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July 16, 2003


Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington, Seattle. Corresponding Author: Gordon D. Rubenfeld, MD, MSc, Box 359762, Harborview Medical Center, 325 Ninth Ave, Seattle WA 98104-2499 (e-mail: nodrog@u.washington.edu).

JAMA. 2003;290(3):397-399. doi:10.1001/jama.290.3.397-a

A43-year-old woman with no prior medical history presents to an emergency department with cough and fever and is treated for bronchitis. She returns 3 days later with dyspnea and a chest radiograph reveals bilateral lower lobe opacities. Progressive respiratory failure leads to hospital admission and ultimately to intubation and mechanical ventilation. For intensivists around the world, this scenerio is not an uncommon presentation for patients diagnosed with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The only difference is that this patient with ARDS has the additional history that she "recently returned from a trip to Hong Kong China" and therefore has severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).