Thorax 63:994-998 doi:10.1136/thx.2007.093658
  • Acute lung injury

Predictors of mortality in acute lung injury during the era of lung protective ventilation

  1. E Seeley1,
  2. D F McAuley2,
  3. M Eisner1,
  4. M Miletin1,3,
  5. M A Matthay1,
  6. R H Kallet4
  1. 1
    Departments of Medicine and Anesthesia, Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
  2. 2
    Respiratory Medicine Research Group, Queen’s University of Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
  3. 3
    Department of Medicine, William Osler Health Centre, Toronto, Canada
  4. 4
    Department of Anesthesia, University of California, San Francisco at San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Dr E J Seeley, University of California, San Francisco, 505 Parnassus Ave, Box 0130, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA; eric.seeley{at}
  • Received 22 November 2007
  • Accepted 2 June 2008
  • Published Online First 19 June 2008


Background: Lung protective ventilation has been widely adopted for the management of acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Consequently, ventilator associated lung injury and mortality have decreased. It is not known if this ventilation strategy changes the prognostic value of previously identified demographic and pulmonary predictors of mortality, such as respiratory compliance and the arterial oxygen tension to inspired oxygen fraction ratio (Pao2/Fio2).

Methods: Demographic, clinical, laboratory and pulmonary variables were recorded in 149 patients with ALI/ARDS. Significant predictors of mortality were identified in bivariate analysis and these were entered into multivariate analysis to identify independent predictors of mortality.

Results: Hospital mortality was 41%. In the bivariate analysis, 17 variables were significantly correlated with mortality, including age, APACHE II score and the presence of cirrhosis. Pulmonary parameters associated with death included Pao2/Fio2 and oxygenation index ((mean airway pressure×Fio2×100)÷Pao2). In unadjusted analysis, the odds ratio (OR) of death for Pao2/Fio2 was 1.57 (CI 1.12 to 3.04) per standard deviation decrease. However, in adjusted analysis, Pao2/Fio2 was not a statistically significant predictor of death, with an OR of 1.29 (CI 0.82 to 2.02). In contrast, oxygenation index (OI) was a statistically significant predictor of death in both unadjusted analysis (OR 1.89 (CI 1.28 to 2.78)) and in adjusted analysis (OR 1.84 (CI 1.13 to 2.99)).

Conclusions: In this cohort of patients with ALI/ARDS, OI was an independent predictor of mortality, whereas Pao2/Fio2 was not. OI may be a superior predictor because it integrates both airway pressure and oxygenation into a single variable.


  • Funding: Funded by NHLBI RO1 HL51856.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Retrospective data collection was approved by the institutional review board of the University of California, San Francisco.