Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), previously known as respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), adult respiratory distress syndrome, or shock lung, is a medical condition occurring in critically ill patients characterized by widespread inflammation in the lungs. ARDS is not a particular disease; rather it is a clinical phenotype which may be triggered by various pathologies such as trauma, pneumonia and sepsis.
Signs and symptoms may include shortness of breath, fast breathing, and a low oxygen level in the blood. A chest x-ray frequently demonstrates generalized infiltrates or opacities in both lungs, which represent fluid accumulation in the lungs.
Acute respiratory distress syndrome is usually treated with mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit (ICU). Mechanical ventilation is usually delivered through oro-tracheal intubation, or by tracheostomy whenever prolonged ventilation (=2 weeks) is deemed inevitable.
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http://err.ersjournals.com/content/24/135/132. ers (european respiratory society). recent advances in mechanical ventilation in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. by nuttapol rittayamai, laurent brochard. published 1 march 2015.