Welcome Message

The ATS Critical Care Assembly is happy to partner with the ARDS Foundation to sponsor ARDS Week at the ATS. The Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and the closely related condition called acute lung injury affect approximately 190,000 patients each year in the United States. Patients with ARDS have great difficulty breathing because their lungs become very inflamed, and the air sacs of the lungs become filled with fluid, inflammatory cells, and debris. Many ARDS patients require treatment in an intensive care unit with a mechanical ventilator life support system. ARDS can be caused by several different diseases, with pneumonia being most common. Other causes include severe infections in other parts of the body, severe trauma, and transfusion reactions. ARDS strikes all kinds of patients – young and old, men and women, healthy and chronically ill, and people of all races. Approximately 39% of ARDS patients die before discharge from the hospital. On the other hand, many patients who recover from ARDS return to good health and productive lives.

Members of the ATS Critical Care Assembly are world leaders in investigating the causes of ARDS and in developing new treatments to improve our patients’ chances for recovery. We have improved our techniques for using life-support systems and in our management of the circulation. We know now how to prevent many of the complications, such as internal bleeding and blood clots, which used to occur more frequently. In recent years we have come to understand that many survivors of ARDS suffer for months and years with muscle weakness, depression, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. Much research is currently underway to determine the causes of these problems and to try to prevent them from occurring in the hospital or to better manage them after hospital discharge.

Many patients and families know little or nothing about ARDS before it strikes them, and they struggle to understand what happened to them after recovery. The ARDS Foundation is an outstanding source of information for patients, families, and friends. The ATS is committed to its PAR partnership with the ARDS Foundation to ensure stakeholders see the enduring value of ongoing work and research related to ARDS and related disorders.


Roy Brower, MD          
Member, ATS Board of Directors
Program Committee, ATS Assembly on Critical Care

 Eileen Rubin

Eileen Rubin, JD
ARDS Foundation
Member, ATS Public Advisory Roundtable



The ARDS Foundation is a national not-for-profit organization of individuals who have been personally affected by ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). Its mission is to raise awareness, increase education, and assist in funding medical research while providing a forum for all of those in the ARDS community.


Disclaimer: "The ATS Lung Disease Week Web site is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for personal medical attention, a diagnosis from a physician, or direct medical care.  If you are concerned about your health or that of a family member, please consult your family's healthcare provider immediately. Do not wait for a response from our members, staff or partners."