Value of extravascular lung water measurement vs portable chest x-ray in the management of pulmonary edema

Crit Care Med. 1983 Jul;11(7):498-501. doi: 10.1097/00003246-198307000-00003.


Variability in technique and reporting time may limit radiographic quantitation of extravascular lung water by portable chest x-ray in critically ill patients. Using double indicator dilution technique and a commercially available lung water computer, we measured extravascular thermal volume (ETVL) in 14 patients with x-ray evidence of pulmonary edema and compared these results to x-ray quantitation of pulmonary edema. The diagnosis of pulmonary edema by interpretation of initial x-rays in each patient's series was 64% accurate as 5 of 14 patients had normal ETVL. Estimation of the magnitude of change in ETVL by radiologic interpretation was 42% accurate. No correlation was found between venous admixture Qsp/Qt, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (WP) or ETVL values. Measurement of ETVL may aid in the care of critically ill patients with suspected pulmonary edema.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Water / analysis*
  • Diuretics / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / etiology
  • Hypoxia / therapy
  • Indicator Dilution Techniques
  • Lung / analysis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morphine / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Edema / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Edema / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Edema / therapy*
  • Pulmonary Wedge Pressure
  • Radiography, Thoracic / methods*
  • Ventilators, Mechanical


  • Diuretics
  • Morphine