Clinical risks for development of the acute respiratory distress syndrome

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1995 Feb;151(2 Pt 1):293-301. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.151.2.7842182.


To further understanding of the epidemiology of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), we prospectively identified 695 patients admitted to our intensive care units from 1983 through 1985 meeting criteria for seven clinical risks, and followed them for development of ARDS and eventual outcome. ARDS occurred in 179 of the 695 patients (26%). The highest incidence of ARDS occurred in patients with sepsis syndrome (75 of 176; 43%) and those with multiple emergency transfusions (> or = 15 units in 24 h) (46 of 115; 40%). Of patients with multiple trauma, 69 of 271 (25%) developed ARDS. If any two clinical risks for trauma were present, the incidence of ARDS was 23 of 57, or 40%. During the study period, we identified 48 patients with ARDS who did not have one of the defined clinical risks, yielding a sensitivity of 79% (179 of 227). Secondary factors associated with increased risk for ARDS in clinical risk subgroups include an elevated Acute Physiologic and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score in patients with sepsis and increased APACHE II and Injury Severity Scores (ISS) in trauma victims. Mortality was threefold higher when ARDS was present (62%) than among patients with clinical risks who did not develop ARDS (19%; p < 0.05). The difference in mortality if ARDS developed was particularly striking in patients with trauma (56% versus 13%), but less in those with sepsis (69% versus 49%). The mortality data should be interpreted with caution, since the fatality rate in ARDS patients appears to have decreased in our institution from the time that these data were collected.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / etiology
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / mortality
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / complications
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications