Hemodynamic Determinants of Pulmonary Edema and Pleural Effusions

  • S. J. Allen
Part of the Developments in Critical Care Medicine and Anesthesiology book series (DCCA, volume 25)


Pulmonary edema is a pathologie process in which the water content of the pulmonary interstitium is greater than normal. But what does this mean to the patient? Small amounts of edema in the lungs may cause little in the way of signs or symptoms. However, as pulmonary edema increases, lung function is impaired in two ways. First, the increased amount of fluid in the lung parenchyma increases the stiffness (decreases the compliance) of the lungs. This produces a restrictive type defect in pulmonary function testing. The typical ventilatory pattern of patients with restrietive defects is fast and shallow. Thus, tachypnea may be the first sign of pulmonary edema. In patients with marginal pulmonary reserve, the increased work of breathing may be sufficient to produce respiratory failure.


Pleural Effusion Pulmonary Edema Capillary Pressure Pulmonary Capillary Wedge Pressure Pleural Fluid 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

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  • S. J. Allen

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