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Numerous cases of swine-origin 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus (H1N1)-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) bridged by extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy have been reported; however, complication rates are high. We present our experience with H1N1-associated ARDS and successful bridging of lung function using superimposed high-frequency jet ventilation (SHFJV) in combination with continuous positive airway pressure/assisted spontaneous breathing (CPAP/ASB).
We admitted five patients with H1N1 infection and ARDS to our intensive care unit. Although all patients required pure oxygen and controlled ventilation, oxygenation was insufficient. We applied SHFJV/CPAP/ASB to improve oxygenation.
Initial PaO2/FiO2 ratio prior SHFJV was 58-79 mmHg. In all patients, successful oxygenation was achieved by SHFJV (PaO2/FiO2 ratio 105-306 mmHg within 24 h). Spontaneous breathing was set during first hours after admission. SHFJV could be stopped after 39, 40, 72, 100, or 240 h. Concomitant pulmonary herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection was observed in all patients. Two patients were successfully discharged. The other three patients relapsed and died within 7 weeks mainly due to combined HSV infection and in two cases reoccurring H1N1 infection.
SHFJV represents an alternative to bridge lung function successfully and improve oxygenation in the critically ill.