What is Acute Pulmonary Edema?
Acute Pulmonary Edema is a condition characterized by symptoms of difficulty breathing due to accumulation of fluid in the bag of lungs (alveoli). This condition can occur suddenly or develop in the long term. In cases of chronic long-term Acute pulmonary edema, shortness of breath will be more pronounced when the patient is doing physical activity. Patients usually feel tired with the sound of a distinctive gagging breath (wheezing). If the body is laid, shortness of breath will become-so. On the other hand, if the body is seated, the symptoms will usually be slightly reduced.
A person suffering from chronic Acute pulmonary edema may experience weight gain that is not only caused by fluid buildup in the lungs, but also in the legs. Chronic pulmonary edema can reduce the quality of sleep because often the sufferer awakens at night due to shortness of breath.
The second type of Acute pulmonary edema is acute pulmonary edema that is short-term. In this condition, the symptoms of shortness of breath attack suddenly to cause the sufferer seemed to feel choked or drowned. They will look anxious or frightened with their mouths gasping for trying to get oxygen. In addition, the heartbeat of the patient will experience palpitations or irregular upgrades accompanied by foamy cough that is foamy or mixed with blood. If acute pulmonary edema occurs due to heart disease, then the symptoms of chest pain can also be felt.
In addition to chronic and acute pulmonary edema, there is also pulmonary edema that occurs when it is above the high surface. This condition is commonly experienced by mountain climbers with an altitude of more than 2,400 meters. Just as acute edema, people with pulmonary edema due to altitude also usually feel discomfort in the chest, the heart rate increased irregularly, and experienced coughing with foamy or mixed sputum. Headache, fatigue, and sweating can also accompany.
Causes of Acute Pulmonary Edema
There are several causes of Acute pulmonary edema. But this disease can occur in people suffering from heart muscle disorders (cardiomyopathy), hypertension, heart valve disorders, and coronary heart disease due to the left ventricle is unable to pump blood coming from the lungs in sufficient quantity so that pressure inside the left atrium, Blood vessels, as well as lung capillaries to increase. This increase in pressure then causes fluid pushing through the capillary walls into the alveoli.
In addition to cardiac-related problems, pulmonary edema can also be caused by several conditions or other factors, such as:
- Cigarette smoke
- Located at an altitude above 2,400 meters
- Exposure to toxins
- Drug side effects
- Problems with the nervous system
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome
- Virus infection
- Pulmonary embolus
- Injury to the lungs
Diagnosis of Acute Pulmonary Edema
In addition to performing a physical exam, attempting to match existing symptoms or reviewing the medical history of patients with heart problems, it is also necessary to undergo certain methods of examination that may be performed by a doctor, including:
- Chest examination using X-rays to see the cause of shortness of breath and ensure that the patient actually has pulmonary edema.
- Blood tests to measure levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, measure levels of the B-type Natriuretic Peptide hormone, and see the function of the thyroid and kidney.
- Pulse oximetry to measure oxygen levels in the blood by placing sensors in the ears and fingers.
- Echocardiogram to know the existence of abnormal activity in the heart.
- Electrocardiogram to see any signs of heart attack and heart rhythm problem.
- Cardiac catheterization to determine the cause of pulmonary edema accompanied by symptoms of chest pain or when the cause of pulmonary edema is not found through echocardiogram.
- Pulmonary artery catheterization to measure pressure inside the lung capillaries.
Treatment of Acute Pulmonary Edema
If you see someone experiencing an attack of acute pulmonary edema with symptoms of sudden shortness of breath, wheezing breath accompanied by wheezing, cough accompanied by foamy or bloody sputum, the skin becomes blue, tired, dizzy, and expelled a lot Sweat due to dropped blood pressure, immediately take it to the hospital or call an ambulance. Acute pulmonary edema that is not treated immediately has the potential to cause death in the sufferer.
Do the same in cases of chronic pulmonary edema and pulmonary edema due to altitude when symptoms worsen very quickly.
As the first treatment of pulmonary edema, doctors will usually provide oxygen sufferers. In addition, administration of morphine class drugs may also be done to help relieve symptoms of shortness of breath and panic.
To reduce pressure on the lungs and heart from fluid buildup, nitroglycerin and diuretic administration (eg furosemide) can be done. In addition, nitroprusside may also be given to reduce the pressure that occurs in the left ventricle of the heart and widen the blood vessels.
If diuretics are considered not able to cope with fluid accumulation, then the method of suctioning fluid from the lungs through the throat with a hose or even surgical procedures to remove fluids can be done.
In cases of Acute pulmonary edema that occurs above the altitude, in addition to oxygen delivery and evacuation action to lower altitudes, we can also provide nifedipine in the patient as the first treatment to help reduce the pressure inside the pulmonary artery and relieve the condition. Apart from being a pulmonary edema drug, nifedipine can also be taken to prevent this condition before climbing. Consult with your doctor first about the dose and the rules of using nifedipine if it will be used as a medicine to prevent pulmonary edema although usually this drug taken the day before the ascent.
Prevention of Acute Pulmonary Edema
In order to avoid Acute pulmonary edema, practice a healthy lifestyle in your daily life by exercising as much as 30 minutes each day and eating healthy foods. Healthy foods in question can be vegetables, fruits, low-fat, low-sugar, and low-salt foods to keep your weight, cholesterol level and blood pressure always at safe limits. Also, stay away from cigarette smoke, limit your alcohol intake, and avoid stress.