The National Institutes of Health Renews Multi-million Dollar Grant to Study Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome at WFUBMC

January 12, 2006

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue research into the causes and treatments for the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

ARDS results in severe injury to most or all of both lungs, and causes patients to experience severe shortness of breath, which typically requires life support to survive.

“ARDS is not a specific disease, but a type of acute lung dysfunction that is associated with a number of diseases including pneumonia, shock, severe infections and trauma,” said lead researcher Duncan Hite, M.D., associate professor of medicine and director of medical intensive care and critical care research at Wake Forest Baptist. “The ARDS mortality rate around the world remains high, between 30 to 40 percent. Because patients require continuous high level intensive care, ARDS is best treated at major hospitals and trauma centers.”

The recently funded grant will allow the researchers at Wake Forest Baptist to continue as a site in the prestigious NIH-sponsored organization known as the ARDS Network. The ARDS Network was launched in 1994 and the group at Wake Forest Baptist joined in 2000. The current grant will likely total more than $4 million over the next 7 years, and Wake Forest Baptist is one of only 12 sites in the nation to receive the grant, after competing with over 40 applicants.

Since 2000, more than 1,000 ARDS patients have been enrolled and treated in studies at 20 ARDS Network centers around the nation, 77 of whom were enrolled in at Wake Forest Baptist. The studies, to be performed over the next seven years, are expected to enroll over 1,500 patients, including 150 at Wake Forest Baptist.


Media Contacts: Jim Steele,, Shannon Koontz,, or Karen Richardson,, at (336) 716-4587.

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,187 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.

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