By: Stacy M Hucek
Med Surg Clinicals
25 February, 2013
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is an acute form of respiratory failure that results from the alveoli becoming damaged. This makes them more permeable to intravascular fluid. When the alveoli become more permeable to fluid, less oxygen is able to be delivered to the blood stream resulting in less oxygen reaching vital organs such as the brain and kidneys. (Lewis, Eighth Edition) Individuals who develop ARDS have a fifty percent survival rate. The rate may decrease depending on the patient’s age or the severity of the disease. (Mayo Clinic)
There are several underlying causes of ARDS, but the most common cause is Sepsis. Sepsis is an incredibly serious infection of the blood stream. Aside from sepsis, pneumonia and injuries to the chest and head can also result in ARDS. Also, inhaling harmful substances such a smoke, chemicals or gastrointestinal contents can also be harmful to the lungs and result in ARDS. (Mayo Clinic) “Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome is diagnosed with these risk factors along with the presence of recent onset bilateral pulmonary infiltrates compatible with edema, critical hypoxemia, and the absence of evidence of a hydrostatic cause of edema, such as a pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) below18 mmHg [1, 2]. The diagnosis therefore requires a pulmonary artery catheter, although a high PCWP does not exclude permeability edema. Indeed, ARDS is believed to result from a lung vascular injury and increased endothelial permeability in response to a variety of inflammatory conditions, while hydrostatic pulmonary edema is caused by heart failure (cardiogenic pulmonary edema, CPE) or overhydrating.”( Arif, S. K., Verheij, J., Groeneveld, J. A., & Raijmakers, P. G. (2002). Hypoproteinemia as a marker of acute respiratory distress syndrome in critically ill patients with pulmonary edema. Intensive Care Medicine,...