What Is Pulmonary Edema
Pulmonary edema is a condition in which body fluids accumulate in air spaces of the lungs causing respiratory problems as gas exchange which is the primary function of the lungs is impaired. This happens due to failure of the ventricles of the heart especially the left ventricle which is responsible for moving blood from the pulmonary circulation . The complications can also arise due to injury of the lung vasculature.
Treatment of this condition seeks to alleviate the respiratory problems and while dealing with the real cause of the condition. Preventing further damage to the lungs is another important aspect of the condition since acute pulmonary edema can be fatal due to respiratory failure, cardiac arrest and hypoxia.
One of the major tell tale signs of pulmonary edema is when the person has difficulty breathing, this may be accompanied by bloody coughing, anxiety and sweating excessively are also other signs of the condition. Usually people with pulmonary edema experience short breath especially when they intend to lie down flat, they may also experience sudden breathlessness when lying down at night. Pulmonary edema is associated with peripheral edema which manifests in the pitting experience; this refers to the condition where the skin is slow to return to normal whenever it’s pressed upon. Its also associated with enlarged liver and crackling sounds experienced at the end of a long breath, people who have the condition may also at times hear a third heart sound.
There are several methods used in diagnosing pulmonary edema, however people who presents with breathlessness may be due to other factors. X-rays is one of the major methods used in diagnosing fluid in the alveolar walls, this can be supported by low oxygen saturation and arterial blood gas reading. This can be further confirmed by upper lobe diversion which means more blood is flowing to the superior parts of the lungs.
Administering ethacardiology is one way of being certain that the diagnosis is actually pulmonary edema which can be demonstrated by increased central venous pressure which is also experienced in the pulmonary arteries. Electrolytes detecting tests are also administered in order to be find out about the level of sodium and potassium in the blood
Body fluid accumulation is what leads to pulmonary edema; usually the left ventricle is the main culprit of the condition. Injury to the lungs is one of the causes of the condition which may be direct or damage caused by increased blood pressure on the pulmonary ventricle.
Causes can be either cardiogenic or non cardiogenic depending on the underlying condition that led to lung injury or fluid accumulation. Hypertension is one of the major issues associated with pulmonary edema which is non cardiogenic in nature. Hypertension leads to a combination of conditions in the right ventricle and systemic resistance of the vascular which leads to hydrostatic pressure inside the pulmonary capillaries, this in turn leads to fluid extravasations and edema. Cardiogenic causes are associated with congestive heart failure which may be due to heart attack.