Originally Posted by CBCotton
My dad is 69 years old and has been relatively healthy his whole life. About three months ago he began having shortness of breath which escalated to the point where he couldn't walk through the house/or talk without losing his breath. During these three months he saw numerous doctors who couldn't find anything wrong with him. The closest they came to a diagnosis was that he had a reflux problem.
Then on Monday, May 10th he checked in to a hospital to have tests done. At that point they decided he needed a lung biopsy. About 6 AM the next day he had a major infection/inflamation attack his body. A couple of things I remember from that day was that his white blood cell count went to 21,600, he was put on a respirator where he was given 100% of his oxygen (quit breathing on his own), blood pressure went way down, x-ray of his chest was very cloudy looking (it was clear just a day earlier), and the doctors talked like he may not live through the day.
Since that time he has been up & down. They have been keeping him heavily sedated and in a como like state..and he has been mostly stable except for two episodes where we almost lost him. His blood pressure is still low (94/44), he's still getting 90% oxygen, and his oxygen saturation is about 90-94..it dropped to 67 Tuesday night and they had to increase his PEEP (oxygen pressure to respirator) to 12 before it finally started to climb from 67.
The doctors seem to be totally baffled. They've talked about extreme pneumonia, strep and ARDS. In addition to these he also still has the underlying problem with his lungs, which they don't know what that is. They just say his lungs are kind of like leather and are having an extremely difficult time taking oxygen in or out. My dad used to smoke in his 20's, but (to my knowledge) has rarely smoked in the last 40 years.
The doctors give him a 10% or less chance to live.
Sorry this was so long, but I am really desperate to understand what is happening to my dad.
My deepest sympathies go to you and your family.
A few things...
Severe low blood pressure can cause ARDS. Low bp can result from a number of things, one being sepsis (widespread infection). Sepsis itself can cause ARDS as well. Being that your father's white count was so high, an infection is most likely the cause of his ARDS.
Pneumonia can also cause it, but I'd imagine that from his chest x-ray, it would be hard to differentiate a pneumonia from the other cloudiness in the x-ray.
Did he complain of any stomach pain before this? Pancreatitis can also cause ARDS, though I'm not exactly sure how that works.
It's still remotely possible that he does have GERD with aspiration, however, he'd have to be having massive aspirations for this to happen. Usually people don't inhale their stomach acid unless they have an underlying disease, ie: a neuromuscular disease where they have little or no control over their muscles.