Eighty-one consecutive cases of uncomplicated cardiogenic pulmonary edema (CPE) were retrospectively graded for severity of chest roentgenogram (CXR) changes and grouped according to primary acid-base abnormalities, either single or mixed. Mean age was 72, 50 male, 31 female. Twenty-three percent had no acid-base disturbances (ABD). Isolated respiratory alkalosis was most common (41%), followed by metabolic acidosis, 22%; metabolic alkalosis, 10%, and respiratory acidosis, 9%. Age, sex, race distribution, morbidity and mortality were not significantly different between the groups. Overall mortality was 17%. Significantly higher mortality was associated with age over 70, pH less than 7.4, and presence of acute myocardial infarction. CXR scores did not correlate with pH, pCO2 or pO2, mortality or morbidity. Some patients with the most severe ABDs recovered while others, who had no ABD on presentation, eventually died. Thus, in 81 consecutive episodes of uncomplicated CPE, isolated respiratory alkalosis was the commonest ABD, occurring in 41%. No correlation was found between ABD and severity of CPE, morbidity or mortality.

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