ICU Chest Films > Fluid in the Chest > Pulmonary Edema > Cardiac vs. Non Cardiac

Cardiac vs. Non Cardiac Pulmonary Edema

The chest film may play a role in differentiating cardiac versus non-cardiac forms of pulmonary edema. Cardiac edema is usually characterized by cardiac enlargment, pleural effusions, pulmonary vascular redistribution to the upper lobes, Kerley's lines, peribronchial blurring, and basal edema. Although, there may be exceptions in patients suffering acute cardiac injury. Pulmonary edema caused by inhaled irritants usually has a more mottled appearance and may be more peripherally distributed. These causes of non-cardiac pulmonary edema can be remembered by the simple mnemonic NOT CARDIAC: Near drowing, Oxygen therapy, Transfusion or Trauma (fat embolism), Central nervous disorder, ARDS or Aspiration or Altitude sickness, Renal disorder or Resuscitation, Drugs, Inhaled toxins, Allergic alveolitis, Contrast or Contusion.

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