Your doctor will diagnose ARDS based on your medical history, a physical exam, and test results.
Your doctor will ask whether you have or have recently had conditions that could lead to ARDS. For a list of these conditions, go to "Who Is at Risk for ARDS?"
Your doctor also will ask whether you have heart problems, such as heart failure. Heart failure can cause fluid to build up in your lungs.
ARDS may cause abnormal breathing sounds, such as crackling. Your doctor will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope to hear these sounds.
He or she also will listen to your heart and look for signs of extra fluid in other parts of your body. Extra fluid may mean you have heart or kidney problems.
Your doctor will look for a bluish color on your skin and lips. A bluish color means your blood has a low level of oxygen. This is a possible sign of ARDS.
You may have ARDS or another condition that causes similar symptoms. To find out, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following tests.
The first tests done are:
Other tests used to diagnose ARDS include:
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