What is the effect of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) on quality of life following recovery?

Updated: Mar 27, 2020
  • Author: Eloise M Harman, MD; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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In a study of 109 survivors of ARDS, 12 patients died in the first year. In 83 evaluable survivors, spirometry and lung volumes were normal at 6 months, but diffusing capacity remained mildly diminished (72%) at 1 year. [13] ARDS survivors had abnormal 6-minute walking distances at 1 year, and only 49% had returned to work. Their health-related quality of life was significantly below normal. However, no patient remained oxygen dependent at 12 months. Radiographic abnormalities had also completely resolved.

A study of this same group of patients 5 years after recovery from ARDS (9 additional patients had died and 64 were evaluated) showed continued exercise impairment and decreased quality of life related to both physical and neuropsychological factors. [14]

A study examining health-related quality of life (HRQL) after ARDS determined that ARDS survivors had poorer overall HRQL than the general population at 6 months after recovery. [15] This included lower scores in mobility, energy, and social isolation.

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