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Pulmonary Edema Overview


What is it?

Pulmonary edema is an abnormal buildup of fluid in the lungs. This buildup of fluid leads to shortness of breath.

Causes

Pulmonary edema is typically caused by filling of alveoli in the lungs by fluid leaking out of the blood. Sometimes pulmonary edema may be caused by a number of cardiac or non-cardiac conditions.

Symptoms

Most common symptoms include
Coughing up
Difficulty breathing
wheezing sounds with breathing
Problems speaking in full sentences because of shortness of breath

Diagnosis

After taking medical history and performing physical examination your doctor may recommend further tests which include:
Chest x-rays
Blood tests
Pulse oximetry
Electrocardiogram
Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE)
Pulmonary artery catheterization
Cardiac catheterization

Risk factors

Risk factors for this condition include:
Any underlying cause

Treatment

Your treatment options will include:
Oxygen
Diuretics
Blood pressure medications

Complications

If left untreated it may cause the following complication.
Lower extremity and abdominal swelling
Pleural effusion
Congestion and swelling of the liver
When not treated, acute pulmonary edema can be fatal

Prevention

Pulmonary edema is not always preventable, but these measures can help reduce your risk.
Control your blood pressure
Watch your blood cholesterol
Don't smoke
Eat a heart-healthy diet
Limit salt

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