Fifty years ago, Ashbaugh and colleagues described 12 patients with tachypnea, refractory hypoxemia, and diffuse opacities on chest radiographs af-ter infection or trauma.1 Prominent hyaline membranes were seen lining the al-veolar spaces of the lungs in 6 of the 7 patients who died, findings previously thought to be specific for the respiratory distress syndrome of the newborn. Thus, the term adult (later changed to acute) respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) was proposed.

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Jaime Pabón

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