Pulmonary Edema refers to fluid retention in lungs and is often caused by congestive heart failure. In this condition, the heart is not able to pump blood to the body efficiently; it can back up into the veins that take blood through the lungs to the left side of the heart. Congestive heart failure that leads to pulmonary edema may be caused by:

  • Heart attack, or any disease of the heart that weakens or stiffens the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy)
  • Leaking or narrowed heart valves (mitral or aortic valves)
  • Sudden, severe high blood pressure (hypertension)

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of pulmonary edema include:

  • Coughing up blood or bloody forth
  • Difficulty in breathing when lying down
  • Inability to speak in full sentences
  • Grunting, gurgling, or wheezing sounds while breathing


The possible causes of pulmonary edema are:

  • Heart attack
  • Leaking or narrowed heart valves
  • Sudden, severe high blood pressure
  • Certain medications
  • Major injury
  • Kidney failure
  • High altitude exposure


Pulmonary edema is generally treated in the emergency room of hospital, sometimes in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

  • Oxygen is supplied through face mask or tiny plastic tubes
  • Diuretics to remove excess fluids from the body
  • Medicines to strengthen the heart muscle, control the heartbeat, or ease pressure on the heart