Cardiac asthma symptoms

Updated April 17, 2017

Cardiac Asthma is a form of asthma that occurs as a result of congestive heart failure. It is associated with wheezing that happens when fluid builds up in the lungs after heart failure. Knowing the signs and symptoms of cardiac asthma is key when seeking treatment, because treatments for this condition are significantly different than those associated with general forms of asthma. Read on to find out more about cardiac asthma symptoms.


According to the Mayo Clinic, when fluid builds up in the lungs due to congestive heart failure, symptoms of cardiac asthma such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath may occur.


While the symptoms of cardiac asthma may be similar to asthma, it is not asthma in its typical form. Because pulmonary circulation becomes blocked, the bronchial tubes start to spasm as a result of the left side of the heart putting too much pressure on the lungs. This causes the valves of the heart to not function properly and prevents the lungs from working normally as well.

Time Frame

According to the American Chronicle, cardiac asthma symptoms tend to occur at night after a person with the condition goes to bed, and during exercise. Cardiac Asthma can be life threatening, and it is advised that people who experience its symptoms, seek medical advice immediately.


The symptoms of cardiac asthma can also signify an upcoming heart failure, according to The American Chronicle. While main symptoms are shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing, other symptoms can include increased blood pressure and heart rate, feelings of uneasiness, swollen ankles which get worse throughout the day, and increased rapid breathing. People who suffer from cardiac asthma generally wake up breathless after sleeping only a few hours and have to sit upright in order to catch their breath, according to the American Chronicle.


Although cardiac asthma can be life-threatening, there are ways to treat it. Once the condition is diagnosed through analysis of a patient's symptoms, surgery or the use of diuretics to remove excess fluid from the longs may be prescribed. In addition, cardiac asthma patients may also be given oxygen and bronchodilators. While treatment of asthma is geared towards opening up small bronchial tubes, treatment of cardiac asthma is focused on improving the heart's pumping functions. For children who suffer from congenital heart defects and have symptoms of cardiac asthma, it is important that they seek an evaluation from a congenital heart specialist. In addition to analysis of the symptoms, specialists may use a chest x-ray or echocardiogram to help identify the condition.

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