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August 23, 1976

What's in the Cards for ARDS?

JAMA. 1976;236(8):960. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270090054036

A late arrival to receive due recognition as a catastrophic aftermath of shock and shock-like states, the adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is now receiving the kind of attention that had previously been accorded to acute tubular necrosis and disseminated intravascular coagulopathy—the two other cataclysmic complications with which it shares a number of characteristics.

Like the renal and the coagulation disorders, the pulmonary syndrome has gone—in fact, is still going—through labor pains of terminology. Not to be outdone by the "crush-kidney," "low nephron nephrosis," "vasomotor nephropathy," and others of the former and the "defibrination syndrome," "consumption coagulopathy," and others of the latter, ARDS sports many synonyms of its own—"shock lung," "wet lung," "DaNang lung," "pump lung"—that are vying for acceptance.

More important than the terminologic similarity is that of prognosis. It is nearly hopeless in all three disorders, if they are left untreated. Only after scrupulous application of the therapeutic