Postoperative acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a recognized complication of pulmonary resection. It is characterized by the acute onset of hypoxemia with radiographic infiltrates consistent with pulmonary edema, without elevations in the pulmonary capillary wedge pressure. Many studies suggest that around 2-5 % of patients develop some degree of lung injury, and the mortality from ARDS following pulmonary resection remains high. ARDS following thoracotomy and lung resection has a miserable prognosis, with overall hospital mortality rates over 25 %. The present review evaluates the evidence available in the literature tracking perioperative mortality and morbidity as well as the pathogenesis and management of ARDS in patients undergoing pulmonary resection.
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