A patient's chest x-ray indicates acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The nurse understands that this condition results from


•ARDS is a complication caused by another condition such as sepsis or trauma. ARDS develops from inflammation and increased capillary permeability, leading to pulmonary edema, decreased surfactant production, and acidosis.

•Pulmonary edema, pulmonary hypertension, and severe acidosis are symptoms of ARDS and contribute to the disease process, but they do not cause ARDS.

•Pulmonary edema and decreased surfactant production increase the thickness of the alveolar-capillary space, increasing the distance oxygen must travel to reach the blood. This results in hypoxemia and acidosis.

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