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Rationale: Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage (DAH) is a life-threatening manifestation of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis (AAV). The PEXIVAS (Plasma Exchange and Glucocorticoids in Severe Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody-Associated Vasculitis) (NCT00987389) trial was the largest in AAV and the first to enroll participants with DAH requiring mechanical ventilation.

Objectives: Evaluate characteristics, treatment effects, and outcomes for patients with AAV with and without DAH.

Methods: PEXIVAS randomized 704 participants to plasma exchange (PLEX) or no-PLEX and reduced or standard-dose glucocorticoids (GC). DAH status was defined at enrollment as no-DAH, nonsevere, or severe (room air oxygen saturation of <= 85% as measured by pulse oximetry, or use of mechanical ventilation).

Measurements and Main Results: At enrollment, 191 (27.1%) participants had DAH (61 severe, including 29 ventilated) and were younger, more frequently relapsing, PR3 (proteinase 3)-ANCA positive, and had lower serum creatinine but were more frequently dialyzed than participants without DAH (n = 513; 72.9%). Among those with DAH, 8/95 (8.4%) receiving PLEX died within 1 year versus 15/96 (15.6%) with no-PLEX (hazard ratio, 0.52; confidence interval [CI], 0.21-1.24), whereas 13/96 (13.5%) receiving reduced GC died versus 10/95 (10.5%) with standard GC (hazard ratio, 1.33; CI, 0.57-3.13). When ventilated, ventilator-free days were similar with PLEX versus no-PLEX (medians, 25; interquartile range [IQR], 22-26 vs. 22-27) and fewer with reduced GC (median, 23; IQR, 20-25) versus standard GC (median, 26; IQR, 25-28). Treatment effects on mortality did not vary by presence or severity of DAH. Overall, 23/191 (12.0%) with DAH died within 1 year versus 34/513 (6.6%) without DAH. End-stage kidney disease and serious infections did not differ by DAH status or treatments.

Conclusions: Patients with AAV and DAH differ from those without DAH in multiple ways. Further data are required to confirm or refute a benefit of PLEX or GC dosing on mortality.

Original clinical trial registered with (NCT00987389).

(C) 2024 American Thoracic Society