This review summarizes current understanding of the pathophysiology of cardiogenic pulmonary edema, its causes and treatment.
The pathobiology and classification of pulmonary edema is more complex than the hydrostatic vs. permeability dichotomy of the past. Mechanisms of alveolar fluid clearance and factors that affect the clearance rate are under intensive study to find therapeutic strategies. Patients need early stabilization of oxygenation and ventilation, preferably with high-flow nasal cannula oxygen or noninvasive ventilation whereas the diagnostic cause is quickly sought with echocardiography and other testing.
Treatments must be initiated early, whereas evaluation still is occurring and requires multimodality intervention. The general treatment of cardiogenic pulmonary edema includes diuretics, possibly morphine and often nitrates. The appropriate use of newer approaches – such as, nesiritide, high-dose vasodilators, milrinone, and vasopressin receptor antagonists – needs larger clinical trials.
Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Division, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Correspondence to David H. Ingbar, MD, Professor, Medicine, Pediatrics and Integrative Biology & Physiology, Director, Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Division, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA. Tel: +1 612 624 0999; e-mail: email@example.com