Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Respiratory Distress Syndrome Overview

Another name for Respiratory Distress Syndrome is Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome.

What is adult respiratory distress syndrome?
A person with adult respiratory distress syndrome has severe damage to the lungs that causes fluid to build up in the lung tissue. The fluid prevents the lungs from transferring oxygen into the bloodstream.

What are the symptoms of adult respiratory distress syndrome?
The most common symptoms of adult respiratory distress syndrome are cough, worsening shortness of breath, and rapid breathing. During each breath, the nostrils may open widely, and the ribs and neck muscles become more visible beneath the skin. Low oxygen levels in the bloodstream may cause the lips or nailbeds to turn blue.

How does the doctor treat adult respiratory distress syndrome?
Treatment for adult respiratory distress syndrome includes oxygen therapy, antibiotics, corticosteroid medications, and mechanical ventilation.

Continue to Respiratory Distress Syndrome Symptoms

Last Updated: Nov 9, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Respiratory Distress Syndrome References
  1. Ashbaugh DG, Bigelow DB, Petty TL: Acute respiratory distress in adults. Lancet 1967 Aug 12; 2(7511): 319-23. [4143721]
  2. Bernard GR, Artigas A, Brigham KL: The American-European Consensus Conference on ARDS. Definitions, mechanisms, relevant outcomes, and clinical trial coordination. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1994 Mar; 149(3 Pt 1): 818-24. [7509706]
  3. Booth CM, Stewart TE. Severe acute respiratory syndrome and critical care medicine: the Toronto experience. Crit Care Med. 2005 Jan;33(1 Suppl):S53-60. [15640680]
  4. Ketai LH, Godwin JD: A new view of pulmonary edema and acute respiratory distress syndrome. J Thorac Imaging 1998 Jul; 13(3): 147-71. [9671417]
  5. Lionetti V, Recchia FA, Ranieri VM. Overview of ventilator-induced lung injury mechanisms. Curr Opin Crit Care. 2005 Feb;11(1):82-6. [15659950]
  6. Mendez JL, Hubmayr RD. New insights into the pathology of acute respiratory failure. Curr Opin Crit Care. 2005 Feb;11(1):29-36. [15659942]
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