If pulmonary edema continues, it can raise pressure in the pulmonary artery and eventually the right ventricle begins to fail. The right ventricle has a much thinner wall of muscle than does the left side because it is under less pressure to pump blood into the lungs. The increased pressure backs up into the right atrium and then into various parts of your body, where it can cause:

  • Leg swelling (edema)
  • Abdominal swelling (ascites)
  • Buildup of fluid in the membranes that surround your lungs (pleural effusion)
  • Congestion and swelling of the liver

When not treated, acute pulmonary edema can be fatal. In some instances it may be fatal even if you receive treatment.

Jul. 29, 2011

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