Home Lung and airwaysLung diseases Pulmonary edema: symptoms and treatment

Pulmonary edema: symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Pulmonary edema is the accumulation of fluid in the lungs that makes the person suffering from it have difficulty breathing, called dyspnea. This waterlogging can occur gradually or be something sudden due to some other cause, such as a myocardial infarction. It must be treated urgently as it can be fatal, and the patient will need to be in the intensive care unit (ICU) for a time that will depend on how the recovery goes. It can be a slower or faster recovery depending on what caused it.

Its leading cause is congestive heart failure, in which the heart does not pump blood properly, which affects the veins that carry blood to the lungs. This FastlyHealarticle tells you all about pulmonary edema: symptoms and treatment.

Why does pulmonary edema occur?

When the lungs fill with fluid, the body does not receive enough oxygen, and it is hazardous since the organs can stop working. In addition, it makes it difficult for the sufferer to breathe, and the person could drown. This flooding of the lungs can be sudden and intense; in this case, it is acute edema and has to be treated urgently. However, it can also appear gradually, in which case it must also be treated urgently, but it will not be as intense.

The lungs fill with fluid because blood floods the pulmonary alveoli. This is usually caused by a heart failure, although it can also be a failure in the lungs themselves. Thus, we can distinguish cardiogenic or non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema. However, we can also find neurological pulmonary edema, which is less frequent and possible.

Cardiogenic pulmonary edema

It has to do with a failure in the heart and the blood supply process. The heart receives blood from the whole body through the right atrium, and this passes to the right ventricle, which drives it to the lungs. Then the process continues and is collected from the lungs to the left atrium and passes to the left ventricle, where it is propelled to the rest of the body. However, a failure in the left part of the heart will cause blood to pool in the lungs. This is what is known as heart failure. Congestive heart failure is the most common cause of pulmonary edema and is the inability of the heart to pump blood at adequate levels due to some failure. This can be caused by some reasons such as an acute myocardial infarction or some heart diseases such as arrhythmias, narrowing or rupture of the mitral valve, or a sudden increase in blood pressure.

Non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema

It is less common, and the accumulation of fluid is due to other reasons that do not have to do with the heart, such as:

Neurogenic pulmonary edema

It is the least frequent of all, and it usually occurs in people with brain injuries such as tumors or trauma or even people who have ingested drugs in excess. The brain stops controlling the hypothalamus, and this stimulates the sympathetic nervous system that is responsible for increasing the passage of blood to the lungs during physical exercise. Unchecked, pulmonary blood flow will rise, and excess blood will drain into the alveoli and flood them.

Symptoms of pulmonary edema

The key symptom of this condition is the patient’s shortness of breath (dyspnea). When it occurs gradually, it can be progressive, but if it appears suddenly, it is usually quite intense.

There are also other symptoms such as:

  • In addition to shortness of breath, people often have rapid or shallow breathing.
  • Cough very often. Blood may even appear when you cough.
  • Wheezing or sounds through the nose when breathing or snoring when sleeping.
  • General discomfort.
  • Coughing up blood or bloody foam.
  • Rapid pulse
  • Excessive sweating
  • Sometimes it has a bluish color due to lack of oxygen. This is called cyanosis.
  • Swelling of the legs.
  • Some people feel short of breath at bedtime and need to keep their heads elevated, such as two pillows.
  • Pale skin.

In the event of any of these symptoms or breathing problems, it is better to go immediately to the hospital so that they can treat you as soon as possible. Pulmonary edema, if not treated in time, will increase, which will cause the person to suffocate and the lungs to stop sending oxygen to the body, which will generate specific organs to stop working. In addition, the lack of breathing itself can cause death.

Pulmonary ponding: treatment

Pulmonary edema must be treated immediately and is usually done through a hospital stay of several days. The affected person will remain in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) until they are stable and out of danger.

The goal of treatment is to remove fluid from the lungs, mainly and treat the cause that has caused it. During the days of stay in the ICU, oxygen will be administered by a mask or even artificially through a breathing tube in the windpipe connected to a ventilator. This is only done when the person cannot breathe on their own.

The cause that caused it will be treated immediately; for example, if it is heart failure, the objective will be to alleviate this problem as soon as possible. The process will depend on the cause and the patient’s situation, but the person may need artificial respiration for a long time after the pulmonary edema. However, other people are unscathed and wholly healed. It also depends on the intensity and if it has been treated in time.

Along with hospitalization, the person will most likely need medications that are usually diuretics to remove fluid or help the heart and control both pressure and heart rate. This is only when the edema has been caused by a heart or blood supply failure.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Pulmonary edema: symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Lung and respiratory tract category .

You may also like

Leave a Comment