Patient Comments: ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) - Experience

Do/did you or someone you know have ARDS? Please share your experience.

Comment from: cathymontz, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 05

I became an ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) survivor at the age of 57. I had a severe case of ARDS. I was in ICU on life support for 89 days. I entered the hospital with a UTI (urinary tract infection) and double pneumonia. During the time I was in ICU I was on 100 percent oxygen for 7 weeks. I had a very high temperature, so I was packed in ice to bring it down; and during Thanksgiving they decided to biopsy my lung. However, they collapsed my lung and it took 45 minutes to get it going again. During ARDS I had sepsis and my blood was changed in an effort to reduce the infection. At one point my kidneys began to fail and they thought it wouldn't be long before I passed. They couldn't get me stable enough to move to the operation room (OR) for a tracheostomy. When they took a chance to get me to the OR I had a tracheostomy. I began to recover after the tracheostomy was in. My family had some very hard days. They were told I wouldn't make the night, then they began sleeping in the waiting room, expecting the worst. That went on for 3 months. Finally I began to recover, my kidneys reversed themselves (and there is no explanation they can give as to why they started again). I spent the first year with my lungs healing. After that year I was able to return home. After that year I only needed oxygen at night. That was good for 13 years. I discovered after that that I had lost 1 kidney. I also began using oxygen full time 3 years ago. I will celebrate my 17 years survival of ARDS. I had wonderful doctors and an excellent nursing staff, which makes me grateful for all of their efforts.

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Comment from: Gail, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: December 10

My father at age 83 had colon resection surgery, surgery was a success, but patient died of ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). At 53 he had lower lung surgery due to x-ray finding a spot on the lung. It was six weeks until he recovered from breathing problems, and had no more fluid in in the lungs. I have no information as to the lung issue although he was on the same medicine my daughter was on for a 'TB' exposure finding. I did not bring this up to the doctors in the last surgery, I wonder if the two of these incidents could have been related. Perhaps he might have had ARDS the first time.

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Comment from: 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 29

I was feeling short of breath and had non-productive cough always around December for the past few years. But starting in November 2013 I noticed uphill walking I was very short of breath. By December others at work were sick where I work. On 1-14-14 I had temperature 102.9 and vomiting. I was treated for flu symptoms and for two days I was home fighting flu. On 1-16-14 I was in the emergency room (ER) with 103 pulse and oxygen 84. I spent 42 days in hospital, developed MRSA in heart and lungs. Diagnosis was pulmonary fibrosis to needing lung transplant; my only smoke was from fire pit and grill raking moldy leaves. Final I have ARDS; I was healthy up to this time.

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Comment from: Hinkydink, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: October 07

My husband had a tracheostomy 2 months ago. The day after, he went into acute respiratory arrest. I was not there when it happened. I returned back to his room and about 15 people were there. He was cyanotic and starting to turn bluish up to his hips, and I knew it was only a matter of time. They decided to get a portable ventilator, they put that on, and immediately his color was changing, and to ICU we went. I do not know how long it was he was not breathing, no one has told me but it was a while by the looks of him. He doesn't remember things like he used to, he was smart as a whip. I wonder if this will return. I am very worried as a wife and caregiver.

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Comment from: E of VA, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 01

I had ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) in 1973 at the age of 21 after surgery for a ruptured spleen. I was told at that time, not many people survived ARDS. I was transferred to a major teaching hospital where they performed a tracheostomy and placed me on a ventilator. My lead doctor had been doing research on how to treat ARDS. He had figured out to increase my oxygen levels. I was so weak I could not lift my head off the pillow or swallow. I was in ICU isolation for a week or so. Several weeks later I walked out of the hospital and 41 years later I am still hanging in there with no residual breathing issues.

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ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) - Signs Question: What were your signs and symptoms associated with ARDS?
ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) - Diagnosis Question: Describe the events that led to a diagnosis of ARDS. Were you being treated for another condition?
ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment, therapy, or medication did you receive for ARDS?

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