Brain atrophy and cognitive impairment in survivors of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Brain Inj. 2006 Mar;20(3):263-71. doi: 10.1080/02699050500488199.


Primary objectives: Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is characterized by severe acute lung injury, hypoxemia and is associated with neurological and cognitive impairments. This study assessed quantitative brain and ventricular volumes in survivors of ARDS with brain computed tomography (CT) scans compared to normal controls. It also compared the medical and cognitive outcome data of patients with ARDS with and without CT scans.

Research design: Observational cohort study.

Methods: Sixty-six consecutive acute respiratory distress patients, of which 15 patients with ARDS underwent brain CT and 51 patients had no brain imaging. Brain CT scans from 15 survivors of ARDS were compared to age- and sex-matched normal controls. Clinical radiological findings and ventricular volumes, brain volume and generalized brain atrophy.

Results: The patients with ARDS and brain imaging had cognitive impairments, significant brain atrophy, ventricular enlargement and 53% had atrophy or lesions by radiological report.

Conclusions: Clinicians need to be aware that ARDS can cause significant long-term brain-related morbidity manifest by brain atrophy, lesions and neurocognitive impairments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Atrophy / diagnostic imaging
  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / complications*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / psychology
  • Survivors / psychology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed