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Saturday 01 June 2002

Aerosolized beta(2)-adrenergic agonists achieve therapeutic levels in the pulmonary edema fluid of ventilated patients with acute respiratory failure.

By: Atabai K, Ware LB, Snider ME, Koch P, Daniel B, Nuckton TJ, Matthay MA.

Intensive Care Med 2002 Jun;28(6):705-11

OBJECTIVE: Experimental studies demonstrate that beta-adrenergic agonists markedly stimulate alveolar fluid clearance if concentrations of 10(-6) M are achieved in alveolar fluid. However, no studies have determined whether aerosolized beta-adrenergic agonists are delivered to the distal air spaces of the lung in therapeutic concentrations in patients with pulmonary edema. DESIGN AND SETTING: This retrospective study measured albuterol levels in the pulmonary edema fluid and plasma from mechanically ventilated patients with pulmonary edema from a hydrostatic mechanism ( n=10) or from acute lung injury ( n=12). MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: After a total aerosolized albuterol dose of 4.2+/-3.2 mg in the prior 6 h the median pulmonary edema fluid albuterol level was 1,250 ng/ml (10(-6) M) in patients with hydrostatic pulmonary edema; after 3.5+/-2.6 mg the figure was 1,240 ng/ml (10(-6) M) in patients with pulmonary edema from acute lung injury. Plasma albuterol levels were much lower, with a median of 5.2 ng/ml (0.01 x 10(-6) M) in patients with hydrostatic pulmonary edema and 3.1 ng/ml (0.01 x 10(-6) M) in patients with pulmonary edema from acute lung injury. CONCLUSIONS: These results provide the first evidence that levels of beta-adrenergic agonists that are physiologically efficacious in experimental models can be achieved with conventional delivery systems in ventilated, critically ill patients with acute respiratory failure from pulmonary edema.

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