The pulmonary arteries take blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs. Here, the blood exchanges gases with the air in the lungs. The blood then returns to the heart through the pulmonary veins. This freshly oxygenated blood is then pumped throughout the body by the left side of the heart. If the pressure within the pulmonary veins increases, fluid is forced out of the pulmonary vessels into the tissue of the lungs. This leads to the air sacs (alveoli) becoming filled with fluid. The normal exchange of air cannot occur. Pulmonary edema is a dramatic, life-threatening condition.
Causes of Pulmonary Edema
The main cause of pulmonary edema is increased back pressure into the veins draining the lungs. This most commonly occurs from an extensive heart attack, aortic valve disease or mitral valve disease. Exposure to high altitudes can, sometimes, lead to the development of acute pulmonary edema.
Signs and Symptoms of Pulmonary Edema
Symptoms often begin suddenly in the middle of the night and rapidly worsen. They include severe shortness of breath. The person may feel as if they are suffocating. Cough and pink, frothy sputum will develop. Excessive sweating is seen. The skin appear pale and the nail beds and lips appear bluish.
Find more information
Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
The information contained on this site is for the sole purpose of
being informative. This information is not and should not be used or relied upon as medical
advice. Always seek the advice of your physician, nurse
Or other qualified health care provider before you undergo any treatment or
for answers to any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
If you believe you have a medical emergency, please discontinue use
of MyElectronicMD and call 911 now.
Nothing contained on or provided through the service is intended to be or is
to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.
Your use of this site is subject to certain terms and conditions.