The key difference between CHF and pulmonary edema is that CHF is a condition that occurs when the heart fails to pump enough blood to give the body a normal blood supply, while pulmonary edema is a condition that occurs when there is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the lungs.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) and pulmonary edema are two associated medical conditions. This is because pulmonary edema is caused by congestive heart failure. Congestive heart failure is a long-term condition that happens when the heart is unable to pump blood well enough to give the body the required amount of blood. Due to this, blood and fluids accumulate in the lungs and legs over time, leading to pulmonary edema.
What is CHF?
CHF, or congestive heart failure, is a long-term condition in which the heart fails to pump blood well enough to meet the needs of the body. There are three main types of CHF: left-sided heart failure, right-sided heart failure, and high-output heart failure. CHF is present in more than 6 million people in the United States. Moreover, it is the leading cause of hospitalization in people who are older than 65. The common symptoms of CHF include shortness of breath, waking up at night due to difficulty in breathing, chest pain, heart palpitation, fatigue, swelling in the ankles, legs, and abdomen, weight gain, need to urinate at night, a dry cough, bloated stomach, and loss of appetite or nausea. CHF is caused by heart attack, cardiomyopathy, heart issues at birth, diabetes, hypertension, arrhythmia, kidney disease, obesity, tobacco and recreational drug use, alcohol use, and cancer drugs.
CHF is diagnosed through family history, physical examination, blood tests, cardiac catheterization, chest X-ray, echocardiogram, heart MRI, cardiac CT scan, EKG or ECG, multi-gated acquisition scan, stress test, and genetic testing. Furthermore, CHF can be treated through lifestyle changes, medications (vasodilators, diuretics, aldosterone, ACE inhibitors, digitalis glycosides, anticoagulants, beta-blockers, tranquilizers), and surgeries to open or bypass blocked arteries or to replace heart valves.
What is Pulmonary Edema?
Pulmonary edema is a condition due to fluid buildup in the many air sacs in the lungs, which make it difficult to breathe. The common symptoms of this condition may include difficulty in breathing, a feeling of suffocation, a cough that produces frothy sputum with blood in it, palpitation, anxiety, restlessness, cold, clammy skin, wheezing, wakening at night, fatigue, rapid weight gain, and swelling in the legs and feet. Pulmonary edema is mainly caused by congestive heart failure and adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
Pulmonary edema is diagnosed through physical examination, complete blood count (CBC), other blood chemistries, pulse oximetry, chest X-ray, echocardiogram, ultrasound, electrocardiogram (EKG), and cardiac catheterization. Furthermore, pulmonary edema is treated through diuretics, blood pressure drugs, inotropes for heart failure, morphine for shortness of breath, lifestyle, and home remedies.
What are the Similarities Between CHF and Pulmonary Edema?
- CHF and pulmonary edema are two associated medical conditions.
- Pulmonary edema is caused by congestive heart failure.
- They can cause different complications.
- Both conditions can be diagnosed through physical examination, chest X-ray, echocardiogram, electrocardiogram (EKG), etc.
- They can be treated through specific medications.
What is the Difference Between CHF and Pulmonary Edema?
CHF is a condition that occurs when the heart cannot pump blood well enough to give the body a normal blood supply, while pulmonary edema is a condition that occurs when there is an abnormal build-up of fluid in the lungs. Thus, this is the key difference between CHF and pulmonary edema. Furthermore, CHF is caused by heart attacks, cardiomyopathy, heart issues at birth, diabetes, hypertension, arrhythmia, kidney disease, obesity, tobacco and recreational drug use, alcohol use, and cancer drugs. On the other hand, pulmonary edema is caused by congestive heart failure and adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
The below infographic presents the differences between CHF and pulmonary edema in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – CHF vs Pulmonary Edema
Congestive heart failure affects nearly 6 million Americans. It is the main reason for hospitalization in people older than 65. In congestive heart failure, the heart works less efficiently than normal. As a result of this, the kidney does not respond, and fluids build up in the arms, legs, ankles, feet, lungs, or other organs. Ultimately, this leads to pulmonary edema. So, this summarizes the difference between CHF and pulmonary edema.
1. “Chest radiograph with signs of congestive heart failure – annotated” By Mikael Häggström – Own work (CC0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “PulmEdema” By James Heilman, MD – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia