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To evaluate the long-term survival of patients at similar risk for hospital-acquired acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) who did and did not develop ARDS.We conducted long-term follow-up of a population-based nested case-control study in a consecutive cohort of adult Olmsted County, Minnesota, patients admitted from January 1, 2001, through December 31, 2010. Patients in whom ARDS developed during their hospital stay (cases) were matched to similar-risk patients without ARDS (controls) by 6 characteristics: age, sex, sepsis, high-risk surgery, ratio of oxygen saturation to fraction of inspired oxygen, and ARDS risk according to the Lung Injury Prediction Score. Hospital mortality, discharge disposition, and long-term survival were compared.Patients who developed hospital-acquired ARDS (n=400) had higher hospital mortality than at-risk controls (n=400) (35% vs 5%; P<.001). Among hospital survivors (252 matched pairs), ARDS cases were more likely to be discharged to rehabilitation (13% vs 4%) and long-term care (30% vs 15%) facilities, whereas more controls were discharged home (71% vs 41%). After discharge, differences in survival persisted beyond 90 days (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.76; 95% CI, 1.2-2.5; P=.002) and 6 months (adjusted HR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.2-2.6; P<.001).These results suggest that in a population-based matched case-control study of patients with similar characteristics at the time of hospital admission, those who developed hospital-acquired ARDS had worse long-term survival.