According to research report by NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jun 08 - Treatment with the aerosolized beta-2 adrenergic agonist albuterol (salbutamol) doesn't improve clinical outcomes in critically ill patients with acute lung injury.
"Acute lung injury causes accumulation of excess fluid in the lungs, leading to difficulty in breathing and often death. There is no effective treatment other than supportive therapy such as mechanical ventilation and intravenous fluids.
Dr. Matthay of the University of California San Francisco and colleagues studied 282 patients receiving mechanical ventilation. They were randomized to receive aerosolized albuterol (5 mg) or saline placebo every 4 hours for up to 10 days.
Their results appear in a May 11th on-line paper in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
The mean number of ventilator-free days wasn't significantly different between the albuterol and placebo groups (14.4 vs. 16.6 days). This was also true of rates of death before hospital discharge (23.0% vs. 17.7%). There were identical findings for organ failure.
"This study was the first large trial to assess the effects of albuterol, given by inhaled aerosol, in acute lung injury patients. Frequent albuterol treatments did not shorten the time on the mechanical ventilator and did not lower mortality in this trial." continued Dr. Matthay.
He added that "this study was carried out by twelve university medical centers and their affiliated hospitals that make up a clinical trials network for critically ill patients sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH."