Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is an important problem in critical care medicine because ARDS care is expensive, ARDS commonly affects young, previously healthy individuals, management is complex, and mortality is high. Indeed, management of the unstable, profoundly hypoxemic patient who has ARDS is one of the most challenging and potentially rewarding clinical scenarios we face in critical care medicine.
There are suggestions that the mortality of ARDS may be decreasing, yet large trials of innovative therapies continue to seek further improvements in outcome. It is not clear why mortality of ARDS may be decreasing, but some have proposed that comprehensive, organized intensive care is the reason.
We identified a great need for a comprehensive, clinically oriented handbook on ARDS to assist clinicians who manage patients with ARDS. We recognized that sound understanding of the pathophysiology and epidemiology of ARDS leads to improved clinical management. Furthermore, we have been stimulated by the challenge of balancing multiple competing aspects of our patients’ physiology when managing our own patients who have ARDS. So we decided to write and edit this textbook on ARDS for a clinical audience of students, residents, and attending physicians in critical care, respiratory medicine, anesthesiology, internal medicine, and surgery.
Why do we think this book will be a useful addition to your textbook collection? First, we are extremely proud of the outstanding group of internationally recognized authors who have written lucid chapters covering topics in their areas of expertise. Second, we have emphasized a sound understanding of epidemiology, molecular mechanisms, and whole organ pathophysiology as the basis for clinical care.