Category Archives: Acute Cardiogenic Pulmonary Edema

Question: How can someone differentiate between crackles found in Acute Cardiogenic Pulmonary Edema between those found in pneumonia?

Question: A patient is presenting with pulmonary edema. Patient became more symptomatic before calling and dyspnea worsened. Upon gathering history and taking vitals, they meet the criteria for Nitro and CPAP. The patient is currently prescribed Lasix for fluid in the lungs from doctor visit one week ago.

With the history of pulmonary edema and being prescribed Lasix for fluid in the lungs, would this now be considered Non-Acute Pulmonary Edema?

I need a better understanding of Acute Pulmonary Edema vs. Non-Acute Pulmonary Edema. The CPAP protocol indication lists: Suspected Acute Pulmonary Edema.

Since the pulmonary edema is non-acute would CPAP and Nitro be withheld? Or, since the symptoms have worsened, provided I can recognize a patient that is truly in need of CPAP and Nitro, would I administer them? I want to clarify - thanks.

Question: I have been talking with my paramedic colleagues and I am wondering about the role of CPAP and aspiration. My understanding of the Medical Directive is that CPAP is not indicated for pneumonia or aspiration but rather severe SOB from either COPD or pulmonary edema. Can you please clarify the role of CPAP for respiratory distress patients with either pneumonia or aspiration as the underlying precipitating factor for their SOB?

Question: I have a question regarding congestive heart failure (CHF) and ASA. If a patient is having acute CHF and is coughing up blood but is also having chest pain are they still a candidate to receive ASA given the active "bleeding". I would think the blood from back up into your lungs is different than the blood from an ulcer or something. Thanks for your help.

Question: Last night I had a 75 year old patient calling because he was SOB x 2 days with it worsening this evening. Patient could not sleep (could not breathe very well laying down) and was more SOB on exertion. I could hear fine crackles in the bases of his lungs.

There was no ischemic chest pain or NTG history. His vitals on contact were HR 90, BP 188/70 (ish), SPO2 95% on Room air, 100% on NRB, RR 24 verified with an with ETCO2 of 40mmHg, No ST changes in 12 lead.

He had some slight increased work of breathing on scene with mild increased diaphragmatic use but was speaking full sentences and in good spirits with us. Patient had a history of COPD and CHF. He also stated he had taken some of his Ventolin puffers prior to our arrival with no relief (probably made things worse). I wanted to treat him with NTG but he did not seem to be in enough distress initially, so I kept him on the NRB which he stated help initially. We got to the truck and started an IV enroute, then administered 0.8mg NTG. Literally... within about 2 minutes of the NTG admin, while I was patching, the patient had a sudden onset of severe SOB. We were right outside the hospital, so I grabbed my BVM, assisted his respirations distress until my partner could get us out of the truck and help me put CPAP on. CPAP helped and he was back to normal shortly after our transfer of care.

My question is, should I have used the CPAP right away with the NTG, even though the patient was not showing signs of severe respiratory distress at the time, and on numerous auscultations of the lung, did not have any increase in crackles... until of course, he developed that sudden severe respiratory distress? My gut was to CPAP him early, but I felt he did not fit the protocol yet given his level of dyspnea, SPO2 sats, RR and minimal accessory muscle use.

Question: A nitro virgin patient presenting with chest pain attends a doctor's office. Doctor administers 1 spray of nitro prior to EMS arrival. Upon assessment by EMS, patient still presents with chest pain. Is the patient still considered a virgin nitro patient as this is the first incident he/she has had with nitro? Or since the doctor administered a spray, does that count as a previous use of nitro?

Question: We are instructed to get the nitro in, if applicable, apply the CPAP and if there is improvement, do not remove the mask for additional nitro sprays. Is the improvement slight or significant? If slight improvement, do we leave the pressure at the slight improvement pressure or titrate 2.5cmH2O?

Question: If respirations are at or above 28, historically paramedics are taught to assist via BVM. What is the rationale with pulmonary edema to apply NRB with tachypnea instead of assisting with a BVM until CPAP and or nitro is prepared?

Question: CPAP for CHF and COPD is to maintain a constant pressure in the airways (splinting with COPD) and to help push the fluid out of the alveoli and into the circulation with CHF. Would paramedics who do not have CPAP available be wrong, if the patient is conscious and tolerates, assist each inhalation with a BVM to increase tidal volume and create more positive pressure during inhalation, although not maintained with exhalation, in an attempt to force the fluid out with CHF. Debate is that we assist the ventilation at one breath every 5 seconds or 12/minute unless hyperventilating due to head trauma and respiratory problems with coning of the pupil(s). Thanks for the assistance.

Question: If we are treating a patient with acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema that is a nitro virgin that's blood pressure is above 140 systolic and then their blood pressure drops below 140 systolic but not by one third then can we consider them now as not being a nitro virgin and therefore continue treating them with 0.4 nitro? Thank you for taking the time to answer all of these questions.

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