Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a dangerous ailment where the lungs could not supply adequate oxygen to the vital organs in the body.
The condition is generally a complication of a severe current health ailment. Most individuals have already been hospitalized by the time they develop ARDS.
What are the causes?
Acute respiratory distress syndrome develops if the lungs are significantly inflamed or swollen due to an injury or infection. The inflammation causes the fluid from adjacent blood vessel to seep into the tiny air sacs in the lungs, thus making breathing increasingly labored.
The lungs might also become inflamed after:
- A severe chest injury
- Flu or pneumonia
- Blood poisoning
- Near drowning
- Accidental inhalation of smoke, vomit or toxic chemicals
- Acute pancreatitis – this is a serious condition where the pancreas becomes inflamed for a brief span of time
- Adverse reaction to blood transfusion
The indications of acute respiratory distress syndrome might include:
- Significant shortness of breath
- Feeling faint
- Shallow, rapid breathing
- Drowsiness, tiredness or confusion
Management of acute respiratory distress syndrome
If an individual develops acute respiratory distress syndrome, he/she might be admitted to an intensive care unit and placed under a ventilator to assist with breathing. This involves breathing via a mask that is linked to the device. In severe cases, a breathing tube might be inserted down the throat and into the lungs.
Nutrients and fluids might be supplied via a feeding tube that is introduced via the nose and into the stomach.
The root cause of acute respiratory distress syndrome must be treated as well. If due to a bacterial infection, antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor.
The length of stay in a healthcare facility is based on the case of the individual and the precise cause of the condition. Most usually respond well to treatment, but it might take several weeks or even months before well enough to be discharged.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on acute respiratory distress syndrome is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage this breathing condition by taking a standard first aid course with Kelowna First Aid.