Researchers at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn, have developed a model that could determine which patients are at high risk of developing acute lung injury (ALI). Postoperative ALI has an estimated mortality exceeding 45% in certain surgical populations, and with limited treatment options, prevention may be more effective than treating the syndrome, according to the researchers.

Their findings appear in the journal Anesthesiology.

The researchers performed a secondary analysis of a prospective database and compared patients who developed ALI versus those who did not. From the analysis, preoperative risk factors for postoperative ALI were identified and evaluated for inclusion in the surgical lung injury prediction (SLIP) model.

“The SLIP model will help physicians study targeted prevention strategies in patients who are at moderate or high risk of ALI, while avoiding potential harm in patients who are at low risk,” said Daryl J. Kor, MD.

The findings revealed that out of 4,366 patients, 2.6% developed early postoperative ALI. Patients who developed ALI were older and more likely to undergo high-risk cardiac, vascular, and thoracic surgery. Patients with diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), gastroesophageal reflux disease, and alcohol abuse also were discovered to be at risk for ALI.

The model categorized all SLIP scores into three groups of patients: low risk (SLIP score ≤ 9), moderate risk (SLIP score 10 to 26), and high risk (SLIP score ≥ 27).

Source: American Society of Anesthesiologists