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Pulmonary edema

From Academic Kids

Pulmonary edema is swelling and/or fluid accumulation in the lungs. It leads to impaired gas exchange and may cause respiratory failure.

Contents

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms of pulmonary edema include difficulty breathing, coughing up blood, excessive sweating, anxiety and pale skin. If left untreated, it can lead to death, generally due to its main complication of acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Diagnosis

Pulmonary edema is generally suspected due to findings in the medical history and physical examination: end-inspiratory crackles during auscultation (listening to the breathing through a stethoscope) can be due to pulmonary edema. The diagnosis is confirmed on X-ray of the lungs, which shows increased vascular filling and fluid in the alveolar walls.

Low oxygen saturation and disturbed arterial blood gas readings may strengthen the diagnosis and provide grounds for various forms of treatment.

Causes

Pulmonary edema is either due to direct damage to the tissue or as a result of inadequate functioning of the heart or circulatory system.

Circulatory causes:

Tissue damage:

Therapy

When circulatory causes have led to pulmonary edema, treatment with loop diuretics, such as furosemide or bumetanide, is the mainstay of therapy. Other useful treaments include glyceryl trinitrate, CPAP and oxygen.

There are no causal therapies for direct tissue damage; removal of the causes (e.g. treating an infection) is the most important measure.

Reference

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