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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Pulmonary Edema
      Category : Health Centers > Respiratory System (Lungs and Breathing)

Pulmonary Edema

Alternate Names : Lung Edema, Fluid in the Lung

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Pulmonary edema is an abnormal buildup of fluid within the tissues of the lung.

What is going on in the body?

Fluid can build up in the lungs for many reasons. This fluid makes it difficult for the lungs to give oxygen to the blood. The low oxygen in the blood and the fluid itself cause symptoms.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Pulmonary edema has many causes, including:

  • heart problems, such as a weakened heart due to cardiomyopathy or heart attacks. An abnormal heart valve, such as occurs with chronic mitral regurgitation, may also cause this condition.
  • infection in the lung, such as pneumonia
  • infection in the blood, known as sepsis
  • low protein levels in the body, such as from malnutrition or a kidney condition called nephrotic syndrome, in which protein is lost into the urine. Cirrhosis, or permanent hardening and scarring of the liver, can also cause low protein in the body.
  • exposure to certain toxins or medications, such as carbon monoxide poisoning or a severe aspirin overdose
  • severe allergic reactions, called anaphylaxis, which may occur in response to antibiotics such as penicillin and other medications
  • acute mountain sickness, which occurs when a person goes from a low altitude to a high altitude quickly
  • narcotic overdose
  • radiation therapy or radiation sickness


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    Pulmonary Edema: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 09/04/01

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