Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

Acute Respiratory

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a lung problem. It happens when fluid builds up in the lungs. This causes a failure to breathe which creates low oxygen levels in the blood. ARDS is life-threatening.As a matter of fact, ARDS keeps your vital organs like the brain and your kidneys from getting the proper amount of oxygen that they need to work.

In addition, this respiratory disease is usually a side effect for people who are being treated for another serious illness or possible injury. By the same token,  most of the time, people who get ARDS are already in the hospital for another reason.

Not to mention that ARDS is a very serious condition that often causes death in many people. Survival numbers are one-third of people who develop ARDS die.

What causes ARDS?

There are many possible causes for ARDS. Some possibilities can be.

An infection in the blood better known as sepsis, this is the most common cause of ARDS. Also, other possible causes are

  • A serious injury to the head or chest, as well as a severe bleeding caused by an injury.
  • An infection in the lungs (pneumonia).
  • Having many blood transfusions.
  • Inhaling vomit.
  • Breathing toxic fumes or smoke.

What are the possible symptoms?

ARDS can develop quickly. The main symptoms of ARDS are severe shortness of breath and rapid breathing.

How can ARDS be diagnosed?

Your doctor will diagnose ARDS based on the medical exam.  The Dr. will make you go through numerous tests to determine without a doubt whether you have ARDS or not.

An arterial blood gas test may be done. This is when arterial blood is removed to check oxygen levels in the blood.

Some other tests are:

  • A chest X-ray, to look for fluid in the lungs.
  • A chest CT scan, which can show problems with the lungs, such as pneumonia or a lung tumor.

A Patient that has attracted ARDS is normally transferred immediately and treated in the intensive care unit. The main purpose of treatment is focused on getting oxygen to the lungs and other organs, and then treating the cause of ARDS.

Oxygen therapy may be given through a mask that fits over the mouth to keep the patient’s oxygenation level up to a safe level. If the patient still has trouble breathing, your doctor may intubate the patient by inserting a breathing tube that is connected to a machine called a ventilator. The breathing tube will be able to help the patient breathe until they can breathe on your own.

The doctor may also give you antibiotics, to help treat the infection if it is causing ARDS. A patient may also be given fluids through an IV to help them recover.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)< diseases/lung-disease-lookup/ards/>

Acute (or Adult)Respiratory distress syndrome <>

Lee W, Slutsky A (2010). Acute respiratory distress syndrome. In JF Murray, JA Nadel, eds., Textbook of Respiratory Medicine, 5th ed, vol. 2, pp. 2104-2129. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) – Topic Overview <>

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