Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is an emergency
situation in which fluid buildup in the lungs causes breathing failure. Acute
respiratory distress syndrome occurs most often in people who are being treated
for another serious illness or injury, including infections, trauma, and
exposure to toxic chemicals.
Acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is also called adult
respiratory distress syndrome, develops rapidly. Symptoms of acute respiratory
distress syndrome include shortness of breath and rapid breathing. Blood tests
will show low amounts of oxygen in the blood (hypoxia). Admission to the
intensive care unit (ICU) is usually needed when a person has respiratory
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