What activity restrictions are used in the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)?

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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Patients with ARDS are on bed rest. Frequent position changes should be started immediately, as should passive—and, if possible, active—range-of-motion activities of all muscle groups. Elevation of the head of the bed to a 45° angle is recommended to diminish the development of VAP. Recently, increased interest in minimizing sedation and earlier ambulation has been proposed. Such approaches are associated with less posttraumatic stress disorder in survivors and was the preferred approach by patients’ families. If at all possible, use of minimal sedation, sedation holidays, and more ambulation appear to be the goals of management once severe cardiovascular insufficiency, if present, has resolved.

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