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Despite major improvement in ventilation strategies, hospital mortality and morbidity of the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) remain high. A lot of therapies have been shown to be ineffective for established ARDS. There is a growing interest in strategies aiming at avoiding development and progression of ARDS.Recent advances in this field have explored identification of patients at high-risk, nonspecific measures to limit the risks of inflammation, infection and fluid overload, prevention strategies of ventilator-induced lung injury and patient self-inflicted lung injury, and pharmacological treatments.There is potential for improvement in the management of patients admitted to intensive care unit to reduce ARDS incidence. Apart from nonspecific measures, prevention of ventilator-induced lung injury and patient self-inflicted lung injury are of major importance.