What Is the Definition of Pulmonary Edema?

Q:
What is the definition of pulmonary edema?

A:
Pulmonary edema is fluid accumulation in the tissue and air spaces of the lungs. It leads to impaired gas exchange and may cause respiratory failure.

It is due to either failure of the left ventricle of the heart to remove blood adequately from the pulmonary circulation (cardiogenic pulmonary edema), or an injury to the lung parenchyma or vasculature of the lung (noncardiogenic pulmonary edema).

Treatment is focused on three aspects: firstly, improving respiratory function, secondly, treating the underlying cause, and thirdly avoiding further damage to the lung.

Pulmonary edema, especially acute, can lead to fatal respiratory distress or cardiac arrest due to hypoxia. It is a cardinal feature of congestive heart failure.

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