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Pulmonary edema is a condition in which there is an accumulation of fluid in the lungs, which makes it difficult or even impossible to breathe effectively. Acute pulmonary edema is a form of pulmonary edema that occurs suddenly, is a life-threatening emergency, and can be rapidly fatal if not treated immediately.
In most cases, pulmonary edema is due to heart failure, a condition in which the heart muscle has been damaged and is too weak to pump sufficient amounts of oxygen-rich blood to and from the lungs and the rest of the body. This increases blood pressure in the lungs and leads to a back-up and build-up of fluid in the lungs.
Less commonly, pulmonary edema can result from acute mountain sickness, a condition brought on by the lower air pressure and reduced oxygen levels that occur at high altitudes. Pulmonary edema can also occur due to pneumonia and in infants who are given too much fluid, especially too much fluid given intravenously in a medical setting.
People at risk for developing pulmonary edema include infants receiving intravenous fluids and anyone with acute mountain sickness. The biggest group of high-risk individuals include anyone who has heart failure. Heart failure is a common complication of heart diseases that can damage the heart muscle. These include heart attack, hypertension, heart valve disorders, arrhythmias, and cardiomyopathy.
Any disease or condition that increases the risk of developing heart disease also increases the risk of eventually developing heart failure and pulmonary edema as a complication. These risks include having diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Other risk factors include being male, of African-American ancestry, and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Having a lot of long-term stress, smoking and having a family history of heart disease or cardiovascular disease are also risk factors.
Symptoms of pulmonary edema include shortness of breath, chest pain, a wet cough, and low oxygen levels in the blood. Pulmonary edema, especially acute pulmonary edema, can lead to serious complications, such as respiratory failure. Acute pulmonary edema can be rapidly fatal if not treated quickly. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of pulmonary edema.
Making a diagnosis of pulmonary edema includes a complete medical evaluation, medical history, and physical examination. This is often done in an emergency room for acute pulmonary edema. The physical exam includes listening to the sounds of the heart and the lungs with a stethoscope. Certain sounds, such as a crackling or bubbling sound in the lungs, indicate congestion in the lungs and point to a diagnosis of pulmonary edema.
A chest X-ray is generally performed to see the size and shape of the heart and can reveal lung congestion, pulmonary edema, and other conditions, such as pneumonia. Other tests may include an imaging test called an echocardiogram. An echocardiogram uses sound waves to make a picture of the beating heart to determine how much blood the heart is able to pump.
Other testing may be done to rule-out or diagnose underlying causes of pulmonary edema. For example, testing generally includes an EKG, which takes a picture of the electrical activity of the heart and can reveal abnormalities in the rhythm of the heart and heart damage due to heart attack and some other forms of heart disease.
It is possible that a diagnosis of pulmonary edema can be missed or delayed because in some cases the symptoms may develop gradually and be mild. Symptoms can also be similar to symptoms of other conditions. For more information about misdiagnosis and diseases and conditions that can mimic pulmonary edema, refer to misdiagnosis of pulmonary edema.
Treatment of pulmonary edema begins with prevention of heart disease, heart failure, and other risk factors. When symptoms occur, pulmonary edema is treated with oxygen therapy and medications. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of pulmonary edema....more »
A diagnosis of pulmonary edema may be overlooked or delayed because symptoms can develop gradually in some cases. This allows a person to physically adapt to them. In addition, some symptoms can be vague and not specific to pulmonary edema. These include weakness, fatigue, confusion, anxiety and dizziness. These types of symptoms may be attributed to other conditions, ...more misdiagnosis »
The following medical conditions are some of the possible
causes of Pulmonary edema.
There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor
about your symptoms.
Home medical tests possibly related to Pulmonary edema:
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Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Pulmonary edema, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.
Pulmonary edema is often treatable if diagnosed before serious complications occur. However, prognosis varies depending on the underlying cause or disease, age, general health, and coexisting diseases, such as diabetes, heart failure, and pneumonia. The most effective heart failure treatment plans employ a multifaceted approach.
This includes preventive care aimed at minimizing the ...Pulmonary edema Treatments
Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Pulmonary edema may include:
Review further information on Pulmonary edema Treatments.
When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing Pulmonary edema as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.
Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Pulmonary edema may include these symptoms:
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Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Pulmonary edema:
Read more about causes and Pulmonary edema deaths.
Heart attacks can be undiagnosed: Although the most severe symptoms of heart attack are hard to miss, there are varying degrees of severity. It is altogether too common for people to die from undiagnosed heart attack, or from...read more »
Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also many cases where people fear that they have a heart attack, but actually have something milder. Some of the...read more »
Rare heart condition often undiagnosed: The rare heart condition called long QT syndrome can lead to episodes of palpitations and rapid heartbeat. In rare cases, this undiagnosed condition can be fatal....read more »
Heart attack can be over-diagnosed: Although heart attack is often undiagnosed, leading to fatality, it can also be over-diagnosed. People become concerned that a condition is a heart attack, whereas...read more »
Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" around the arm to measure blood pressure can simply be too small to...read more »
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Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible
causes of Pulmonary edema as a symptom include:
Extravascular accumulation of fluid in the pulmonary tissue and air spaces.
- (Source - Diseases Database)
Extravascular accumulation of fluid in the pulmonary tissue and air spaces.
- (Source - CRISP)
The list below shows some of the causes of Pulmonary edema mentioned in various sources:
This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Pulmonary edema. Of the 72 causes of Pulmonary edema that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:
The following list of conditions have 'Pulmonary edema' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Pulmonary edema or choose View All.
The following list of medical conditions have Pulmonary edema or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
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This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Pulmonary edema based
on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:
Subtypes of Pulmonary edema:
Pulmonary oedema (52 causes)
Medical Conditions associated with Pulmonary edema:
Lung symptoms (3280 causes), Respiratory symptoms (5166 causes), Swelling symptoms (3730 causes), Respiratory tract symptoms (5166 causes), Throat symptoms (3410 causes), Mouth symptoms (6864 causes), Breathing symptoms (3381 causes), Breath symptoms (3023 causes), Head symptoms (10192 causes), Face symptoms (8109 causes)
Symptoms related to Pulmonary edema:
Difficulty breathing (2922 causes), Breathing symptoms (3381 causes), Lung symptoms (3280 causes), Heart failure (274 causes), Certain heart diseases, Pneumonitis, Kidney failure (369 causes), Hemorrhagic shock, Stroke (192 causes), High altitudes, Viral infection, Fume inhalation, Drug toxicity
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Medical research papers related to Pulmonary edema include:
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