chapter  4
The acute respiratory distress syndrome
ByMark Ehlers
Pages 14

The acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and acute

lung injury (ALI) are syndromes that commonly affect

intensive care patients. Initially termed the adult respiratory

distress syndrome, because it was thought to only occur in

adults, it has now been renamed the acute respiratory dis-

tress syndrome, as it does also occur in children. Despite

recent important advances in management and our under-

standing of its pathophysiology, ARDS still carries a high

mortality. This chapter outlines the definition, epidemi-

ology, pathophysiology and clinical presentation of this

disease complex as well as discussing current treatment

modalities, both conventional and alternative.