Tag Archives: alveoli

Chest 101; Watery World

15 Dec

Chest 101; Watery World

This collection of photographs included in this image was taken whilst out on an exercise with our Rural Fire Brigade of which I am a (very junior) member. It was to review fire-breaks in the surrounding area, and there was not a lick of fire in sight, fortunately, because we were in the midst of a severe drought, and the place would have gone up like a bonfire. Ironically the picture looks as though a flood has gone through. It is a little like our bottom paddock that in the wet season sits about five or six inches deep in water.

The watery theme continues in the Chest X-ray. It was from a man with severe acute pulmonary oedema. The commonest cause of this is from a myocardial infarct (a heart attack) which causes the left ventricle of the heart to fail suddenly causing massive change in pressures of the blood vessels of the lung with out-pouring of watery fluid into the alveoli – the air-sacs of the lung tissue. They fill up with water and displace air. If the situation is allowed to continue without treatment the person literally drowns in their own fluid. Fortunately this condition often responds rapidly to treatment; even just sitting the person up helps to relieve symptoms, but this must be followed with more active support measures.


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