The treatment of pulmonary edema largely depends on its cause and severity.
Pulmonary edema is almost always treated in the emergency room or hospital. You may need to be in an intensive care unit (ICU).
Most cases of cardiac pulmonary edema are treated by using diuretics (water pills) along with other medications for heart failure. In some situations, appropriate treatment can be achieved as an outpatient by taking oral medications. If the pulmonary edema is more severe or it is not responsive to oral medications, then hospitalization and the use of intravenous diuretic medications may be necessary.
The treatment for noncardiac causes of pulmonary edema varies depending on the cause. For example, severe infection (sepsis) is treated with antibiotics and other supportive measures, or kidney failure needs to be properly evaluated and managed.
Oxygen supplementation is necessary if the measured oxygen level in the blood is too low. In serious conditions, such as ARDS, placing a patient on a mechanical breathing machine is necessary to support their breathing while other measures are taken to treat pulmonary edema and its underlying cause.