Pulmonary edema (abnormal fluid in the lungs)

Chest | Pulmonology | Pulmonary edema (abnormal fluid in the lungs) (Disease)


Pulmonary edema or oedema is fluid accumulation in the air spaces and parenchyma of the lungs. It leads to impaired gas exchange and may cause respiratory failure.

Causes and Risk factors

It is due to either failure of the left ventricle of the heart to adequately remove blood from the pulmonary circulation (cardiogenic pulmonary edema), see below, or an injury to the lung parenchyma or vasculature of the lung (noncardiogenic pulmonary edema).

Diagnosis and Treatment

Whilst the range of causes are manifold the treatment options are limited, and to a large extent, the most effective therapies are used whatever the cause. Treatment is focused on three aspects, firstly improving respiratory function, secondly, treating the underlying cause, and thirdly avoiding further damage to the lung. Pulmonary edema, especially in the acute setting, can lead to respiratory failure, cardiac arrest due to hypoxia and death. ...