Pulmonary edema

Alternative Names

Lung congestion; Lung water; Pulmonary congestion

Definition of Pulmonary edema

Pulmonary edema is an abnormal build up of fluid in the air sacs of the lungs, which leads to shortness of breath

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Pulmonary edema is usually caused by heart failure. As the heart fails, pressure in the veins going through the lungs starts to rise.

Signs and tests

The health care provider will perform a physical exam and use a stethoscope to listen to the lungs and heart. The following may be detected:

Treatment

Oxygen is given through a face mask or tiny plastic tubes (prongs) placed in the nose. A breathing tube may be placed into the windpipe (trachea). A breathing machine (ventilator) may be needed.

Expectations (prognosis)

Some patients may need to use a breathing machine for a long time, which may lead to damage to lung tissue.

Review

Issam Mikati, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Director, Northwestern Clinic Echocardiography Lab, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/22/2010

Lungs
Respiratory system

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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