The respiratory system is responsible for exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen. The alveoli, the air sacs that line the interior of the lungs, help in that process. Pulmonary Edema occurs when fluid builds up in the alveoli. This build-up interferes with the exchange of gas and leads to respiratory failure. It can strike all at once or occur over time. When it happens suddenly, it is a medical emergency and must be dealt with immediately.
Patients who are in hospital with acute pulmonary edema have a higher risk of mortality. Especially if they also have Coronary Artery Disease that has already weakened the heart. Up to 20% of those who were admitted to the hospital for edema were re-admitted for non-fatal heart failure within 45 months. There is clear evidence that patients who do not change their lifestyle after experiencing pulmonary edema are more likely to die from it in the future.