The medical abbreviation "ARDS" stands for "acute respiratory distress syndrome." Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a severe lung condition characterized by rapid onset of widespread inflammation in the lungs, leading to respiratory failure. It is a life-threatening condition that typically occurs as a response to lung injury from various causes.
ARDS is often associated with conditions such as pneumonia, sepsis (severe infection), aspiration of gastric contents into the lungs, trauma, or inhalation of harmful substances. The inflammation and injury to the lungs result in the accumulation of fluid in the air sacs (alveoli), making it difficult for oxygen to reach the bloodstream and for carbon dioxide to be eliminated.
The symptoms of ARDS include severe shortness of breath, rapid breathing, low blood oxygen levels, and chest discomfort. Treatment for ARDS focuses on addressing the underlying cause, providing supportive care to maintain oxygenation and ventilation, and managing complications such as infections or organ dysfunction. Interventions may include mechanical ventilation with positive pressure, administration of oxygen, and sometimes medications to reduce inflammation. ARDS often requires intensive care and close monitoring.