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Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome

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by Lyons S

(ARDS; Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome; Non-cardiogenic Pulmonary Edema)

 

Causes

ARDS can be caused by many types of injuries, including:
ARDS may occur within few days of a lung or bone marrow transplantation.
 

Diagnosis

Doctors may suspect ARDS when:
  • 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
The doctor will ask about symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. People who develop ARDS may be too sick to complain of symptoms. If a patient shows signs of developing ARDS, tests may include the following:
  • 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
 

RESOURCES

American Lung Association
http://www.lungusa.org/

National Library of Medicine
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Lung Association
http://www.lung.ca/home-accueil%5Fe.php/

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html/

 

References


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.

 

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