Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care – Most Recent



To review various types of noncardiogenic pulmonary edema (NCPE) in cats and dogs.


NCPE is an abnormal fluid accumulation in the lung interstitium or alveoli that is not caused by cardiogenic causes or fluid overload. It can be due to changes in vascular permeability, hydrostatic pressure in the pulmonary vasculature, or a combination thereof. Possible causes include inflammatory states within the lung or in remote tissues (acute respiratory distress syndrome [ARDS]), airway obstruction (post-obstructive pulmonary edema), neurologic disease such as head trauma or seizures (neurogenic pulmonary edema), electrocution, after re-expansion of a collapsed lung or after drowning.


Diagnosis of NCPE is generally based on history, physical examination, and diagnostic imaging. Radiographic findings suggestive of NCPE are interstitial to alveolar pulmonary opacities in the absence of signs of left-sided congestive heart failure or fluid overload such as cardiomegaly or congested pulmonary veins. Computed tomography and edema fluid analysis may aid in the diagnosis, while some forms of NCPE require additional findings to reach a diagnosis.


The goal of therapy for all types of NCPE is to preserve tissue oxygenation and reduce the work of breathing. This may be achieved by removing the inciting cause (eg, airway obstruction) and cage rest in mild cases and supplemental oxygen in moderate cases and may require mechanical ventilation in severe cases.


Prognosis is generally good for most causes of veterinary NCPE except for ARDS, although data are scarce for some etiologies of NCPE.

Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, EarlyView.Wiley: Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care: Table of Contents

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