Acute lung injury

Acute lung injury (ALI) refers to a rather broad clinical syndrome defined by a constellation of clinical criteria which includes:

  • acute onset of bilateral pulmonary infiltrates
  • pulmonary wedge pressures usually 18 mmHg or less. 

It encompasses and also carries some overlap with the term acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with some publications stating a PaO2/FiO2 of:

  • ≤300 for ALI 1
  • ≤200 for ARDS 1 

Some publications state ARDS as a more severe form of ALI.


Histologically, it is represented by diffuse alveolar damage in most bases but can also be uncommonly be represented by acute eosinophilic pneumonia (AEP) and acute fibrinous and organizing pneumonia (AFOP) 6. It can be precipitated by numerous agents.

Treatment and prognosis

Treatment is primarily supportive through supplemental oxygen with mechanical ventilation provided if necessary. The prognosis can be variable.

Article information

rID: 91049
System: Chest
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • ALI
  • Acute pulmonary injury (API)
  • Acute pulmonary injury
  • Acute lung injury (ALI)

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