Pediatric Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

Pediatric Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

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Summary

Pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) occurs when fluid fills the lungs due to an infection or injury. This prevents air from filling the lungs effectively and deprives the body of oxygen.

Expanded overview

ARDS most often affects children who are already hospitalized, causing their lungs to become inflamed and fill with fluid. This makes them stiff and unable to properly expand when breathing. Oxygen levels will drop in the bloodstream and compromise the health of other organs. Patients will need a ventilator to breath for them and allow the lungs to heal.

Causes

A direct or indirect source can cause this life-threatening condition.

Direct

  • Breathing harmful fumes or smoke
  • Chest trauma
  • Inhaling vomit (aspiration)
  • Near drowning
  • Pneumonia

Indirect

  • Blood transfusions
  • Injury that causes low blood pressure
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Severe and widespread bacterial infection (sepsis)

Symptoms

Symptoms of pediatric acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) include:

  • Abdominal pain (in pancreatitis)
  • Cough (often with white or pink frothy sputum)
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath

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