People at risk for ARDS have a condition or illness that can directly or indirectly injure their lungs.
Direct Lung Injury
Conditions that can directly injure the lungs include:
- Pneumonia. This is an infection in the lungs.
- Breathing in harmful fumes or smoke.
- Inhaling vomited stomach contents from the mouth.
- Using a ventilator. This is a machine that helps people breathe; rarely, it can injure the lungs.
- Nearly drowning.
Indirect Lung Injury
Conditions that can indirectly injure the lungs include:
- Sepsis. This is a condition in which bacteria infect the bloodstream.
- Severe bleeding caused by an injury to the body or having many blood transfusions.
- An injury to the chest or head, such as a severe blow.
- Pancreatitis (PAN-kre-a-TI-tis). This is a condition in which the pancreas becomes irritated or infected. The pancreas is a gland that releases enzymes and hormones.
- Fat embolism (EM-bo-lizm). This is a condition in which fat blocks an artery. A physical injury, like a broken bone, can lead to a fat embolism.
- Drug reaction.