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Friday, August 31, 2012

Does BiPAP force pulmonary edema from lungs?

Your Question: Is it true that BiPAP pushes pulmonary edema out of the lungs?

My humble answer: The idea that the BiPAP pushes fluid out of the lungs is a fallacy. It does nothing of the sort. I contemplated this and did some research. The best answer I could find came from Jeffrey Sankoff, MD, from Emergency Physicians. I will post what he wrote about this topic below and the next time you have a doctor say that you can show him this report:

Contrary to popular belief, NIMV does NOT push edema fluid out of the lungs. Patients with acute CHF have an imbalance in the CO (cardiac output) of the right and left sides of the heart. With the inciting event (detailed above) the left ventricle becomes compromised but the right ventricle usually does not. So the right ventricle continues to pump forward a normal volume of blood but the left ventricle becomes unable to keep pace. Fluid backs up into the lungs resulting in capillary leak and pulmonary edema. With NIMV, the resultant positive intra-thoracic pressure decreases venous return (blood flowing back to the heart). This reduces right-sided CO to a level that the left heart can equal or even exceed. Fluid ceases to back up and will even begin to be reabsorbed as left ventricular CO improves. Pulmonary edema ceases to worsen and may even diminish, often rapidly.

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