Methods for detecting pulmonary edema.
Pulmonary edema appears to develop in three phases: after an initial injury to the lung, permeability of the air-blood barrier to water increases; a subsequent increase in movement of extra-vascular fluid; and finally, there is a significant increase in extravascular fluid volume (interstitial and alveolar). Ideally, early detection should monitor the initial phases of pulmonary edema, namely, the injury and the increased permeability. All established clinical and most of the research methods, however, monitor only the final or volume phase of the edema process. The chest radiograph is perhaps the most commonly used method for clinical detection of pulmonary edema, although it lacks the sensitivity for assessment of edema much before clinical signs are apparent. This paper reviews some of the clinical and research methods for detecting pulmonary edema with special emphasis on radiographic methods.
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