Acute respiratory distress syndrome ARDS occurs when fluid builds up in the alveoli. These tiny elastics sacs, which are responsible for gaseous exchange in the lungs, then cannot fill with sufficient amounts of hair. This causes less oxygen to reach the bloodstream and starve organs of the oxygen they require.
This condition typically develops in persons who are in the hospital retrieving treatment for other illnesses or injuries. The main complaint from ARDS patients is severe shortness of breath. This symptom generally develops in just a few hours or days after the causative illness.
According to The National Institutes of Health, around 200,000 people develop ARDS each year in the US. Of those who develop the condition, about 74,000 do not survive.
Normally, the fluid that is leaked into the alveoli is prevented from doing so via a protective membrane. This membrane can be damaged following a serious illness or injury. Some known causes of ARDS include sepsis, severe pneumonia, pancreatitis, or major injury to the head or chest.
Current diagnostic tools for the illness are correct only about 18% of the time. These methods rely on x-rays and blood tests. These are not ideal because, in addition to being largely inaccurate, they are invasive or require exposure to radiation.
New technology, designed at the University of Michigan, promises and incredibly improved accuracy at about 90%. This portable technology is roughly the size of a shoebox and requires only about 30 minutes to deliver a highly accurate result.
In addition to being fast, portable, and accurate the device is fully automated. It can, therefore, be widely implemented for diagnosis and disease monitoring.
Not only can the device alert providers to the condition, but it can also determine how advanced the condition is. It does this by using gas chromatography to analyze nearly 100 molecules in a patient's breath. This means not only can it be used to diagnose the disease, but to monitor the progress of treatment once implemented.
The above video describes the condition as well as risk factors and current diagnostic procedures.