Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in Cancer Patients

  • Alisha Y. Young
  • Vickie R. ShannonEmail author
Reference work entry


Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a heterogeneous form of acute, diffuse lung injury that is characterized by dysregulated inflammation, increased alveolar-capillary interface permeability, and non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema. In the general population, the incidence and mortality associated with ARDS over the last two decades have steadily declined in parallel with optimized approaches to pneumonia and other underlying causes of ARDS as well as increased utilization of multimodal treatment strategies that include lung-protective ventilation. In the cancer settings, significant declines in the incidence and mortality of ARDS over the past two decades have also been reported, although these rates remain significantly higher than those in the general population. Epidemiologic studies identify infection, including disseminated fungal pneumonias, as a major underlying cause of ARDS in the cancer setting. More than half of cancer patients who develop ARDS will not survive to hospital discharge. Those who do survive often face a protracted and often incomplete recovery, resulting in significant long-term physical, psychological, and cognitive sequelae. The residual organ dysfunction and poor functional status after ARDS may delay or preclude subsequent cancer treatments. As such, close collaboration between the critical care physicians and oncology team is essential in identifying and reversing the underlying causes and optimizing treatments for cancer patients with ARDS. This chapter reviews the diagnosis and common causes of ARDS in cancer and gives an update on the general management principles for cancer patients with ARDS in the ICU.


Acute respiratory distress syndrome Malignancy Pulmonary Lung injury Pneumonia Mechanic ventilation Intensive care unit 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pulmonary MedicineUniversity of Texas at McGovern Medical SchoolHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Division of Internal MedicineThe University of Texas at MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Yenny Cardenas
    • 1
  1. 1.Critical Care DepartmentUniversidad del Rosario Hospital Universitario Fundacion Santa Fe deBogotaColombia

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