Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening lung condition. It develops rapidly and drastically reduces the amount of oxygen your blood gets from your lungs.Your lungs are filled with air sacs, which transfer oxygen from the air in your lungs to your blood. If you have ARDS, fluid leaks from the blood vessels in your airway into these tiny air sacs, limiting how much oxygen that can move from the air sacs to your blood. Other air sacs become unstable and collapse, also limiting their ability to function. Your body’s organs depend on the oxygen, and nutrients blood brings. If your blood does not have enough oxygen to meet your organs’ needs, they stop functioning properly. This may lead to the failure of other organs.
Although several causes can cause ARDS, including trauma or aspiration, the most common cause is sepsis. Sepsis, which was often called blood poisoning, is the body’s life-threatening response to infection. Like strokes or heart attacks, sepsis is a medical emergency that requires rapid diagnosis and treatment.
Sepsis Alliance. Sepsis and ARDS. 2023. https://www.sepsis.org/sepsisand/ards/
Updated November 9, 2023.