Background: The ARDS Clinical Trials Network Fluid and Catheter Treatment Trial (FACTT) addressed fluid management and central monitoring of patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome/acute lung injury (ARDS/ALI). Because surgical patients may have been fundamentally different from the overall FACTT cohort, we set out to separately analyze the surgery patients in the trial. Study Design: We performed a posthoc, surgical subgroup analysis of 1,000 patients enrolled in the FACTT. Patients were randomized using a 2 × 2 factorial design comparing a conservative (CON) versus a liberal (LIB) strategy of fluid management and the use of a pulmonary artery catheter (PAC) or a central venous catheter (CVC). The primary end point was death at 60 days. Secondary end points included the number of ventilator-free days, ICU-free days, and dialysis-free days until hospital discharge up to day 90. We defined surgical patients as those admitted to a surgical ICU, burn ICU, or cardiac surgical ICU; trauma patients; or those with an APACHE III surgical admission type. Results: There were 244 surgical patients. Risk of death within 60 days of randomization did not vary with catheter or fluid management, and a corresponding lack of effect was evident with regard to dialysis-free days. Ventilator-free days were increased in the fluid-conservative group (LIB, 13 ± 1 days; CON, 15 ± 1 days; p = 0.04) at 28 days. CVC patients had more ventilator-free days at 28 and 90 days (28 days: CVC, 16 ± 1 days; PAC, 13 ± 1 days; p = 0.03; 90 days: CVC, 64 ± 3 days; PAC, 57 ± 4 days; p = 0.03). CVC patients had more ICU-free days at 90 days (90 days: CVC, 63 ± 3 days; PAC, 55 ± 3 days; p = 0.04). Conclusions: The risk of death did not vary with fluid management or catheter. A conservative fluid-administration strategy and central venous catheter monitoring resulted in more ventilator-free and ICU-free days in surgical patients with acute lung injury, and conservative fluid administration did not result in more renal failure.
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