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January 23, 2019

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome claims over 40 lives in twin cities


January 23, 2019

Islamabad: Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) that has emerged as one of the most critical life-threatening conditions in winter has so far claimed well over 40 lives in various public and private sector hospitals in this region of the country.

Data collected by ‘The News’ on Tuesday has revealed that as many as 13 patients have so far died of the ARDS at only one of the public sector hospitals in the federal capital, at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences that received a total of 64 patients with the syndrome since December 1, 2018 to date.

There is a little awareness about Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome not only among general public but also a significant number of medical practitioners are even unaware of various aspects of the disease that is considered as the most devastating disease of lungs and critically ill patients are at the most risk of contracting it.

In most of the cases, the ARDS is diagnosed when a patient develops sudden respiratory failure within 24 to 72 hours with dangerously low oxygen content and massive secretions in the lungs, said Consultant Intensive Care Medicine at PIMS Dr. Muhammad Haroon while talking to ‘The News’ on Tuesday.

He said majority of like patients do not respond to conventional treatments and need mechanical ventilator supports in ICU setting and in delayed presentation to the ICU, health of these patients continue to deteriorate even after oxygen and other medications are given. The main complication of ARDS is that the fluid leaks into the lungs making breathing difficult and even impossible in many cases, he explained.

He said in most cases, the ARDS occurs when a patient has trauma to the lungs, directly or indirectly. The lives of patients who report timely after getting ARDS can be saved in ICU settings but delayed cases may not survive, he said.

He, however, added that unfortunately, most of the patients of ARDS are presented to the ICU settings with much delay when they have already entered the third stage, the end stage of the disease.

He added that the public sector hospitals in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi including PIMS, Polyclinic,

Holy Family Hospital, Benazir Bhutto Hospital and District Headquarters Hospital have been receiving significant number of patients with ARDS for the last two months.

PIMS ICU received 43 patients with ARDS in December while 21 in January and majority of patients of ARDS reported during this winter are the ones having flu, pneumonia, chest infections and other like ailments, said Dr. Haroon.

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