European Respiratory Society Monograph, Vol. 20. 2002
There can be little doubt that the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a major medical problem. It is also one of the most intellectually challenging clinical, pathophysiological and pathobiological disorders deranging the respiratory system. The cause of the sudden and widespread explosion of the ruthless inflammatory process in previously healthy lungs, following sepsis, shock, trauma, and many other apparently unrelated events, remains essentially unknown. Despite an enormous amount of human and material resources devoted to basic and clinical research to overwhelm ARDS, on the whole, we still do not understand the syndrome.
Readers of this Monograph will exploit their colleagues' efforts, of writing and editing this monograph, not only to reinforce their everyday clinical practice, but also to emphasize another important message: "Any respiratory physician should know respiratory physiology."