What sets ARDS apart from other lung diseases are four criteria established by the ARDS Definition Task Force. First is the presentation of an acute onset within one week of a known injury or a respiratory condition that has worsened; next is the radiologic presentation of the lungs that show opacity that is not caused by an effusion or collapse; third is the presence of pulmonary edema that is non-cardiac or fluid overload in origin; finally a ratio of partial pressure of arterial oxygen to fraction of inspired oxygen (PaO2/FiO2) of 200 or less (Rubenfeld ,2012).
With the definition, criteria and pathophysiology established, the following is a depiction of a patient that has ARDS. As a starting point, an initial event must have occurred where insult to the lungs (such as infection and inhalation of noxious substances) or other major injuries or physical stressors was exhibited. From that initial point, the patient experiences difficulty breathing as exhibited by shortness of breath that is worse on exertion, tiredness, fast rate of breathing, shallow breaths, use of accessory muscles and nasal flaring. If the patient has a history of respiratory disease such as asthma or COPD, they will...
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...s the efforts of decreasing pulmonary edema and undoing the problems in exchange of oxygen in the alveolocapillary level in the lungs. It is also important to note that initially, the patient is in an alkalotic state due to the hyperventilation, but as the condition worsens, there is a transition to acidosis due to the increased presence of carbon dioxide retained in the blood and tissues.
Further decline and worsening of this trend affects other systems in the body such as the brain, where hypoxemia and hypercapnia results in severe alteration in mental status; the endocrine system will release more stress hormones in response to the ongoing distress; the cardiac system will also be overworked through increased rate and force of beats. If uncorrected by the interventions, failure of many of the body’s systems and organ failures will result, ultimately causing death.
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