Acute Pulmonary Edema | Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Pulmonary edema is a condition of the respiratory system in which excessive fluid accumulates within the air sacs of the lungs. When the disease develops over a short period, it is termed Acute Pulmonary Edema. When it worsens slowly, it is called chronic pulmonary edema. Another variant known as “flash” pulmonary edema happens almost instantly after the occurrence of a precipitating event.


The most common symptom of acute pulmonary edema is a rapidly progressive shortness of breath. Whereas a healthy person may breathe heavily only with strenuous exercise, a patient with acute pulmonary edema may do so while performing routine daily activities, or even at rest.

Coughing up blood is another symptom of the disease. This usually means that the patient produces sputum tinged with blood, appearing pink in colour.

Patients may also experience a high-pitched whistling sound when they breathe. This “wheezing” is caused by a narrowing of the airways, which is also associated with this condition. Your physician may use a stethoscope to better identify this abnormal respiratory noise.

» Now, let’s discuss acute pulmonary edema causes.