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NCLEX Review on ARDS

Hello everyone today we will be talking about Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

An Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) what occurs is that there is fluid that builds up in the tiny, elastic air sacs called (alveoli) in your lungs.

And what occurs is that the fluid keeps your lungs from filling with enough air, which means less oxygen reaches your bloodstream.

And in turn this deprives your organs of the oxygen they need to function.

Now understand that ARDS typically occurs in people who are already critically ill or who have significant injuries.

Now lets look at a few of the symptoms

NCLEX Review Notes on ARDS


The signs and symptoms of ARDS can vary in intensity and basically depending on the cause and severity:

So the patient would be hypoxic and would show signs of
Severe shortness of breath
Labored and rapid breathing
and there would be
– Presence of crackles or (rhonci)
when we assess the patient

The patient would also have a Low blood pressure
and also be somewhat lethargic and confused


Lets look at a few of the Complications with ARDS

If you have ARDS, you can develop other medical problems while in the hospital. The most common problems are:

Blood clots. This is very dangerous because it can cause a (pulmonary embolism).
Collapsed lung (pneumothorax). there fore In most ARDS cases, a ventilator is used to increase oxygenation.
Infections. Because the ventilator is attached directly to a tube inserted in your windpipe, this makes it much easier for germs to infect and further injure your lungs.

There’s no specific test to identify ARDS. The diagnosis is based on the physical exam, chest X-ray and oxygen levels.

– Diagnosed through the X- Ray (Ground Glass) Appearance within the lungs and this is due to the fluid buildup.

– A noncardiogenic Pulmonary Edema.
excess fluid in the lungs

Lab tests

The lab test will also show a decrease in the oxygen level throughout the body.


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

NCLEX Review


So there are various ways that we can give supplemental oxygen
and that includes Mechanical ventilation.
The mechanical ventilator pushes air into your lungs and forces some of the fluid out of the air sacs.

The common Mechanical Ventillation includes PEEP or positive end-expiratory pressure.
basically its A method of ventilation in which airway pressure is maintained above atmospheric pressure

Another method is the CPAP or Continuous positive airway pressure
Now with CPAP, it basically applies mild air pressure on a continuous basis to keep the airways continuously open.


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