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Pulmonary Edema is swelling and/or fluid accumulation in the lungs.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of pulmonary edema include difficulty breathing, coughing up blood, excessive sweating, anxiety and pale skin. If left untreated, it can lead to death, generally due to its main complication of acute respiratory shock syndrome .
Pulmonary edema is generally suspected due to findings in the medical history and physical examination: end-inspiratory crackles during auscultation (listening to the breathing through a stethoscope) can be due to pulmonary edema. The diagnosis is confirmed on X-ray of the lungs, which shows increased vascular filling and fluid in the alveolar walls.
Pulmonary edema is either due to direct damage to the tissue or as a result of inadequate functioning of the heart or circulatory system.
- inhalation of toxic gases
- severe infection
- lack of proper altitude acclimatization.
When circulatory causes have led to pulmonary edema, treatment with loop diuretics, such as furosemide or bumetanide, is the mainstay of therapy. Other useful treaments include glyceryl trinitrate, CPAP and oxygen.
There are no causal therapies for direct tissue damage; removal of the causes (e.g. treating an infection) is the most important measure.
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