|CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368|
Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome
(ARDS; Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome; Non-cardiogenic Pulmonary Edema)
by Sonja Lyons
Adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a form of severe lung damage. It is a life-threatening lung condition. ARDS can occur in very ill or severely injured people. It is not a specific disease.
ARDS starts with the tiny blood vessels in the lungs. These vessels leak fluid into the lung sacs. The fluid decreases the ability of the lungs to move oxygen into the body.
ARDS can develop in anyone over the age of 1 year.
ARDS can be caused by many types of injuries, including:
Indirect injury to the lungs:
ARDS may occur within few days of a lung or bone marrow transplantation.
Risk Factors TOP
ARDS develops most often in people who are being treated for the conditions listed above. Very few who have these issues will go on to develop ARDS.
ARDS is more common in adults over the age of 65 years. Other factors that may increase your chance of ARDS include:
Symptoms often develop within 24-48 hours of the injury. Symptoms begin slowly and worsen with time.
Symptoms may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. People who develop ARDS may be too sick to report their symptoms.
Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:
Your bodily structures may need to be viewed. This can be done with:
Pulmonary artery catheterization may also be done to to test heart function.
If you are able, talk with the doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Often, ARDS patients are sedated to tolerate these treatments.
To help reduce your chance of getting ARDS, seek timely treatment for any direct or indirect injury to the lungs.
American Lung Association
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated July 27, 2016. Accessed September 26, 2016.
Bosma KJ, Lewis JF. Emerging therapies for treatment of acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Expert Opin Emgerg Drugs. 2007;12(3): 461-477.
Explore ARDS. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated January 12, 2012. Accessed May 4, 2016.
Jain R, DaiNogare A. Pharmacological therapy for acute respiratory distress syndrome. Mayo Clin Proc. 2006;81(2):205-212.
Understanding ARDS. ARDS Support Center website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed May 4, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 6/20/2013
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.