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Acute Pulmonary Edema : Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Tuesday, July 24th 2012. | Lungs Health

Acute Pulmonary Edema Definition

The acute pulmonary edema is characterized by the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. It is often secondary to other medical conditions such as heart failure or kidney disease.

At the initial stage, only the lung tissue is concerned, the alveoli remain free. At a later stage, there is flooding of alveoli by plasma in excess.

The major symptom is respiratory distress. On auscultation of the lungs, the doctor found the characteristic sounds called crackles. The acute pulmonary edema is a medical emergency requiring immediate care.

Acute Pulmonary Edema Causes

Heart failure, mainly left heart failure, is the leading cause of acute pulmonary edema. In this case, the left ventricle is no longer able to pump properly and eject enough oxygen-rich blood into the aorta.

For this reason, blood is retained in the pulmonary circulation, contributing to increased pressure in the pulmonary vessels. Following this increased pressure, the pulmonary alveoli are invaded by blood plasma that has passed through the wall of small pulmonary vessels.

Other factors Cardiac

Acute Pulmonary Edema

Acute Pulmonary Edema

Other etiological factors :

  • Kidney disease (renal failure)
  • Hypervolemia with transfusion of blood volume in case of excessive bleeding
  • Extensive burns
  • Toxic gases (chlorine, ammonia, nitrogen oxide, gas fires), resulting in pulmonary edema “toxic”
  • Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis)
  • Lung infection (pneumonia)
  • Mountain climbing too fast (see high altitude pulmonary edema)

Acute Pulmonary Edema Disorders (symptoms)

Pulmonary edema often occurs at night and begins with a dry cough and breathlessness intense.

In the severe form:

  •      Intense respiratory distress
  •      Dry rales, crackles said, the auscultation
  •      Intense coughing, sometimes accompanied by sparkling pink sputum characteristics
  •      Signs of shock with increased heart rate and pulse
  •      Blue discoloration of the lips due to lack of oxygen (cyanosis)

Acute Pulmonary Edema Examinations (diagnosis)

The clinical mentioned allows the physician to the diagnosis of acute pulmonary edema. On auscultation of the lungs, the doctor found the characteristic sounds called crackles. Radiography TORAX highlights the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. The blood gas analysis revealed the severity of oxygen deprivation.

Other diagnostic investigations:

  • Detailed history of medical history such as heart problems, kidney disease, lung infections, work environment (exposure to dust or gas), family medical history
  • Electrocardiogram: ECG provides information about the existence of possible heart rhythm disorders or any history of myocardial infarction
  • Echocardiography (ultrasound)
  • Laboratory analyzes
  • Tests of renal function

Acute Pulmonary Edema Treatment Options

The acute pulmonary edema is a medical emergency requiring immediate medical treatment.

Acute Pulmonary Edema General Measures Treatment

  • The elevation of the head and thorax of the patient easier breathing
  • Administration of oxygen concentration and, in severe cases, assisted ventilation (intubation)
  • In case of pulmonary edema of high altitute: oxygen and descent to lower altitudes

Acute Pulmonary Edema Medical Drugs Treatment

Treatment depends on the cause of pulmonary edema:

  • In case of left heart failure: administration of medications that relieve the heart (nitrates, angiotensin converting enzyme and beta blockers) and diuretics
  • Drugs to lower blood pressure
  • In case of allergy or intoxication, administration of cortisone
  • In cases of pneumonia, antibiotics
  • In case of renal failure, dialysis may be indicated
  • Administration of tranquilizers to calm anxiety and agitation

Acute Pulmonary Edema Possible Complications

If appropriate treatment, pulmonary edema can be brought under control within a few hours. In the absence of treatment or in case of non response to treatment, the patient dies from asphyxiation.

Pulmonary edema may be complicated by pneumonia.

Acute Pulmonary Edema Preventive Measures

To prevent recurrence of pulmonary edema should be treated the underlying disease. Against this background, medications must be taken regularly, but you also vieiller to a healthy lifestyle (physical activity, healthy diet, drink abundant).

 

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