Abstract Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a medical emergency, which may be precipitated by an acute injury to the lung. The injury can also follow direct chest trauma from aspiration of gastric contents or inhalation of toxic gasses. ARDS is not itself a specific disease but a syndrome - a group of symptoms and signs that make up one of the most important forms of respiratory failure. ARDS is devastating because it can develop quite suddenly in persons whose lungs had been perfectly normal - it kills at least 60% of its victims. The fundamental problem is the sudden appearance of large amounts of fluid in the lung preventing blood from entering the alveoli and decreasing oxygen extraction resulting in hypoxemia.
The tragic feature of ARDS is that it drowns its victim. The appearance of fluid in the lungs - a lethal situation - is from neuro-inflammation.
Important to keep in mind when treating ARDS are: a) Inflammation and Inflammatory exudates Gap Formation, b) Interstitial and Alveolar Inflammation, c) Inflammation and the Nervous System, d) Cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway. Neuro-inflammation can be relieved by stimulation of the vagus nerve. Low-level laser therapy, a simple modality with few undesirable side effects, is used to relieve respiratory distress.