Overview

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) occurs when fluid builds up in the tiny, elastic air sacs (alveoli) in your lungs. The fluid keeps your lungs from filling with enough air, which means less oxygen reaches your bloodstream. This deprives your organs of the oxygen they need to function.

ARDS typically occurs in people who are already critically ill or who have significant injuries. Severe shortness of breath — the main symptom of ARDS — usually develops within a few hours to a few days after the precipitating injury or infection.

Many people who develop ARDS don't survive. The risk of death increases with age and severity of illness. Of the people who do survive ARDS, some recover completely while others experience lasting damage to their lungs.

May 09, 2017
References
  1. What is ARDS? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ards/#. Accessed Jan. 26, 2017.
  2. Goldman L, et al., eds. Acute respiratory failure. In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 26, 2017.
  3. Ferri FF. Acute respiratory distress syndrome. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 26, 2017.
  4. Siegel MD. Acute respiratory distress syndrome: Prognosis and outcomes in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 26, 2017.
  5. Mason RJ, et al. Acute hypoxemic respiratory failure and ARDS. In: Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 26, 2017.
  6. AskMayoExpert. Acute respiratory distress syndrome. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  7. Siegel MD. Acute respiratory distress syndrome: Clinical features and diagnosis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 26, 2017.
  8. Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.