Nursing Diagnosis for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening lung condition that prevents enough oxygen from getting to the lungs and into the blood. Clinically, it is characterized by dyspnea, profound hypoxemia, decreased lung compliance, and diffuse bilateral infiltrates on chest radiography. Provision of supplemental oxygen, lung rest, and supportive care are the fundamentals of therapy.

ARDS usually develops in people who are already very ill with another disease or who have major injuries.

Common causes include:
  • Breathing vomit into the lungs (aspiration)
  • Inhaling chemicals
  • Lung transplant
  • Pneumonia
  • Septic shock (infection throughout the body)
  • Trauma

Risk factors
  • Smoke inhalation
  • Burns
  • Near drowning
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Eclampsia
  • Amniotic fluid embolus
  • Drugs - paraquat, heroin, aspirin
  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)
  • Head injury/raised intracranial pressure (ICP)
  • Fat emboli
  • Transfusions of blood products
  • Heart/lung bypass
  • Tumour lysis syndrome
  • Pulmonary contusion

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Low blood pressure and organ failure
  • Rapid breathing
  • Shortness of breath
Symptoms usually develop within 24 to 48 hours of the injury or illness. Often, people with ARDS are so sick they cannot complain of symptoms.

Nursing Diagnosis for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
  1. Ineffective breathing pattern
  2. Impaired Gas Exchange
  3. Ineffective airway clearance
  4. Decreased Cardiac Output
  5. Risk for Injury
  6. Excess Fluid Volume
  7. Impaired Verbal Communication
  8. Impaired Physical Mobility
  9. Impaired Skin Integrity
  10. Sleep Pattern Disturbance
  11. Ineffective Coping

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