Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)


This is a characteristic appearance of ARDS in the appropriate clinical context.

The differential diagnosis includes infection (also a common complication of ARDS), and cardiogenic pulmonary edema. Differentiation can be impossible in some cases.

The causes of ARDS include:

  • trauma
  • septicemia
  • hypovolemic shock
  • fat embolism
  • near-drowning
  • burns
  • viral pneumonia
  • pancreatitis
  • oxygen toxicity
  • disseminated intravascular coagulopathy

ARDS mortality is high, around 50%, and many survivors develop chronic lung disease, with damaged lung healing by fibrosis. A minority recover fully.