Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome
(ARDS; Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome; Non-cardiogenic Pulmonary Edema)
|Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome|
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- Direct injury to the lungs:
- Chest trauma, such as a heavy blow
- Aspiration of stomach contents
- Obstructed airways
- High attitude disease
- Oxygen toxicity
- Cardiopulmonary bypass
- Breathing smoke, chemicals, or salt water
- Severe infection
- Massive blood transfusion
- Head trauma
- Severe inflammation of the pancreas—pancreatitis
- Overdoses of alcohol or certain drugs, such as aspirin, cocaine, opioids, phenothiazines, and tricyclic antidepressants
- Cigarette smoking
- Chronic lung disease
- Age over 65
- Shortness of breath
- Fast, labored breathing
- Bluish skin or fingernail color
- Rapid pulse
- Muscle pain or weakness
- Dry Cough
- A person suffering from severe infection or injury develops acute, severe breathing problems
- A chest x-ray shows fluid in the air sacs of both lungs
- Blood tests show a dangerously low level of oxygen in the blood
- Other conditions that could cause breathing problems have been ruled out
- Blood pressure check
- Blood tests—to look for oxygen levels, evidence of infection, and markers of heart failure
- Chest x-ray
- Swabs from nose and throat for identifying viruses
- Occasionally, an echocardiogram, to rule out heart failure
- Pulmonary artery catheterization to aid in diagnostic work-up
- Bronchoscopy to analyze airways—a laboratory examination may indicate presence of certain viruses or cancer cells
- Open lung biopsy is reserved for cases when diagnosis is difficult to establish
- Treating the underlying cause or injury
- Providing support until the lungs heal:
American Lung Association http://www.lung.org
National Library of Medicine http://www.nlm.nih.gov
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
The Lung Association http://www.lung.ca
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 12, 2015. Accessed June 30, 2015.
Bernard GR. Acute respiratory distress syndrome: A historical perspective. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2005;172(7):798-806.
Bernard G, Artigas A, Carlet J, et al. The American-European consensus conference on ARDS: Definitions, mechanisms, relevant outcomes, and clinical trial coordination. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1994;149(3 Pt 1):818-824.
Bosma KJ, Lewis JF. Emerging therapies for treatment of acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Expert Opin Emgerg Drugs. 2007;12(3): 461-477.
Explore ARDS. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Ards/Ards%5FWhoIsAtRisk.html. Updated January 12, 2012. Accessed January 2015.
Jain R, DaiNogare A. Pharmacological therapy for acute respiratory distress syndrome. Mayo Clin Proc. 2006;81(2):205-212.
Rubenfeld GD, Caldwell E, Peabody E, et al. Incidence and outcomes of acute lung injury. N Engl J Med. 2005;353(16):1685-1693.
Udobi KF, Childs E, Touijer K. Acute respiratory distress syndrome. Am Fam Physician. 2003;67(2):315-22.
Understanding ARDS. ARDS Support Center website. Available at: http://www.ards.org/learnaboutards/whatisards/brochure. Accessed June 30, 2015.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 06/2015 -
- Update Date: 06/20/2013 -