Pulmonary Edema at 40x Magnification
Pulmonary edema is a swelling and accumulation of fluid in the lungs. The serious condition is most often caused by heart failure or some other cardiac condition that weakens or stiffens the muscle tissue of the heart. In such cases, the decreased functionality of the heart leads to an elevation of the pressure in the pulmonary veins and, consequently, fluid is forced into the alveoli. Other causes of pulmonary edema include excessive accumulation of body fluids related to kidney failure or another medical problem, living in or traveling to areas at high altitudes, and injury to the lungs related to serious infections, such as pneumonia, smoke inhalation, or exposure to toxins or certain medications.