Right heart function during acute respiratory distress syndrome
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is burdened with significant mortality, mainly in connection with circulatory failure. The right ventricle (RV) is the weak link of hemodynamic stability among ARDS patients and its failure, also named “severe” acute cor pulmonale (ACP), is responsible for excess mortality. Driving pressure ≥18 cmH2O, PaCO2 ≥48 mmHg and PaO2/FiO2 <150 mmHg are three preventable factors recently identified as independently associated with ACP, on which ventilator strategy designed to protect the RV has to focus. This is largely achieved by the use of early and extended sessions of prone positioning (PP) and by daily monitoring of the RV by echocardiography.