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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:
- Indirect injury to the lungs:
- 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 (complete blood count, viral and bacterial cultures) and markers of heart failure
- Chest x-ray
- Swabs from nose and throat for identifying viruses
- Occasionally, an echocardiogram, to rule out congestive 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:
- Mechanical ventilation—a machine to help you breathe through a tube placed in the mouth or nose, or through an opening created in the neck
- Monitoring blood chemistry and fluid levels
- Oxygen via a face mask or nasal prong
American Lung Association http://www.lungusa.org/
National Library of Medicine http://www.nlm.nih.gov/
Canadian Lung Association http://www.lung.ca/home-accueil%5Fe.php/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html/
ARDS. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Disease and Conditions Index website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Ards/Ards%5FWhoIsAtRisk.html. Accessed December 12, 2006.
ARDS Support Center. Understanding ARDS: acute respiratory distress syndrome and its effect on victims and loved ones. ARDS Support Center brochure. October 3, 2001. ARDS Support Center website. Available at: http://www.ards.org/learnaboutards/whatisards/brochure. Accessed December 12, 2006.
Bernard GR. Acute respiratory distress syndrome: a historical perspective. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2005;172:798.
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;149:818.
Bosma KJ, Lewis JF. Emerging therapies for treatment of acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Expert Opin Emgerg Drugs. 2007;12: 461-77.
DynaMed Editorial Team. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated October 13, 2010. Accessed October 20, 2010.
Jain R, DaiNogare A. Pharmacological therapy for acute respiratory distress syndrome. Mayo Clin Proc. 2006;81:205-12.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. ARDS. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Ards/Ards%5FWhoIsAtRisk.html. Accessed August 4, 2005.
Rubenfeld GD, Caldwell E, Peabody E, et al. Incidence and outcomes of acute lung injury. N Engl J Med. 2005;353:1685.
Udobi KF, Childs E, Touijer K. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Am Fam Physician. 2003;67(2):315-22.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 02/2014
- Update Date: 06/20/2013