Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)


Systemic insults

  • Trauma, sepsis, shock, burns
  • Pancreatitis
  • Multiple transfusions
  • DIC, TTP
  • Drugs: opioids, aspirin, phenothiazines, tricyclic antidepressants, amiodarone, chemotherapeutics, nitrofurantoin, protamine
  • Cardiopulmonary bypass
  • Head injury
  • Paraquat
Pulmonary insults
  • Aspiration of gastric contents
  • Embolism of thrombus, fat, air, or amniotic fluid
  • Miliary tuberculosis
  • Diffuse pneumonia
  • Acute eosinophilic pneumonia
  • Bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (BOOP)
  • Upper airway obstruction
  • Freebase cocaine smoking
  • Near-drowning
  • Toxic gas inhalation: nitrogen dioxide, chlorine, sulfur dioxide, ammonia, smoke inhalation
  • Oxygen toxicity
  • Lung contusion
  • Radiation
  • High altitude exposure
  • Lung re-expansion or reperfusion


  • Cardiogenic (hydrostatic) pulmonary edema
  • Pneumonia
  • Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage
  • Bronchiolitis obliterans with organizing pneumonia (BOOP)

See related DDx

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a sample topic from the Diagnosaurus.

To view other topics, please or .

Medicine Central™ is a quick-consult mobile and web resource that includes diagnosis, treatment, medications, and follow-up information on over 700 diseases and disorders, providing fast answers—anytime, anywhere. .