Acute pulmonary edema in the emergency department: Clinical and echocardiographic survey in an aged population

Ariel G. Bentancur, Jonathan Rieck, Robert Koldanov, Rachel S. Dankner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: This study is aimed at better defining the prevalence of left ventricular dysfunction, atrial fibrillation, and mitral regurgitation in aged patients with cardiogenic acute pulmonary edema. Methods: One hundred and twenty-three consecutive patients with acute pulmonary edema (APE) arriving at the emergency department of a peripheral hospital who underwent Doppler echocardiography within 36 hours of admission were reviewed retrospectively. Results: Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) was normal or near normal (ie, LVEF≥40%) in 41.4% (n = 51 patients), and depressed in 58.5% (n = 72). Significant valvular dysfunction was present in 37.4%; mitral regurgitation was the most frequent (22.8%; n = 28). We found a significant positive correlation between systolic blood pressure (SBP) and LVEF (P = 0.003). Within the group of patients presenting with lower SBP (≤140 mm Hg), as blood pressure diminished, LVEF also diminished significantly (P = 0.008). In a logistic regression analysis, male sex and SBP of less than 120 mm Hg were found to be the strongest predictors for LVEF ≤40%, conferring a 2.68- and 2.73-fold risk, respectively (95%Cl, 1.19 to -6.00; P = 0.016 and 95%Cl, 0.956-7.80; P = 0.061, respectively) compared with female sex and higher SBP groups. Conclusions: This study emphasizes that emergency departments should have clear-cut policies for diagnosing and treating acute coronary syndromes and tachyarrhythmias, as being potential treatable causes of APE. Once stabilized, patients should be examined for treatable valvular causes. A further study, of acute echocardiography done upon arrival to the emergency department in patients with APE is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-243
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of the Medical Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute pulmonary edema
  • Echocardiography
  • Elderly patient
  • Systolic function


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