Pulmonary edema

Last updated: May 18, 2022

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Pulmonary edema is the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. The cause can be cardiogenic (e.g., acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure) or noncardiogenic (e.g., pneumonia, blood transfusion, preeclampsia, shock). Clinical features include progressive dyspnea and signs of hypoxemia (e.g., cyanosis, tachycardia). Cardiogenic pulmonary edema furthermore manifests with elevated jugular venous pressure and an S3 gallop on cardiac auscultation. Diagnosis and, especially, differentiation of causes involves laboratory studies, chest x-ray, and ECG as well as patient history and physical examination. Management involves oxygen supplementation and, depending on the cause, diuretics, morphine, and/or drugs to control blood pressure. Ventilatory support may be necessary in severe cases. Complications include acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and respiratory failure.

Types of pulmonary edema [1][2]
Cardiogenic pulmonary edema Noncardiogenic pulmonary edema
  • An accumulation of fluid in the lungs due to an increase in permeability of the pulmonary capillaries (fluid is rich in proteins)

We list the most important complications. The selection is not exhaustive.

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