Signs and Symptoms of Pulmonary Edema
- Severe breathing difficulty, including wheezing; rapid, shallow breathing; and a feeling of suffocation
- Cough, dry at first, but later producing pink, frothy sputum
- Profuse perspiration
- Blue tinge to the nails, lips, or skin
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Loss of consciousness
- Sudden respiratory distress after sleep
- Wheezing or gurgling sounds when breathing
Pulmonary Edema Prevention
- To prevent heart disease, don’t smoke; eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet; exercise regularly; and lose weight if you are overweight.
- Have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked.
- Allow a few days to adjust to a higher altitude before engaging in strenuous physical activity. If you have an existing heart condition, your doctor may alter your medication prior to a high-altitude trip.
Diagnosis of Pulmonary Edema
- Patient history and examination of the chest is necessary.
- Blood samples are taken to measure oxygen and carbon dioxide content.
- A chest x-ray may be taken.
- Arterial blood gas (ABG) analysis may be performed to identify metabolic acidosis.
- An electrocardiogram (ECG) may be performed to identify a heart rhythm disturbance or evidence of a heart attack.
- Pulmonary artery catheterization may be performed to identify left ventricular failure.
- An ultrasound test (echocardiogram) may be performed to evaluate the pumping function and thickness of the heart, and to evaluate the mitral and aortic valves.
- A stress test or angiogram (injection of a contrasting dye into the blood vessels to make them clearly visible on x-rays) may be performed to check for the presence of coronary artery disease or narrowed arteries.
Johns Hopkins Symptoms and Remedies: The Complete Home Medical Reference
Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Editor
Prepared by the Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50
Updated by Remedy Health Media