Pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

21 October 2017

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With "water in the lungs" pulmonary edema is usually meant. Who feels typical symptoms - such as rapid, shallow and rattling breath and cough - should as soon as possible to go to the doctor. Because untreated pulmonary edema can have life-threatening consequences.

What is a pulmonary edema?
Pulmonary edema is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Colloquially often also "water in the lungs" the speech. The liquid is blood fluid from the blood vessels the lungs (pulmonary) flows into lung tissue.

share medical pulmonary edema depending on the severity in four stages on:

Inhaled air flows into the trachea. The trachea extends from the larynx into the chest cavity and branches into the bronchial system, of the lung tissue is traversed. The bronchial system consists of large and small tubes (bronchi, bronchioles) through which passes the air we breathe to the approximately 300 million alveoli. The alveoli are surrounded by fine blood vessels, the pulmonary capillaries. © iStock

Inhaled air flows into the trachea. The trachea extends from the larynx into the chest cavity and branches into the bronchial system, of the lung tissue is traversed. The bronchial system consists of large and small tubes (bronchi, bronchioles) through which passes the air we breathe to the approximately 300 million alveoli. The alveoli are surrounded by fine blood vessels, the pulmonary capillaries.

Between alveoli and blood vessels of the so-called gas exchange takes place: the air sacs filled with air supply the blood in the capillaries with oxygen. At the same time, the blood gives off carbon dioxide to the alveoli, carrying it through the breath out of the body.

Between alveoli and blood vessels of the so-called gas exchange takes place: the air sacs filled with air supply the blood in the capillaries with oxygen. At the same time, the blood gives off carbon dioxide to the alveoli, carrying it through the breath out of the body.

Various diseases can cause pulmonary edema. The most common cause is a heart failure (Heart failure). Other diseases and disorders that can cause fluid in the lungs, are about:

For the perturbed pressure - and thus the formation of pulmonary edema - there may be various causes. Doctors distinguish between cardiac (emanating from the heart) and non-cardiac causes:

, A cardiac pulmonary edema occurs when the Function of the heart is impaired. The blood then backs up from the left ventricle into the lungs back because the heart fails, the blood completely weiterzupumpen in the body (so-called. Left ventricular failure).

This is the hydrostatic pressure of the pulmonary veins and / or the capillaries increases. He presses the fluid from vessels into lung tissue and alveoli.

This may for example during an acute left ventricular failure done by a heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia or heart muscle inflammation. Also a disturbed heart valve function or long-term stress on the heart due to hypertension may cause pulmonary edema, because they sometimes cause a chronic left ventricular failure.

When non-cardiac pulmonary edema, among others, the following reasons are:

Depending on the stage occur in pulmonary edema different symptoms:

On suspicion of pulmonary edema, the doctor will perform a physical examination in connection with a chest X-ray.

In the physical examination the physician pays particular attention to breathing and coughing of the patient. He also checks whether skin and lips of the patient have a blue color.

With the stethoscope, the doctor can monitor the patient's lungs. When interstitial pulmonary edema he hears this is usually no abnormalities. At the alveolar pulmonary edema he hears the other hand, moist rales, as the patient breathes.

On interstitial pulmonary edema the doctor can only using a X-ray determine. When accumulated in the supporting tissues of the lung liquid form there thickening. These are as fine horizontal lines (so-called. Kerley lines) on the X-ray image visible. Also butterfly-shaped "shadow" indicate an interstitial pulmonary edema.

Has detected a pulmonary edema, the doctor, he searches for the causes the disease. These are further investigations necessary. The most important thing echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart), using which the doctor can determine the functioning of the heart. So he can find out whether the pulmonary edema has cardiac causes such as heart failure or non-cardiac causes.

If the doctor the patient pulmonary edema firm, he will meet initially following immediate action:

The further steps of the therapy are based on the reason of pulmonary edema:

Also the long-term therapy depends on the cause. Chronic diseases, such as heart or kidney failure, requiring appropriate treatment. People with kidney disease may require that the blood is cleaned by machine (for example, by dialysis"hemodialysis").

If a pulmonary edema not treated, the general condition of the person concerned deteriorated more and more. In the last stage of the disease are the Breathing and circulation to a standstill.


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