Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a severe lung condition that can develop in people who are critically ill or have a significant injury. It is characterized by acute onset of respiratory failure, which can cause difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, and low levels of oxygen in the blood.
ARDS is usually caused by an injury or damage to the lungs, such as pneumonia, sepsis, trauma, or inhalation of toxic substances. The injury causes inflammation in the lungs, which leads to the accumulation of fluid in the air sacs, making it difficult for oxygen to pass into the bloodstream.
The diagnosis of ARDS is based on clinical presentation, chest x-ray, and blood gas analysis. Patients with ARDS typically require mechanical ventilation to help them breathe, and treatment often involves supportive care, such as oxygen therapy, fluid management, and medications to manage symptoms.
The prognosis for ARDS depends on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause of the lung injury. Some patients recover fully, while others may develop long-term complications, such as pulmonary fibrosis, which can lead to chronic respiratory failure.