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Edema is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Clinically apparent accumulation of extravascular fluid due to a derangement in the balance of oncotic and hydrostatic forces:
    • Increase in venous/capillary hydrostatic pressure
    • Decrease in plasma oncotic pressure
    • Increase in interstitial oncotic pressure
    • Increase in capillary permeability
    • Increase in lymphatic pressure due to obstruction
    • Combination of these factors
  • Generalized, as with CHF or nephrotic syndrome
  • Localized, as with deep vein thrombosis
  • Increased venous hydrostatic pressure or decreased oncotic pressure results in pitting edema
  • Protein-rich extravasated fluid results in nonpitting edema
  • In certain disorders, there is no clear relation to Starling forces:
    • Idiopathic (cyclic) edema:
      • Worsened with heat
      • More common in women
      • Not necessarily related to menses


  • Generalized:
    • Heart failure
    • Cor pulmonale
    • Cardiomyopathies
    • Constrictive pericarditis
    • Pulmonary HTN:
      • Sleep apnea
      • COPD
    • Acute glomerulonephritis
    • Renal failure
    • Medication related (often secondary to salt retention):
      • Steroids/estrogens/progestins
      • NSAIDs
      • Antihypertensives (especially vasodilators)
      • Lithium
      • Cyclosporine
      • Insulin
      • Thiazolidinediones (glitazones)
      • Growth hormone
      • Interleukin-2
      • MAOIs
      • Pramipexole
      • Docetaxel
      • Minoxidil
      • Acute withdrawal of diuretics
    • Idiopathic (cyclic) edema
    • Myxedema
    • Cirrhosis
    • Nephrotic syndrome
    • Protein-losing enteropathy/malabsorption
    • Starvation
    • Pregnancy
  • Localized:
    • Deep vein thrombosis
    • Venous insufficiency
    • Thrombophlebitis
    • Chronic lymphangitis
    • Cellulitis
    • Baker cyst
    • Vasculitis
    • Angioedema:
      • Allergic
      • Acquired
    • Hypothyroidism (myxedema)
    • Mechanical trauma
    • Thermal injuries
    • Radiation injuries
    • Chemical burns
    • Hemiplegia
    • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
    • Compressive or invasive tumor
    • Postsurgical resection of lymphatics
    • Postirradiation
    • Filariasis

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Edema." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307198/all/Edema.
Edema. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307198/all/Edema. Accessed April 24, 2019.
Edema. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307198/all/Edema
Edema [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 24]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307198/all/Edema.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Edema ID - 307198 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307198/all/Edema PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -