Postobstructive pulmonary edema following anesthesia

I A Herrick, B Mahendran, F J Penny
Journal of Clinical Anesthesia 1990, 2 (2): 116-20
Pulmonary edema developing after the relief of upper airway obstruction has been reported in association with a diversity of etiologic factors, including hanging, strangulation, tumors, foreign bodies, goiter, and laryngospasm. Since 1977, 18 cases of adults with postobstructive pulmonary edema associated with anesthesia have been reported. A case is presented of a healthy 20-year-old male who developed pulmonary edema following two episodes of acute upper airway obstruction associated with general anesthesia. Postanesthetic laryngospasm has been implicated as the most frequent cause of this syndrome in adults. Risk factors for the development of upper airway obstruction have been identified in the majority of these cases. A heightened awareness among anesthesiologists of this poorly recognized and hence often perplexing syndrome may help reduce the occurrence and facilitate the treatment of this potential complication of perioperative airway management.

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