Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

ARDS or Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome is a severe respiratory disorder caused by liquid buildup in alveoli or small airbags in the lungs. The main symptom is shortness of heavy breath and difficulty breathing.

treatment for acute respiratory distress syndrome

ARDS is often caused by critical illness, such as sepsis or severe pneumonia. One of the causes of pneumonia that is currently being a pandemic is Corona (Covid-19) virus. According to many studies, some Covid-19 patients could experience ARDS in the course of their illness.

ARDS is an emergency that threatens the life of his sufferer, so it needs to get fast and precise handling.

Causes of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

ARDS is caused by alveoli damage due to perk liquid from capillary blood vessels in the lungs into the alveoli. Alveoli is an airbag in the lung which serves to channel oxygen into the blood and remove carbon dioxide from the blood.

In normal conditions, membranes that protect capillary blood vessels keep the liquid in the blood vessels. However, on Ards, injury or serious illness causes damage to the protective membrane, so that the liquid leaks to alveoli.

The accumulation of the liquid makes the lungs unable to charge the air so that the supply of oxygen to the bloodstream and the body decreases. The lack of oxygen supply will cause the cessation of organ functions, including the brain and kidneys. If left, this condition will threaten the lives of sufferers.

Some conditions and diseases that can cause ARDS are:

  • Sepsis
  • Injury on the head or chest, for example, due to collision or accident
  • Heavy pneumonia (lung infection)
  • Burns
  • Inhaling harmful substances, such as thick smoke or chemical steam
  • Choking or almost immersed conditions
  • Accept blood transfusions with a lot of blood volume
  • Pancreatitis

Risk factor acute respiratory distress syndrome

Several factors can increase the risk of a person affected by ARDS, including:

  • Over 65 years old
  • Have a smoking habit
  • Have addicted alcoholic drinks
  • Suffering from chronic lung disease
  • Suffering from genetic abnormalities
  • Having obesity
  • Experiencing overdose of certain drugs

Symptoms of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

ARDS symptoms can vary in each sufferer, depending on the causes, severity, and whether there are other diseases suffered, such as heart disease or lung disease.

Some symptoms and signs that can appear in ARDS sufferers are:

  • Short and fast breath
  • Hard to breathe
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • The body feels very tired
  • Excessive sweat
  • Lips or bluish nails (cyanosis)
  • Chest pain
  • Increased heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Confused

Diagnosis of acute respiratory distress syndrome

The doctor will ask about the symptoms and history of the patient's disease, followed by a physical examination. Physical examinations conducted include examination of vital signs, such as the rate or breathing frequency, blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and bluish color on the lips and nails, and physical examination of the chest wall.

To ensure the diagnosis and cause, the doctor will carry out some checks below:

  • Blood test, to measure oxygen levels in the blood (blood gas analysis) and examine the possibility of anemia or infection
  • Chest x-rays, to see the location and the amount of liquid buildup in the lungs, while detecting the possibility of heart enlargement
  • CT scan, to see the condition of the lungs and heart with a more detailed picture
  • Echocardiography (heart ultrasound), to assess the condition and heart structure and detect whether or not heart function disorders
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG), to see the activity of the heart electricity and get rid of the possibility of symptoms caused by heart disease
  • Culture or examination of phlegm samples, to determine bacteria or other microorganisms that cause infection
  • Biopsy of tissue sampling from the lungs, to get rid of the possibility of symptoms caused by lung disease other than ARDS

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Treatment

ARDS treatment aims to increase oxygen levels in the blood so that the patient's body's organs function normally and avoid organ failure. Another goal of the ARDS treatment is to relieve symptoms and prevent complications.

Some methods for overcoming Ards are:

  • Provide oxygen assistance through a nose or mask for patients with mild symptoms
  • Installing a breath and ventilator to help drain oxygen into the lungs
  • Fluid
  • Provide nutritional intake using the nasogastric hose that is installed through the nose
  • Provide antibiotic drugs to prevent and overcome infection
  • Give blood-thinning drugs to prevent blood clots in the legs and lungs
  • Provide pain reliever, drugs to reduce stomach acid, and drugs to relieve anxiety

For ARDS patients who are recovering, it is recommended to undergo lung rehabilitation. This action aims to strengthen the respiratory system and increase lung capacity.

Complications of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

ARDS sufferers can experience complications, both due to the Ards themselves and due to the side effects of their treatment. Some of these complications are:

  • DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) or blood clots in veins in the legs the limbs due to lying continuously
  • Pneumothorax or air accumulation in the pleural membrane generally occurs due to air pressure from the use of ventilators
  • Lung infection due to the entry of germs to the lungs through a breath aids
  • Lung fibrosis or the formation of scar tissue in the lungs which makes the lungs more difficult to supply oxygen to the blood

In addition to the above complications, ARDS sufferers who have recovered can experience long-term health problems, such as:

  • Respiratory disorders, such as short breath, so patients need oxygen assistance in the long run
  • Impaired thinking and memory due to brain damage
  • Weak and muscle atrophy due to too long is not used to move (in patients who have to lie long)
  • Depression

Prevention of acute respiratory distress syndrome

Several things can be done to reduce the risk of the occurrence of ARDS, namely:

  • Stop smoking and stay away from exposure to cigarette smoke
  • Stop consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Undergoing flu immunization every year and PCV immunization every 5 years to reduce the risk of lung infection

Thus the discussion of the acute respiratory distress syndrome, don't forget to always visit the Thumbs Health for the latest updates on health, lifestyle, and various types of diseases and their handling.