Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) Definition, Symptom, Treatment

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) Definition, Reason, Symptom, Treatment, Prevention

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Definition

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) occurs when fluid from the blood vessels seeps out and fills the air sacs in the lungs. As a result, the lungs are not able to accommodate the air to the maximum.

This decrease in the ability of the lungs to make oxygen reserves in the body decreases drastically. Shortness of breath is one of the signs. If not treated immediately, ARDS can cause damage to various organs due to not getting enough oxygen. The kidneys will experience kidney failure, and the brain can have a stroke, it can even cause death.

The main risk factor for ARDS is having a severe disease that has spread to the bloodstream (sepsis). A person with a history of alcoholism is also at risk of developing ARDS later in life.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Diagnosis

To determine the diagnosis of ARDS ( Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome ) requires a physical examination, chest X-ray or CT- scan, and examination of blood oxygen levels.

On physical examination will be found if there are symptoms of shortness of breath and an increase in respiratory rate above normal values. In moderately severe ARDS, the patient may become unconscious due to a lack of oxygen.

Chest X-ray and CT scan. A chest X-ray will reveal an image of the lungs containing fluid in them. From the results of these X-rays, it can also be evaluated which areas are affected and how extensive the impact is. While on a CT – scan, a picture of fluid in the lungs can be seen in more detail from various points of view.

Laboratory tests can determine the level of oxygen in the blood. Additional tests such as pulmonary fluid analysis are needed to determine the cause and source of the infection.

Heart check. Because the symptoms of ARDS are similar to many disorders originating from the heart, a cardiac examination is also necessary to confirm the diagnosis. These examinations include electrocardiography (ECG) and echocardiography or ultrasound of the heart.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Reason

The cause of ARDS ( Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome ) is not yet known for sure. However, severe infection and a history of trauma are thought to be major risk factors.

Normally, blood vessels have a layer of membrane that keeps blood in the blood vessels. Due to infection as well as trauma, this membrane can be damaged causing blood to leak, out of the blood vessels and into the lungs.

Infections that occur are generally severe infections that have spread to the blood (sepsis). Apart from sepsis, infection in the pancreas, pneumonia, drug overdose and accidents can also cause ARDS.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Symptom

Symptoms and signs that appear in patients with ARDS ( Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome ) include:

1. Severe shortness of breath
2. Breathing rate is more than normal
3. Low blood pressure
4. Loss of consciousness

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Treatment

The main target of ARDS ( Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome ) treatment is to return the body’s oxygen levels to normal. This can be done by various methods, such as:

  • Giving oxygen mask

In ARDS with symptoms that are not severe, sufficient oxygen is given with a mask that covers the nose and mouth.

  • Mechanical ventilator

Mechanical ventilation is required in severe ARDS. This machine works as a breathing aid to meet the body’s oxygen needs.

In addition to oxygen, the provision of fluids in sufficient quantities in patients is also important. This can be done by giving intravenous fluids. Adequacy of fluids is the main thing to ensure the smooth circulation of blood and oxygen to all organs in the body.

Medications are given to treat the underlying infection, reduce pain, prevent blood clots in the legs and lungs, and provide sedation to people with ARDS.


If not treated immediately, ARDS can lead to various complications, such as:

  • Blood clots in the legs from lying in the hospital for a long time.
  • Pneumothorax or increased air pressure in the lungs due to the use of a high-pressure ventilator.
  • Infection from contamination of breathing apparatus.
  • Pulmonary fibrosis or the formation of connective tissue in the lungs that makes it more difficult for the patient to breathe.
  • Decreased thinking and cognitive abilities due to low oxygen levels in the long term.
  • Muscle weakness due to prolonged bed rest.


ARDS ( Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome ) can be prevented by avoiding various risk factors. In pulmonary infections, ARDS can be avoided by administering drugs to relieve the underlying infection. According to Dr.G Bhanu Prakash Animated Medical Videos What is Acute respiratory distress syndrome ( ARDS ) Diagnosis, and Treatment

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