Negative pressure pulmonary edema—a postanesthesia emergency

Shauna Ely Tarrac
Journal of Perianesthesia Nursing: Official Journal of the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses 2003, 18 (5): 317-23
Negative pressure pulmonary edema (also known as postobstructive pulmonary edema) is one form of noncardiogenic pulmonary edema that can occur following any general anesthetic in which the patient was intubated. This complication can be severe, resulting in death if not diagnosed and treated promptly. This review explains the cause, incidence, symptomatology, and treatment of patients with this form of noncardiogenic pulmonary edema. A case study is also included to highlight how a patient may present with this complication in the PACU. This article is meant as a review and resource to nurses caring for postanesthesia patients in the PACU, ICU, or surgical floor because documented cases of negative pressure pulmonary edema have occurred as late as 6 hours postoperatively.

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