Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (cont.)
Exams and Tests for ARDS
- Arterial blood gas analysis reveals hypoxemia (reduced levels of oxygen in the blood).
- A complete blood count may be taken. The number of white blood cells is increased in sepsis.
- Chest X-ray will show the presence of fluid in the lungs.
- CT scan of the chest may be required only in some situations (routine chest X-ray is sufficient in most cases).
- Echocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart) may help exclude any heart problems that can cause fluid build-up in the lung.
- Monitoring with a pulmonary artery catheter may be done to exclude a cardiac cause for the difficulty in breathing.
- Bronchoscopy (a procedure used to look inside the windpipe and large airways of the lung) may be considered to evaluate the possibility of lung infection.
- Persons with ARDS are hospitalized and require treatment in an intensive care unit.
- No specific therapy for ARDS exists.
- Treatment is primarily supportive using a mechanical respirator and supplemental oxygen.
- Intravenous fluids are given to provide nutrition and prevent dehydration, and are carefully monitored to prevent fluid from accumulating in the lungs (pulmonary edema).
- Because infection is often the underlying cause of ARDS, appropriate antibiotic therapy is administered.
- Corticosteroids may sometimes be administered in ARDS or if the patient is in shock, but their use is controversial.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/30/2014
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