Acute Respiratory Failure

  • Lawrence J. Caruso
  • T. James Gallagher


Ashbaugh et al. first described the adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in 1967 (1). At that time they characterized a group of patients with a constellation of symptoms and signs that included dyspnea, tachypnea, refractory hypoxemia, poor pulmonary compliance and diffuse, bilateral, alveolar infiltration on chest radiograph. Subsequent studies reported inconsistent criteria to define the disorder, making it difficult to study the epidemiology and assess the effectiveness of new therapeutic approaches. To this end, the American-European Consensus Conference on ARDS recommended the following definitions: acute lung injury is a syndrome of acute respiratory failure with a partial pressure of oxygen/inspired oxygen concentration (PaO2/FiO2) ratio ≤300, bilateral infiltrates on chest x-ray, and no evidence of left atrial hypertension (pulmonary artery occlusion pressure ≤18); ARDS is a severe form of acute lung injury defined as a PaO2/FiO2 ratio ≤200. Neither definition estimates the severity of the disease process based on the level of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) necessary to establish acceptable oxygenation. More recently, the term “acute” replaced “adult” to reflect both the acuity and the occurrence in children (2).


Lung Injury Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Tidal Volume Respiratory Distress Syndrome Acute Lung Injury 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence J. Caruso
    • 1
  • T. James Gallagher
    • 1
  1. 1.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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