Positive airway pressure longer than 24 h is associated with histopathological volutrauma in severe COVID-19 pneumonia—an ESGFOR based narrative case-control review
Background and Objective: A thorough understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms elicited by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) still requires further research. Until recently, only a restricted number of autopsies have been performed, therefore limiting the accurate knowledge of the lung injury associated with SARS-CoV-2. A multidisciplinary European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) Study Group of Forensic and Post-mortem Microbiology-ESGFOR team conducted a non-systematic narrative literature review among coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19) pneumonia cases assessing the histopathological (HP) effects of positive airways pressure. HP lung features were recorded and compared between mechanically ventilated (>24 hours) and control (ventilation <24 hours) patients. A logistic regression analysis was performed to identify associations between mechanical ventilation (MV) and HP findings. Methods: A PubMed and MEDLINE search was conducted in order to identify studies published between March 1st 2020 and June 30th 2021. Key Content and Findings: Seventy patients (median age: 69 years) from 24 studies were analysed, among whom 38 (54.2%) underwent MV longer than 24 hours. Overall, main HP features were: diffuse alveolar damage (DAD) in 53 (75.7%), fibrosis (interstitial/intra-alveolar) in 43 (61.4%), vascular damage—including thrombosis/emboli- in 41 (58.5%), and endotheliitis in only 8 (11.4%) patients. Association of DAD, fibrosis and vascular damage was detected in 30 (42.8%) patients. Multivariate analysis, adjusted by age and gender, identified MV >24 hours as an independent variable associated with DAD (OR =5.40, 95% CI: 1.48–19.62), fibrosis (OR =3.88, 95% CI: 1.25–12.08), vascular damage (OR =5.49, 95% CI: 1.78–16.95) and association of DAD plus fibrosis plus vascular damage (OR =6.99, 95% CI: 2.04–23.97). Conclusions: We identified that patients mechanically ventilated >24 hours had a significantly higher rate of pulmonary injury on histopathology independently of age and gender. Our findings emphasize the importance of maintaining a protective ventilator strategy when subjects with COVID-19 pneumonia undergo intubation.
SARS-CoV-2; Post-mortem microbiology; Volutrauma
Saegeman V, Cohen MC, Abasolo L, Rello J, Fernandez-Gutierrez B, Fernandez-Rodriguez A. Positive airway pressure longer than 24 h is associated with histopathological volutrauma in severe COVID-19 pneumonia—an ESGFOR based narrative case-control review. Ann Transl Med. 2022 Jun;10(11):644.
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