Cardiac asthma

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Cardiac asthma
Classification and external resources
Specialty cardiology
ICD-10 I50.1
ICD-9-CM 428.1
MeSH D004418

Cardiac asthma is a medical diagnosis of wheezing, coughing or shortness of breath due to congestive heart failure. It is known as cardiac asthma because the symptoms mimic ordinary asthma. One study found that patients with cardiac asthma represented one third of congestive heart failure in elderly patients.[1]

Depending on severity, it may be classified as a medical emergency as it can be a symptom of acute heart failure leading to the buildup of fluids in the lungs (pulmonary edema) as well as within and around the airways.

The distinction between true asthma and cardiac asthma is especially important because some treatments for true asthma, including inhalers, may actually worsen cardiac asthma and cause severe heart arrhythmias.

True asthma, in contrast, is caused by the inflammation and eventual narrowing down of airways. This is what causes the breathing difficulties that are characteristic to asthma. True asthma has nothing to do with fluid in the lungs or heart disease, or even the heart failure which is so associated with cardiac asthma.



  1. ^ Jorge S, Becquemin MH, Delerme S, Bennaceur M, Isnard R, Achkar R, et al. (2007). "Cardiac asthma in elderly patients: incidence, clinical presentation and outcome.". BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 7: 16. doi:10.1186/1471-2261-7-16. PMC 1878501free to read. PMID 17498318.