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Failure of aerosolised 99mTc DTPA clearance to predict outcome in patients with adult respiratory distress syndrome.
  1. D Royston,
  2. S Braude,
  3. K B Nolop
  1. Department of Anaesthesia, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, London.


    The rate of clearance of technetium-99m labelled diethylene triamine pentacetic acid (99mTc DTPA) was measured in 32 patients with adult respiratory distress syndrome to determine if a more rapid clearance rate, possibly reflecting a more severe abnormality of pulmonary function, was associated with a reduced likelihood of recovery from pulmonary failure. Although the mean rate of clearance from lung to blood (T1/2LB) of 99mTc DTPA was more rapid in the patients (T1/2LB = 29 (SEM 3.2) min than in 42 normal subjects (T1/2LB = 59 (1.8)min), there was no difference between the clearance rate in the 18 patients who recovered from respiratory failure (T1/2LB = 31 (5) min) and the 14 who died (T1/2LB = 27 (4) min). Additionally, not all patients studied had abnormally rapid clearance rates. In 12 of the 32 patients the T1/2 fell within the range for normal individuals; this was found more commonly in patients who were predisposed to develop adult respiratory distress syndrome by pancreatitis or massive blood transfusion. These data suggest that a single measurement of 99mTc DTPA clearance in patients with established respiratory failure and adult respiratory distress syndrome is of no value in assessing the likelihood of recovery from this condition.

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