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What are the signs and symptoms of adult respiratory distress syndrome?

Symptoms of ARDS can vary, depending on the cause, but they usually develop within 1 to 3 days after a trauma or infection damages the lungs. Shortness of breath occurs first, followed in most cases by rapid, shallow breathing. Patients initially have tachypnea, dyspnea, and normal auscultatory findings in the chest. Some elderly patients may present with an unexplained altered mental status. Patients then become tachycardic with mild cyanosis and later develop coarse rales. They progress to respiratory distress with diffuse rhonchi and signs of consolidation, often requiring positive pressure ventilatory support. Even with significant hypoxemia, these clinical findings may not be obvious, so an arterial blood gas is warranted early in patients at risk. Initial oxygenation ratios and ventilatory parameters do not reliably predict the ultimate outcome in individual patients.

 

More information on adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)

What is adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)? - Adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a type of lung (pulmonary) failure that may result from any disease that causes large amounts of fluid to collect in the lungs.
What causes adult respiratory distress syndrome? - Causes of adult respiratory distress syndrome include pneumonia, septic shock, trauma, aspiration of vomit, or chemical inhalation.
What're the symptoms of adult respiratory distress syndrome? - Signs and symptoms of adult respiratory distress syndrome include shortness of breath, tachypnea, dyspnea, and normal auscultatory findings in the chest.
How is adult respiratory distress syndrome diagnosed? - Early diagnosis of adult respiratory distress syndrome requires a high index of suspicion aroused by the onset of dyspnea in settings that predispose to ARDS.
What's the treatment for adult respiratory distress syndrome? - The objective of treatment for adult respiratory distress syndrome is to provide enough support for the failing respiratory system.
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