Definition of "pulmonary edema."
It is the abnormal accumulation of fluid that results when the heart cannot pump enough blood from the lungs to the rest of the body.
Fluid from the small blood vessels of the lungs rapidly oozes from the vessels into the lungs.
It typically occurs at night, after lying down for several hours.
Possible causes of pulmonary edema.
Heart failure (most common).
Intravenous fluid overload.
Intravenous drug overdose.
Signs and symptoms of pulmonary edema (typically begin after lying down a few hours).
Slight shortness of breath.
Extreme shortness of breath.
Noisy, moist respirations.
Cough with frothy, pink-tinged sputum.
Rapid heart rate.
Decreased level of consciousness.
Shock (blood pressure drops, and client may lose consciousness).
Measures to prevent a recurrence of pulmonary edema.
Follow activity as ordered, with planned rest periods.
Restrict sodium. (Provide "Restrict Sodium" handout.)
Weigh daily for early detection of fluid retention.
Sleep with head of bed elevated (place head of bed on 10-inch blocks).
Avoid people with upper respiratory infections.
Notify doctor if the following symptoms occur:
Change in sputum characteristics.
Decreased activity tolerance.
Increased cough or chest fullness.
Noisy, moist breathing.
Swelling of lower extremities.
What to do if pulmonary edema occurs.
Call an ambulance and notify physician. (Have emergency number next to the phone.)
Sit with head and shoulders up and feet down to favor pooling of the blood to the lower dependent portions of the body.
Do not panic. (Family members should provide emotional support to decrease anxiety.)
Possible complications of pulmonary edema.