ARDS stands for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. It is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition that affects the lungs, leading to rapid onset of respiratory failure. ARDS is characterized by the inflammation of the lungs, which causes the air sacs (alveoli) to fill with fluid, making it difficult for the lungs to adequately exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide.

ARDS can be triggered by various underlying conditions, including:

  • Sepsis: A severe infection that can lead to widespread inflammation.
  • Trauma: Such as a severe injury to the chest or head.
  • Pneumonia: Severe cases of pneumonia can result in ARDS.
  • Aspiration of Gastric Contents: Inhaling stomach contents into the lungs.
  • Near Drowning: Submersion in water leading to aspiration of water.
  • Inhalation Injury: Breathing in harmful substances, such as smoke or chemical fumes.
  • Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas.


  • Difficulty Breathing: Rapid, shallow breathing.
    Severe shortness of breath.
  • Low Oxygen Levels: Decreased oxygen levels in the blood.
  • Cyanosis: Bluish discoloration of the skin and lips due to inadequate oxygenation.
  • Rapid Heart Rate: Tachycardia (fast heart rate) due to the body's attempt to compensate for low oxygen levels.
  • Confusion or Altered Mental Status: In severe cases, individuals may experience confusion or become unconscious.

Preventive measures include addressing and managing conditions that can lead to ARDS, such as:

  • Early and effective treatment of infections.
  • Preventing injuries and trauma.
  • Monitoring and managing conditions that may lead to aspiration.
  • Avoiding harmful exposures, such as smoke or toxic chemicals.