Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Study

Molecular Epidemiology of ARDS Study

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), acute lung injury (ALI), and septic shock are commonly encountered conditions in the intensive care unit, with relatively high mortality rates despite advances in treatment. Much research focuses on the role of inflammatory cells, however little is known about why some patients progress to ARDS or septic shock while others with the same risk factors do not. This study proposes that genes play a role in the development of these conditions. We investigate this hypothesis through a prospective cohort of patients admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital Intensive Care Units with known risk factors for development of ARDS. This study began in 1998 at MGH, and in recent years has included patients from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. We expect to enroll about 6800 patients in total.

Recently our research has covered the following topics: polymorphisms and mortality (genetic risk factors), body mass index associations with ARDS development, use of some pharmaceuticals (such as ACE inhibitors) on development and outcome of ARDS, gender modifications for ARDS risk, the epidemiology and microbiology of infection-related ARDS, genome-wide expression analysis, plasma profile and clinical biomarkers in monitoring ARDS. Please refer to the publications page for further information.

This is a purely observational study (there are no treatments or interventions involved) and is completely voluntary. Participation will not alter the standard of care received by the patient. The main purpose of this research is to determine what factors may lead to ARDS; by knowing these we can prevent its development or better treat it after it has occurred. After signing the consent form patients will be given a unique study number to protect privacy. Participation includes collecting small blood samples and review of the medical records. All information collected, including the act of participation, is kept confidential and will not be known to persons outside of our study.