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Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (cont.)

Medications for ARDS

The following drugs may be administered:

  • Antibiotics to treat infection
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as corticosteroids, to reduce inflammation in the lungs in the late phase of ARDS or sometimes if the person is in septic shock
  • Diuretics to eliminate fluid from the lungs
  • Drugs to counteract low blood pressure that may be caused by shock
  • Anti-anxiety drugs to relieve anxiety
  • Inhaled drugs administered by respiratory therapists to open up the airways (bronchodilators)

ARDS Follow-up

Patients with ARDS may require a prolonged period of rehabilitation for both respiratory problems and muscle weakness. After discharge from the hospital, the person should follow-up with his or her healthcare provider for a lung function assessment.

Prevention of ARDS

Because aspiration is a risk factor for ARDS, taking appropriate measures to prevent aspiration, such as elevation of the head of the bed, may prevent some cases of ARDS.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/4/2016
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome »

Since World War I, it has been recognized that some patients with nonthoracic injuries, severe pancreatitis, massive transfusion, sepsis, and other conditions may develop respiratory distress, diffuse lung infiltrates, and respiratory failure sometimes after a delay of hours to days.

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