Treatment

The first goal in treating ARDS is to improve the levels of oxygen in your blood. Without oxygen, your organs can't function properly.

Oxygen

To get more oxygen into your bloodstream, your doctor will likely use:

  • Supplemental oxygen. For milder symptoms or as a temporary measure, oxygen may be delivered through a mask that fits tightly over your nose and mouth.
  • Mechanical ventilation. Most people with ARDS will need the help of a machine to breathe. A mechanical ventilator pushes air into your lungs and forces some of the fluid out of the air sacs.

Fluids

Carefully managing the amount of intravenous fluids is crucial. Too much fluid can increase fluid buildup in the lungs. Too little fluid can put a strain on your heart and other organs and lead to shock.

Medication

People with ARDS usually are given medication to:

  • Prevent and treat infections
  • Relieve pain and discomfort
  • Prevent blood clots in the legs and lungs
  • Minimize gastric reflux
  • Sedate
May 09, 2017
References
  1. What is ARDS? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ards/#. Accessed Jan. 26, 2017.
  2. Goldman L, et al., eds. Acute respiratory failure. In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 26, 2017.
  3. Ferri FF. Acute respiratory distress syndrome. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 26, 2017.
  4. Siegel MD. Acute respiratory distress syndrome: Prognosis and outcomes in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 26, 2017.
  5. Mason RJ, et al. Acute hypoxemic respiratory failure and ARDS. In: Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 26, 2017.
  6. AskMayoExpert. Acute respiratory distress syndrome. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  7. Siegel MD. Acute respiratory distress syndrome: Clinical features and diagnosis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 26, 2017.
  8. Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.