Many conditions or factors can directly or indirectly injure the lungs and lead to ARDS. Some common ones are:
- Sepsis. This is a condition in which bacteria infect the bloodstream.
- Pneumonia. This is an infection in the lungs.
- Severe bleeding caused by an injury to the body.
- An injury to the chest or head, like a severe blow.
- Breathing in harmful fumes or smoke.
- Inhaling vomited stomach contents from the mouth.
It's not clear why some very sick or seriously injured people develop ARDS and others don't. Researchers are trying to find out why ARDS develops and how to prevent it.