The Epidemiology of Alcohol and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Part of the Respiratory Medicine book series (RM, volume 14)


The acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is defined by the acute onset of hypoxemic respiratory failure and alveolar infiltrates in the absence of an elevated left atrial pressure. ARDS is a common cause of admission to an intensive care unit with nearly 200,000 reported cases in the USA each year. Likewise, alcohol misuse, or consumption of alcohol in excess of recommended limits is common in the setting of critical illness and present in up to 40 % of patients admitted to an ICU. The epidemiologic evidence reviewed in this chapter demonstrates a clear association between alcohol misuse and common risk factors for ARDS, as well as an independent association between alcohol misuse and the development of ARDS. Furthermore, the presence of severe alcohol misuse is independently associated with poor outcomes in patients with established ARDS. The consistency of these findings and the translational studies that we review provide a compelling case that the association between alcohol misuse and poor outcomes in ARDS is causative.


Lung injury Pneumonia Oxidative stress Critical care 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care MedicineUniversity of Colorado DenverAuroraUSA

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