disability. The laboratory tests required to identify patients of a specific sub-type are currently not available as a routine test or a rapid bedside test. Rapid bedside identification of patients with a specific sub-type of ARDS could influence the therapy provided to them including drug therapy and also enable the development of newer therapies.
In this trial we will test blood samples from patients with ARDS to confirm the presence of the subtypes of ARDS identified in previous studies and also test a novel, rapid bedside test. From this we can work out how accurate or useful these new tests might be.