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RAND appropriateness panel to determine the applicability of international guidelines on the management of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and other strategies in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Griffiths, M
  • Meade, S
  • Summers, C
  • Mcauley, D
  • Proudfoot, A
  • Baladia, M
  • Dark, P
  • Diomede, K
  • Finney, S
  • Forni, L
  • Meadows, C
  • Naldret, I
  • Patel, B
  • Perkins, G
  • Samaan, M
  • Sharifi, L
  • Suntharalingam, G
  • Tarmy, N
  • Young, H
  • Irving, P
Publication Date
Apr 09, 2021
UPCommons. Portal del coneixement obert de la UPC


Background: COVID-19 has become the commonest cause of ARDS world-wide. Features of the pathophysiology and clinical presentation partially distinguish it from “classical” ARDS. A RAND analysis gauged the opinion of an expert panel about the management of ARDS with and without COVID-19 as the precipitating cause, using recent UK guidelines as a template. Methods: An 11-person panel comprising intensive care practitioners rated the appropriateness of ARDS management options at different times during hospital admission, in the presence or absence of, or varying severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection on a scale of 1-9 (where, 1-3 is inappropriate, 4-6 is uncertain and 7-9 is appropriate). A summary of the anonymised results was discussed at an online meeting moderated by an expert in RAND methodology. The modified online survey comprising 76 questions, subdivided into: investigations 16, non-invasive respiratory support 18, basic ICU management of ARDS 20, management of refractory hypoxaemia 8, pharmacotherapy 7, and anticoagulation 7, was completed again. Results: Disagreement between experts was significant only when addressing the appropriateness of diagnostic bronchoscopy in patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Adherence to existing published guidelines for the management of ARDS for relevant evidence-based interventions was recommended. Responses of the experts to the final survey suggested that the supportive management of ARDS should be the same, regardless of a COVID-19 diagnosis. For ARDS patients with COVID-19, the panel recommended routine treatment with corticosteroids and a lower threshold for full anticoagulation based on a high index of suspicion for venous-thrombo-embolic disease. Conclusion: The expert panel found no reason to deviate from the evidence based supportive strategies for managing ARDS outlined in recent guidelines.

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