Pulmonary infarction is the death of a region of the lung tissue. This is due to a disruption in the blood supply that is caused by an obstruction in the blood vessels that supply the lung tissues.
What are the signs?
The indications of pulmonary infarction tend to vary. Generally, it can be accompanied by the following:
- Coughing up blood or hemoptysis
- Shortness of breath
- Pleurisy-like pain (chest pain in the site of infarction while drawing a breath)
In some instances, a pulmonary infarction will not trigger any symptoms.
What are the causes?
At the present, the usual cause of pulmonary infarction is pulmonary embolism. Nevertheless, various medical conditions can lead to infarction including autoimmune ailments such as lupus, cancer, infections, infiltrative lung diseases, sickle cell disease or embolization of air or other materials from an intravenous catheter.
Depending on the cause, pulmonary infarction is uncommon since the lung tissue have other potential sources for oxygen. This simply means that the condition is typically seen among those who have significant lung diseases such as COPD.
Management of pulmonary infarction
The treatment for pulmonary infarction generally involves supportive treatment and proper care of the primary condition.
The supportive management includes maintaining proper blood oxygenation with the administration of oxygen and controlling the pain to make breathing comfortable. In case adequate blood oxygen could not be maintained by providing oxygen via a face mask or nasal cannula, the individual requires intubation and placed on a ventilator.
The other treatment options are based on the possible underlying cause. Remember that aggressive treatment must be started for infection or sickle cell crisis. The treatment is taken to another level for any autoimmune condition that is responsible for the condition.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on pulmonary infarction is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the signs and how it is treated, register for a first aid and CPR course with Toronto First Aid.