The Clinical Profile of Sepsis and the Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome

  • Kenneth L. Brigham
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 208)


Both sepsis syndrome and the adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are empirically defined clinical entities (Brigham, 1983; Bernard and Brigham, 1984). Definition of the syndromes, that is, the specific constellation of abnormalities which qualifies for the diagnosis, has evolved from clinical experience with little regard for etiology or for the spectrum of pathophysiology which may be present. Most definitions of sepsis syndrome include fever, tachycardia, tachypnea and evidence of failure of at least one organ (usually brain, lungs, liver or kidneys). ARDS is usually defined as non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema with refractory hypoxemia. The actual numbers for each of the variables used to define the syndromes vary. Although such empirical definitions might be expected to be nonspecific, including very heterogenous groups of patients, in practice that is not the case. For example, using several criteria for selecting patients with ARDS, different series from different parts of the United States appear to identify groups of patients with similar distributions of etiologies, similar mortality rates and similar clinical behavior (Brigham, 1985; Bernard and Brigham, 1985). The same appears to be true of sepsis syndrome.


Pulmonary Edema Acute Lung Injury Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome Chloramphenicol Acetyl Transferase Sepsis Syndrome 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth L. Brigham
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Lung Research and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care MedicineVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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