What should be the focus of the physical exam in a septic patient with suspected 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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Answer

In a septic patient without an obvious source, pay careful attention during the physical examination to identify potential causes of sepsis, including signs of lung consolidation or findings consistent with an acute abdomen. Carefully examine sites of intravascular lines, surgical wounds, drain sites, and decubitus ulcers for evidence of infection. Check for subcutaneous air, a manifestation of infection or barotrauma.


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