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Pulmonary Edema.

Synonym.—Edema of the Lungs.

Definition.—A transudation of serum into the air-vessels, and often into the bronchi and interstitial tissue of the lungs.

Etiology.—The edema may be general or local, according to the causes giving rise to this condition.

General edema depends upon active or passive hyperemia, more frequently the latter condition. It may also be caused by feeble heart-action due to dilatation, degeneration, or to pericarditis. Hydremia resulting from hepatic cirrhosis, chronic nephritis, cachexia, or profound anemia, may also be responsible for pulmonary edema.

Pathology.—The lung is heavy, though when placed in water it floats. It pits on pressure, and, when incised, exudes a blood-tinged serum. The edema is most marked at the base and dependent portions of the lung.

Symptoms.—In addition to the symptoms of the disease giving rise to the edema, there will be rapid respiration, marked dyspnea, cough attended by expectoration of frothy, bloodstained, serous material. Cyanosis is often very pronounced.

Percussion reveals marked dullness, especially over the dependent portion of the lungs.

Auscultation gives rales of varying character. General dropsy may follow.

Prognosis.—This is always a grave disease, though, when the causes can be removed, a cure occasionally results.

Treatment.—The treatment is largely directed to the primary disease. Such remedies as apocynum, strophanthus, convallaria, and kindred remedies will afford some relief.

The bowels should be kept open, the secretion of the kidneys maintained, though not overstimulated, and such remedies employed as the case may call for from day to day.


The Eclectic Practice of Medicine, 1907, was written by Rolla L. Thomas, M. S., M. D.



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