DATA SOURCES: The National Library of Medicine MEDLINE database was used, along with the bibliographies of selected articles and textbooks commonly found in chiropractic college libraries and bookstores.
STUDY SELECTION: Clinical studies from the English literature were selected if they pertained to incidence, clinical relevancy, or the association of ARDS with commonly-seen diagnoses in chiropractic neuromusculoskeletal or orthopedic practice.
DATA EXTRACTION: All relevant studies identified by the search were evaluated based on information pertinent to chiropractic management of acute care patients.
RESULTS: ARDS is a pulmonary distress syndrome with a high mortality rate. Recognizable indications for the possible development of ARDS include chest pain, head injury, and thoracic spine pain with or without trauma. Clinical evaluation, radiographic findings, and laboratory findings are presented to assist practitioners in identifying this disease process of multiple etiology. A study of the basic pathophysiologic processes that occur in the formation of ARDS is presented to help practitioners gain clinical appreciation. Strategies for preventing respiratory distress in chiropractic patients are also presented and include use of the postural position and the clinical maxim of "slow, deep breathing despite pain" to lessen incident rates of subjects at risk.
CONCLUSION: Although ARDS may not be prevalent in chiropractic practice, it is important for physicians to be aware of the clinical basics (including its pathophysiology), its medical significance, and the preventive strategies that may be used to minimize its occurrence. This basic understanding will further advance knowledge of this disease complex.
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