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Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)


Systemic insults

  • Trauma, sepsis, shock, burns
  • Pancreatitis
  • Multiple transfusions
  • DIC, TTP
  • Drugs: opioids, aspirin, phenothiazines, tricyclic antidepressants, amiodarone, chemotherapeutics, nitrofurantoin, protamine
  • Cardiopulmonary bypass
  • Head injury
  • Paraquat
Pulmonary insults
  • Aspiration of gastric contents
  • Embolism of thrombus, fat, air, or amniotic fluid
  • Miliary tuberculosis
  • Diffuse pneumonia
  • Acute eosinophilic pneumonia
  • Bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (BOOP)
  • Upper airway obstruction
  • Freebase cocaine smoking
  • Near-drowning
  • Toxic gas inhalation: nitrogen dioxide, chlorine, sulfur dioxide, ammonia, smoke inhalation
  • Oxygen toxicity
  • Lung contusion
  • Radiation
  • High altitude exposure
  • Lung re-expansion or reperfusion


  • Cardiogenic (hydrostatic) pulmonary edema
  • Pneumonia
  • Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage
  • Bronchiolitis obliterans with organizing pneumonia (BOOP)

See related DDx

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Last updated: December 1, 2014


Zeiger, Roni F.. "Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)." Diagnosaurus, 4th ed., McGraw-Hill Education, 2014. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/Diagnosaurus/114775/all/Acute_respiratory_distress_syndrome__ARDS_.
Zeiger RF. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Diagnosaurus. 4th ed. McGraw-Hill Education; 2014. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/Diagnosaurus/114775/all/Acute_respiratory_distress_syndrome__ARDS_. Accessed April 20, 2019.
Zeiger, R. F. (2014). Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). In Diagnosaurus. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/Diagnosaurus/114775/all/Acute_respiratory_distress_syndrome__ARDS_
Zeiger RF. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) [Internet]. In: Diagnosaurus. McGraw-Hill Education; 2014. [cited 2019 April 20]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/Diagnosaurus/114775/all/Acute_respiratory_distress_syndrome__ARDS_.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) ID - 114775 A1 - Zeiger,Roni F, Y1 - 2014/12/01/ BT - Diagnosaurus UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/Diagnosaurus/114775/all/Acute_respiratory_distress_syndrome__ARDS_ PB - McGraw-Hill Education ET - 4 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -