Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is the sudden failure of the respiratory (breathing) system. It can develop in anyone over the age of 1 who is critically ill. A person with ARDS has rapid breathing, difficulty getting enough air into the lungs and low blood oxygen levels. ARDS usually develops in people who are already very ill with another disease or who have major injuries and can be life-threatening because the body’s organs require oxygen-rich blood to function. Because of improved medical treatment in recent years, more people are surviving ARDS.

 

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