ABC Medical Center > Pulmonary edema

What is Pulmonary edema?

21:54 - 4 May , 2021


It refers to a condition that consists of the accumulation of fluid in the lungs, hindering the respiratory processes.

Pulmonary edema is usually the result of heart disease, but it can also occur from other causes such as pneumonia, some chemicals and drugs, chest trauma, or going to places too high in altitude.

Acute pulmonary edema appears unexpectedly and can be fatal if it is not treated promptly through the supply of oxygen and the intake of drugs, in addition to other therapies that will depend on its direct cause.

When it comes to chronic pulmonary edema, the symptoms are progressive and develop over time.

Signs and symptoms Pulmonary edema


  • Cold and moist skin.
  • Anxiety attacks.
  • Blue coloration on the lips.
  • Serious breathing problems.
  • Suffocation that worsens in a horizontal position.
  • Frothy sputum with blood.
  • Noises and wheezing when breathing.
  • Tachycardia.


  • Noises and wheezing when breathing.
  • Increased weight.
  • Leg swelling.
  • Tiredness.
  • Weakness.
  • Breathing problems when doing physical activity or lying down.
  • Nocturnal coughing fits that interrupt sleep.

In the case of pulmonary edema due to altitude, the symptoms are:

  • Tachycardia.
  • Fatigue.
  • Chest pain.
  • High fever.
  • Headache.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Physical inability to exercise normally.
  • Dry coughing fits that present foam and traces of blood.

Diagnosis and treatment Pulmonary edema

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical examination and a series of tests that include a blood test, chest x-ray, computed tomography, pulse oximetry, blood gas concentration, electrocardiogram, echocardiography, catheterization cardiac, angiography, and pulmonary ultrasound.

The treatment to be followed in a case of acute pulmonary edema is the supply of oxygen through a mask or, if necessary, through a mechanical ventilator.

The drugs given will depend on the cause and severity of the case, but typically include diuretics, blood pressure control drugs, and inotropic drugs.

At the Cardiovascular Center, we offer you a wide range of prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and follow-up services to take care of you through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary care model. Come to us, we want to hear your heart.


  • topdoctors.es
  • medlineplus.gov
  • msdmanuals.com
  • mayoclinic.org
  • texasheart.org
  • medigraphic.org
  • Reséndiz OMT, Matadamas RLS, Revilla RE. Edema pulmonar de presión negativa y hemorragia pulmonar, reporte de un caso y revisión de la literatura. Med Crit. 2009;23(1):47-51.
  • González del Pino RI, Castellón GLN, Ramos DY, et al. Edema pulmonar por presión negativa con máscara laríngea clásica. Presentación de un caso pediátrico. Rev Méd Electrón. 2018;40(6):2140-2155.
  • Tinoco SA. Edema pulmonar de altura o mal de altura. Finlay. 2018;8(4):256-257.
  • Hernández-Palacios CA, Arguello-López BM, Navarro-Vargas JR. Edema agudo de pulmón por presión negativa luego de retirar la máscara laríngea. Revista Cubana de Anestesiología y Reanimación. 2016;15(1):.

How can we help you?

    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.