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Category: Cardiology | Pulmonology | Critical Care

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Pulmonary Edema overview

Updated: July 27, 2009

Pulmonary edema is swelling and/or fluid accumulation in the lungs which can result from heart failure or heart attack, inhalation of toxic gases, severe infection, excess body fluids from kidney failure or from the lack of proper altitude acclimatization.

Causes

Cardiogenic

  • Left ventricular failure - main overall cause
  • Mitral stenosis

Non-cardiogenic

  • Renal failure with fluid overload
  • Iatrogenic fluid overload
  • ARDS

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.

Diagnosis

Pulmonary edema is diagnosed by a plain chest x-ray. In severe cases the x-ray will show the characteristic 'bat-wing' appearance.


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