What are the histologic changes associated with 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...
  • Print
Answer

The histologic changes in ARDS are those of diffuse alveolar damage. An exudative phase occurs in the first several days and is characterized by interstitial edema, alveolar hemorrhage and edema, alveolar collapse, pulmonary capillary congestion, and hyaline membrane formation (see the image below). These histologic changes are nonspecific and do not provide information that would allow the pathologist to determine the cause of the ARDS.

Photomicrograph from patient with acute respirator Photomicrograph from patient with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Image shows ARDS in exudative stage. Note hyaline membranes and loss of alveolar epithelium in this early stage of ARDS.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!