Fluid management in critically ill patients: the role of extravascular lung water, abdominal hypertension, capillary leak, and fluid balance

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Colin Cordemans, Inneke De Laet, Niels Van Regenmortel, Karen Schoonheydt, Hilde Dits, Wolfgang Huber, Manu L. N. G. Malbrain



Capillary leak in critically ill patients leads to interstitial edema. Fluid overload is independently associated with poor prognosis. Bedside measurement of intra-abdominal pressure (IAP), extravascular lung water index (EVLWI), fluid balance, and capillary leak index ( CLI) may provide a valuable prognostic tool in mechanically ventilated patients.


We performed an observational study of 123 mechanically ventilated patients with extended hemodynamic monitoring, analyzing process-of-care variables for the first week of ICU admission. The primary outcome parameter was 28-day mortality. L'lmaxEVLWI indicated the maximum difference between EVLWI measurements during ICU stay. Patients with a L'lmaxEVLWI <-2 ml/kg were called 'responders'. CLI was defined as C-reactive protein (milligrams per deciliter) over albumin (grams per liter) ratio and conservative late fluid management (CLFM) as even-tonegative fluid balance on at least two consecutive days.


CLI had a biphasic course. L'lm .. EVLWI was lower if CLFM was achieved and in survivors (-2.4±4.8 vs l.0±5.5 ml/kg, p=0.001; -3.3±3.8ml vs 2.5±5.3 ml/kg, p=0.001, respectively). No CLFM achievement was associated with increased CLI and IAP mean on day 3 and higher risk to be nonresponder (odds ratio (OR) 2.76,p=0.046; OR l.28,p=0.011; OR 5.52,p=0.001, respectively). Responders had more ventilator-free days during the first week (2.5±2.3 vs 1.5±2.3,p=0.023). Not achieving CLFM and being nonresponder were strong independent predictors of mortality (OR 9.34, p=0.001 and OR 7.14,p=0.001,respectively).


There seems to be an important correlation between CLI, EVLWI kinetics, IAP, and fluid balance in mechanically ventilated patients, associated with organ dysfunction and poor prognosis. In this context, we introduce the global increased permeability syndrome.

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