Fluid behind the lungs (pulmonary edema) due to heart problems

Difficulty breathing, chest pain, shortness of breath, panic, sweating and a changing skin color can be signs of acute pulmonary edema. It means that fluid enters the lungs, causing fluid to hinder the functioning of alveoli (alveoli). What is the relationship between “fluid behind the lungs” and heart problems and why can fluid seep into the lungs?

Fluid behind the lungs, pulmonary edema

  • Functioning of the lungs
  • Main symptoms of pulmonary edema
  • Relationship with the heart
  • Not related to the heart
  • Immediately to hospital if there is fluid behind the lungs


Functioning of the lungs

We assume that the lungs work optimally, and we always obtain sufficient oxygen. Vesicles are present in the lungs, which are the body’s gas exchanger. When you breathe in, oxygen is supplied. This is added to the blood via the alveoli. However, when exhaled, carbon dioxide leaves the body, which is also removed from the blood via the alveoli. In other words, the lungs ensure that we are supplied with oxygen-rich blood, which allows muscles, tissues, organs, etc. to continue to function optimally. What can be the symptoms of the condition and what causes it?

Main symptoms of pulmonary edema

If it occurs in an acute form, there may be an accelerated build-up of fluid. It can give the feeling as if one is suffocating, in which fear plays an important role. It is therefore possible that after a night’s sleep one suddenly wakes up in the circumstance. Because insufficient oxygen-rich blood is supplied, the skin turns pale. There may be a lot of anxious sweating, it is accompanied by palpitations (increased adrenaline level) and rapid breathing. It often occurs in combination with chest pain due to fluid accumulation in the lungs and on the other hand with pain in the heart.

Relationship with the heart

The heart is the engine of the body and ensures the supply and drainage of blood and fluid. However, if problems arise in the heart, this can affect the functioning of the lungs. What heart problems can cause fluid behind the lungs?

Left ventricle

If the left ventricle has insufficient capacity to pump blood, the pressure in the left atrium will increase. This can also be due to a pressure difference with the right ventricle. The blood supplying coronary artery comes under pressure. This directly affects the pressure in the veins around the lungs. Fluid is normally retained in the blood by albumin, but if the pressure is too high it seeps into the alveoli.

Heart attack

A heart attack caused by arteriosclerosis causes part of the heart muscles to die and therefore has insufficient pumping power. This is similar to a blockage of blood, meaning it will be more concentrated around the lungs. It also causes fluid to penetrate into the lungs.


A heart valve does not close properly, allowing blood to flow back, such as the left ventricular heart valve. There may be heart cancer, or there are other problems with the blood pump function.
The above indicates that if problems arise in the left ventricle (heart chamber), this will have immediate consequences for the lungs. Fluid can build up and cause serious symptoms with complications.

Not related to the heart

In addition to the previous serious heart problems, there can also be other physical causes. Consider pneumonia, inhaling ammonia or chlorine, insufficient drainage capacity of the kidneys (possibly a disturbed ADH hormone level), smoking or drug use. In addition, lung cancer can also cause fluid problems.

Immediately to hospital if there is fluid behind the lungs

If some of the above symptoms occur quickly, it is immediately necessary to go to the hospital or call 112. Medical assistance is important immediately, because there may be an emergency or life-threatening situation. The cause of the condition must be determined in the hospital so that appropriate intervention can be taken. Heart problems that cause pulmonary edema must be taken seriously immediately, because it can have serious consequences.

read more

  • Chest drainage for collapsed lung or collapsed lung
  • Breathing problems due to fluid in the lung membranes: pleural puncture
  • Severe shortness of breath due to double pneumonia
  • Poor breathing due to fibrosis: emphysema COPD
  • Aluminum intake: pulmonary fibrosis, Alzheimer’s and nervous disorders
Scroll to Top