Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Monday, April 23, 2012

Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a lung condition that leads to low oxygen levels in the blood. ARDS can be life threatening because your bodys organs need oxygen-rich blood to work well. Dr. Edward Hill explains more about ARDS in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS, is a serious illness that causes shortness of breath, fast breathing and difficulty getting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. ARDS occurs when the air-filled sacs in the lungs called alveoli fill with fluid.

ARDS is caused by an injury to the lungs. Your lungs can be injured by an illness, like pneumonia or a blood infection, by inhaling water or vomit, or by trauma. These injuries can cause the lungs to swell and break down blood vessels and alveoli, causing fluid to build up in the lungs.

ARDS can be life threatening, so it has to be treated in the intensive care unit of the hospital. Most patients with ARDS are put on a ventilator until they are able to breathe on their own. Other treatments include medicine for pain and to treat infections.

Even after leaving the hospital, some patients who recover from ARDS will need to use an oxygen machine to help with shortness of breath.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.