ARDS in children

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What is ARDS in children?

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) occurs in children, so the “A” was changed from adult to acute . It is a common cause of respiratory failure at all ages. ARDS is a diffuse pulmonary process that develops after lung injury. Some causes of ARDS that are treated in EDs include sepsis, hypotension, pneumonia, aspiration of gastric contents, smoke or other inhalation injury, near drowning, and chest trauma with pulmonary contusion. Chest radiographs may show diffuse, bilateral infiltrates that resemble left-sided congestive heart failure, but left atrial pressures must be normal for the diagnosis of ARDS. The diagnostic criteria for ARDS are as follows:

  • • Acute onset
  • • Severe hypoxemia (P o < 200 mm Hg regardless of fraction of inspired oxygen and positive end-expiratory pressure)
  • • Diffuse bilateral infiltrates on chest radiography
  • • Normal left atrial pressure


Bernard GR: Acute respiratory distress syndrome: A historical perspective. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2005;172:798.


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