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Ronke Shonde’s autopsy analysis- 11 things to know about acute respiratory distress syndrome 


The release of Ronke Shonde’s autopsy report to the police yesterday (Wednesday, May 18), and the mention of ‘acute respiratory seizure, bruises and water in the head ‘ as probable causes of death has thrown keen followers of the saga into bewilderment.

But, wait a minute. What exactly is acute respiratory seizure? What are the symptoms? How can it lead to death?

Here are 11 things to remember about acute respiratory distress syndrome…

1. It is a ‘type of lung failure resulting from many different disorders that cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs and oxygen levels in the blood to be too low’ (Merck Manual).

2.The heart and brain could malfunction as a result of breathing difficulties.

3. It is an emergency, and patients have to be given oxygen, if they get medical attention quickly.

4. Victims may previously have respiratory problems or none at all.

5. It mostly occurs in adults, but children may also experience it.

6. Most patients develop the syndrome as a result of sepsis ( when the body’s response to infection injures its own tissues or organs) or pneumonia ( inflammation of the lungs).

7. The syndrome can be caused by food in the lungs, burns, injury, inhaling toxins or smoke, overdose of drugs, stroke, seizure like epilepsy, etc.

8. The syndrome develops within 24 or 48 hours of the injury. But if it is as a result of disease, it can take up to five days to manifest.

9. Without prompt treatment, 9 of ten patients die. But with emergency treatment, about  6 out of ten survive.

10. Those who recover quickly after treatment may not have any long term abnormalities. But those whose treatments are elongated may have scarring. And this scarring may lead to difficulty in breathing.

11. Recovering patient may lose a lot of weight.

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