Medical Definition of Respiratory distress syndrome, acute

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Respiratory distress syndrome, acute: Respiratory failure of sudden onset due to fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema), following an abrupt increase in the permeability of the normal barrier between the capillaries in the lungs and the air sacs. The muscles used in breathing are forced to work harder, causing labored and inefficient breathing. An abnormally low level of oxygen in the blood (hypoxemia) occurs. The types of acute lung injury that may lead to ARDS include, but are not limited to, aspiration of food or other items into the lungs, inhalation of a toxic substance, widespread infection of the lungs, blood infection (sepsis), and near-drowning. Treatment frequently involves temporary use of a mechanical ventilator to help the patient breathe.

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COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the same as adult-onset asthma. See Answer

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018