Clinical trials and future directions in pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome
The pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome (PARDS), a description specific for children with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), was proposed in the recent Pediatric Acute Lung Injury Consensus Conference (PALICC, 2015). This recent standardization of PARDS diagnosis is expected to aid in uniform earlier recognition of the entity, enable use of consistent management strategies and potentially increase the ease of enrollment in future PARDS clinical trials—all of which are expected to optimize outcomes in PARDS. Clinical trials in PARDS are few but ongoing studies are expected to lay the foundation for future clinical studies. The Randomized Evaluation of Sedation Titration for Respiratory Failure trial (RESTORE) trial has revealed that a goal directed sedation protocol does not reduce the duration of invasive ventilation in critically ill children. PROSpect trial is a large multi-institute clinical trial that is expected to reveal optimal ventilation strategies and patient positioning (supine vs. prone) in patients with severe PARDS. The PARDS neuromuscular blockade (NMB) study is expected to yield important information about the impact of active NMB on PARDS outcomes. Information from these studies could be used to design future clinical trials in PARDS and to lessen the anecdotal or extrapolated experiences from adult clinical studies that often guide clinical practices in PARDS management. Finally, it is expected that these definitions and management strategies will be revised periodically as our understanding of PARDS evolves. Emerging data on PARDS subtypes suggest that patient heterogeneity is an important factor in designing these clinical trials.