According to an American College of Chest Physicians news release, the largest study to date of mortality trends in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) reveals that the rate of mortality for patients with this condition has dropped considerably over a 16-year period.

Advances in critical care medicine are seen as a direct cause of the decline in mortality rates. The study abstract will be presented at CHEST 2014, the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians in Austin, Texas.

Researchers at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Staten Island University Hospital, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and Government Medical College obtained data from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database, which encompasses data from an estimated 8 million hospital stays per year, according to the American College of Chest Physicians news release.

From the database, the researchers were able to identify over 174,000 patients who had ARDS. The study revealed that there was a striking decrease in mortality rates from 46.8% in 1996 to 32.2% in 2011. The results of the analysis also showed that from 2000 to 2005, there was an 8.9% absolute reduction in mortality rates.

Jared Radbel, MD, says, “While we cannot prove causation for the decreased mortality, we believe that collaborative advances in critical care medicine contributed to the overall decline. We assert that the sudden and sharp decrease in mortality from 2000-2005 can be attributed to the practice of low tidal volume ventilation.”

Source: American College of Chest Physicians