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Classification of patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome into hyper- and hypoinflammatory subphenotypes using plasma biomarkers may facilitate more effective targeted therapy. We examined whether established subphenotypes are present not only in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome but also in patients at risk for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARFA) and then assessed the prognostic information of baseline subphenotyping on the evolution of host-response biomarkers and clinical outcomes.Prospective, observational cohort study.Medical ICU at a tertiary academic medical center.Mechanically ventilated patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARFA.None.We performed longitudinal measurements of 10 plasma biomarkers of host injury and inflammation. We applied unsupervised latent class analysis methods utilizing baseline clinical and biomarker variables and demonstrated that two-class models (hyper- vs hypoinflammatory subphenotypes) offered improved fit compared with one-class models in both patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome and ARFA. Baseline assignment to the hyperinflammatory subphenotype (39/104 [38%] acute respiratory distress syndrome and 30/108 [28%] ARFA patients) was associated with higher severity of illness by Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores and incidence of acute kidney injury in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome, as well as higher 30-day mortality and longer duration of mechanical ventilation in ARFA patients (p < 0.0001). Hyperinflammatory patients exhibited persistent elevation of biomarkers of innate immunity for up to 2 weeks postintubation.Our results suggest that two distinct subphenotypes are present not only in patients with established acute respiratory distress syndrome but also in patients at risk for its development. Hyperinflammatory classification at baseline is associated with higher severity of illness, worse clinical outcomes, and trajectories of persistently elevated biomarkers of host injury and inflammation during acute critical illness compared with hypoinflammatory patients. Our findings provide strong rationale for examining treatment effect modifications by subphenotypes in randomized clinical trials to inform precision therapeutic approaches in critical care.