Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) prevents sufficient amounts of oxygen from moving through the lungs and into the bloodstream, which creates a critical lack of oxygen in the body's organs. A potentially life-threatening condition, ARDS is the result of a buildup of fluids in the lung's alveoli, or tiny air sacs. This excess fluid is what prevents oxygen from reaching the bloodstream. The fluid buildup also may weigh down or stiffen the lungs, preventing them from expanding properly. The inability of the lungs to expand fully, combined with the lack of oxygen flow, makes it extremely difficult to breathe, even when assisted by a breathing machine or oxygen tank.
The failure of the kidneys, liver, or other organs often occurs in conjunction with ARDS. The condition may be caused by severe trauma or injury to the lungs; conditions such as pneumonia, septic shock, aspiration (when vomit is breathed into the lungs); or complications from a lung transplant. Acute alcoholism and a history of heavy smoking are additional risk factors. A similar condition, neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, occurs in infants whose lungs have not fully developed. In such cases there is a lack of surfactant, the substance that keeps the lungs air sacs from deflating. The condition in infants also can be life-threatening, but unlike with ARDS, treatments are available that improve the long-term outlook.
UAB Pulmonary Services is ranked among the best programs of its kind in the nation, and our physicians are consistently listed among the Best Doctors in America for respiratory disease. We serve patients at our main campus and also at our convenient neighborhood clinics in Hoover and Gardendale.
Most UAB Pulmonary Services doctors are triple-board-certified in internal medicine, critical care, and pulmonary medicine. They serve on national boards and specialty organizations, speak at national conferences, publish in scientific and medical journals, and conduct research that is recognized nationally and internationally. Our physicians are continually seeking new ways to treat lung disease and improve the care for patients.
UAB interventional pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons collaborate in treating lung cancer with less invasive procedures.
Medical Minute: Pulmonary & Thoracic Surgery
Hitesh Batra, MD, and Benjamin Wei, MD, discuss the collaborative relationship between UAB Medicine's interventional pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons and how less invasive treatments for lung nodules and lung cancer lead to faster recovery times.
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials
Celebrating Easter Safely During COVID-19
As Easter approaches, celebrating the holiday during a pandemic may seem more optimistic than last year, but community members should remain diligent in their efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Here are a few tips for celebrating Easter more safely this year:
Consult with your primary care physician for any concerns you have about the vaccine. The vaccines approved for use in the United States are intended to train the body to successfully fight the virus and minimize symptoms. There is still a possibility of contracting COVID-19 or infecting others even after vaccination.
UAB Medicine currently offers four vaccination sites across central Alabama. For more information appointment requests and eligibility, visit our COVID-19 vaccination website.
Wear a mask
Wear a mask securely over your nose and mouth, and make sure it fits snugly along the sides of your face. Mandates and guidelines for masking may vary by location, although the CDC still recommends wearing a mask in public indoor spaces and around those outside your household. There’s a health bonus, too: masking has been shown to reduce those pesky springtime allergies caused by various pollens in the air, according to a recent study.
If your place of worship offers an online or streaming service, consider tuning in to reduce the amount of in-person contact. Reach out to family, friends, or members of your congregation to see if there is a way to help them celebrate virtually. Instead of a traditional Easter egg hunt, coordinate with neighbors to place large, bright-colored paper eggs in their windows for neighbors to “hunt” while on a family walk.
If you still plan to hold or attend an in-person gathering, be sure there is ample space to spread out. Avoid poorly ventilated indoor spaces and buffet-style dining with shared serving utensils. Consider enjoying your Easter meal, or other activities and crafts, outside.
Wash Your Hands
Continue good hand hygiene before, during, and after meals and events. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse, backpack, or car for times when soap and water is not easily accessible.
If you or someone in your household is experiencing symptoms, or has recently been exposed to someone with COVID-19, cancel plans to gather with others and seek medical attention as necessary.
With the rollout of vaccine distribution across the United States, it is tempting to rush toward the light at the end of the tunnel. Continue taking precautions to protect yourself and those around you.