Understanding What Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Is

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ARDS or acute respiratory distress syndrome is a serious condition that can get patients and their loved ones worried because of the possibility of end-stage organ failure. Younger patients, trauma patients, and blood transfusion patients respond better to ARDS treatments. The likelihood of survival and recovery is greater when you recover before other organs begin to fail. Severely low blood pressure, liver failure, and kidney failure are among the most common symptoms of a possibly life-threatening condition. Health problems like muscle weakness or fatigue can also last for up to a year.

If you want to know more about ARDS, this post is for you as the best Morristown Hospital long term care facility answers some of the most common questions people have about this:

What Causes ARDS?

ARDS typically develops after a severe injury or illness. Most patients who suffer from ARDS show signs of difficulty breathing and lower oxygen levels in the blood. Other possible causes include:

  • Drug overdose
  • Severe bleeding
  • Multiple organ failure
  • Serious bacterial infection
  • Severe burns
  • A lung infection

What Are the Symptoms of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome?

Some of the symptoms of ARDS include:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Underlying lung disease
  • Bruising
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of oxygen in the blood
  • Unconsciousness
  • Swelling of the face, fingers, and feet

How Is It Treated?

Acute respiratory distress syndrome treatment is primarily performed in the hospital. Your doctor will closely monitor your breathing and blood oxygen levels. The treatment will also focus on reducing inflammation and congestion in the lungs. Other therapies include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Pain management

Some patients may undergo a lung transplant if their condition is serious. This can help prevent the lungs from failing to work properly. Lung transplantation is when a person with ARDS gets new lungs to replace the failing ones. The procedure is also used to help patients with severe lung disease.

The prognosis for ARDS will depend on the patient, type of symptoms and condition, and cause of ARDS.

How Long Do You Have to Stay in the Hospital?

Acute respiratory distress syndrome usually lasts for about a week. However, because several organs function together as a unit, it can last for 2-4 weeks. Some patients might be referred to long-term care facilities to further manage their lung problems.

What Is the Outlook Like for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome?

Most patients will recover from ARDS, but this can take months. ARDS is a condition that requires constant monitoring and therapy, and for this reason, it is crucial for patients to get proper care and encourage their family members to be part of the treatment. Many patients who recover from ARDS end up with chronic lung disease.

Complications can occur when you have ARDS and can cause irreversible lung damage. 

Can Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Be Prevented?

Because the causes of ARDS are different, there is no specific way to prevent ARDS. However, you can prevent other serious illnesses and injuries. You can reduce your chances of ARDS by getting vaccinations, eating a proper diet, practicing safe sex, and driving safely.


Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a serious lung condition that happens after a severe injury or exposure to infection. People of all ages and genders are at risk of ARDS. The condition does not discriminate, and it can affect anyone. 

Morristown Post Acute Rehabilitation & Nursing Center offers top-notch patient care and a variety of services including respiratory therapy, pulmonary disease, and COPD care, and rehabilitation services, among others. Contact us today to find out more about our services!