Overview Of Shock Lung
Shock Lung is synonymous with the term Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening lung condition that prevents enough oxygen from getting to the lungs and into the blood. Infants can also have respiratory distress syndrome.
Commonly Associated With
Noncardiogenic pulmonary edema; Increased-permeability pulmonary edema; ARDS; Acute lung injury
Causes Of Shock Lung
ARDS can be caused by any major direct or indirect injury to the lung.
Common causes include:
- Breathing vomit into the lungs (aspiration)
- Inhaling chemicals
- Lung transplant
- Septic shock (infection throughout the body)
Depending on the amount of oxygen in the blood and during breathing, the severity of ARDS is classified as:
ARDS leads to a buildup of fluid in the air sacs (alveoli). This fluid prevents enough oxygen from passing into the bloodstream.
The fluid buildup also makes the lungs heavy and stiff. This decreases the lungs’ ability to expand. The level of oxygen in the blood can stay dangerously low, even if the person receives oxygen from a breathing machine (ventilator) through a breathing tube (endotracheal tube).
ARDS often occurs along with the failure of other organ systems, such as the liver or kidneys. Cigarette smoking and heavy alcohol use may be risk factors for its development.
Symptoms Of Shock Lung
Symptoms usually develop within 24 to 48 hours of the injury or illness. Often, people with ARDS are so sick they cannot complain of symptoms.
Symptoms can include any of the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Fast heartbeat
- Low blood pressure and organ failure
- Rapid breathing
Exams & Tests
Listening to the chest with a stethoscope (auscultation) reveals abnormal breath sounds, such as crackles, which may be signs of fluid in the lungs. Often, blood pressure is low. Cyanosis (blue skin, lips, and nails caused by lack of oxygen to the tissues) is often seen.
Tests used to diagnose ARDS include:
- Arterial blood gas
- Blood tests, including CBC (complete blood count) and blood chemistries
- Blood and urine cultures
- Bronchoscopy in some people
- Chest x-ray or CT scan
- Sputum cultures and analysis
- Tests for possible infections
An echocardiogram may be needed to rule out heart failure, which can look similar to ARDS on a chest x-ray.
Treatment Of Shock Lung
ARDS often needs to be treated in an intensive care unit (ICU).
The goal of treatment is to provide breathing support and treat the cause of ARDS. This may involve medicines to treat infections, reduce inflammation, and remove fluid from the lungs.
A ventilator is used to deliver high doses of oxygen and positive pressure to the damaged lungs. People often need to be deeply sedated with medicines. During treatment, health care providers make every effort to protect the lungs from further damage. Treatment is mainly supportive until the lungs recover.
Sometimes, a treatment called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is done. During ECMO, blood is filtered through a machine to provide oxygen and remove carbon dioxide.