Fluid in the lungs caused by heart problems
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
Your lungs contain many small air sacs, which are called alveoli. Normally, these sacs bring in oxygen when you inhale and release carbon dioxide when you exhale. But in people with pulmonary edema, alveoli can fill with fluid instead of air, which means you’re not getting enough oxygen when you breathe.
Pulmonary edema most often is caused by heart failure. Our Advanced Heart Failure Program is unmatched in the mid-Atlantic region for quality of care and patient outcomes for heart failure and related conditions.
Other heart conditions that can cause pulmonary edema include:
- Cardiomyopathy, or damage to the heart muscle
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attack
- Heart valve disease
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
What are the symptoms of pulmonary edema?
Pulmonary edema symptoms can appear suddenly or come on gradually over time. Some of the symptoms you may notice include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in the legs or feet
Diagnosing pulmonary edema starts with a physical exam, including listening for fluid in the lungs with a stethoscope. Your doctor may use blood tests or other procedures to determine if you have pulmonary edema and whether it’s heart related.
Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.
Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart and chest wall.
An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.