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Age Affects Lung Disorder

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome is a severe injury to most or all of both lungs. Patients with ARDS have severe shortness of breath and often are on life support. //A new study finds the age of a patient affects his chance of developing ARDS after a trauma.

ARDS is not a specific disease; instead, it is a lung dysfunction that is associated with a number of diseases including pneumonia, shock, sepsis and trauma. Researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine conducted a study to determine the role age plays in the development of ARDS after a trauma.

More than 4,000 trauma patients over age 12 were included in the study. Of these patients, 484, or 12 percent, developed ARDS. Researchers analyzed the age of the patients to determine if it is associated with the risk of developing ARDS.

Researchers say patients who developed ARDS were, on average, older and had more severe injuries, but they found a complex relationship between age and the development of ARDS. They say older patients up to 69 years old are at a higher risk for ARDS, but the risk declines after that. They say patients between 60 and 69 were at greatest risk of developing ARDS. However, patients over 80 had the same risk of developing ARDS as teenagers.

Study authors say since older patients are at a higher risk for ARDS, they should be included in clinical trials aimed at reducing the incidence of ARDS. They also add, as our population ages, the association between age and the development of ARDS could become of greater importance and should be studied in future clinical trials.

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