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C. The Facts About Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Narrator: This is Science Today. Each year, about 150 thousand Americans are affected by severe and often fatal respiratory failure known as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome or ARDS. Michael Matthay of the University of California, San Francisco's Cardiovascular Research Institute, says ARDS is often associated with infection.

Matthay: And the two most common types of infection would be a primary pneumonia, so primary infection in the lungs or an infection which is developed somewhere else such as in the urinary system or maybe from a gall bladder problem.

Narrator: But there are other, non-infectious causes of ARDS.

Matthay: For example, patients who have had acute blood loss following automobile accidents. They are a risk because they've had a period of shock - low blood pressure. The period of low blood pressure and then the subsequent transfusions, places them at risk of having secondary swelling of the lungs and fluid formation.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.