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Highly Accessed Review

Neurogenic pulmonary edema

Danielle L Davison, Megan Terek and Lakhmir S Chawla*

Author Affiliations

Department of Critical Care Medicine and Anesthesiology, George Washington University Medical Center, 900 23rd Street NW, Room G-105, Washington, DC 20037, USA

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Critical Care 2012, 16:212  doi:10.1186/cc11226

Published: 20 March 2012

First paragraph (this article has no abstract)

Neurogenic pulmonary edema (NPE) is a clinical syndrome characterized by the acute onset of pulmonary edema following a significant central nervous system (CNS) insult. The etiology is thought to be a surge of catecholamines that results in cardiopulmonary dysfunction. A myriad of CNS events, including spinal cord injury, subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), traumatic brain injury (TBI), intracranial hemorrhage, status epilepticus, meningitis, and subdural hemorrhage, have been associated with this syndrome [1-5]. Although NPE was identified over 100 years ago, it is still underappreciated in the clinical arena. Its sporadic and relatively unpredictable nature and a lack of etiologic-specific diagnostic markers and treatment modalities may in part be responsible for its poor recognition at the bedside. In this manuscript, we will review the anatomical origin of NPE, outline the various possible pathophysiologic mechanisms responsible for its development, and propose a clinical framework for the classification of NPE.