What is ARDS?
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a severe form of acute respiratory failure characterized clinically by acute onset of shortness of breath, hypoxemia and bilateral infiltrates on chest imaging. ARDS is a syndrome occurring most commonly in response to pneumonia, sepsis, trauma, blood transfusion and, in the last year, COVID-19.
ARDS continues to be a major challenge in critical care medicine with high short- and long-term mortality rates. There are currently no targeted pharmacologic therapies to treat this syndrome, and treatment is focused on supportive care, protective mechanical ventilation, and conservative fluid management.
The biology of lung injury in ARDS:
ARDS is characterized by:
Loss of alveolar capillary barrier integrity
Accumulation of protein rich edema fluid in the airspace
Influx of inflammatory cells
Activation of intra-alveolar coagulation
Formation of fibrin-rich hyaline membranse