Cardiac asthma is the medical condition of intermittent wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath that is associated with underlying congestive heart failure (CHF). Symptoms of cardiac asthma are related to the heart's inability to effectively and efficiently pump blood in a CHF patient. This can lead to accumulation of fluid in and around the lungs (pulmonary congestion), disrupting the lung's ability to oxygenate blood.
Cardiac asthma carries similar symptoms to bronchial asthma, but is differentiated by lacking inflammatory origin. Because of the similarity in symptoms, diagnosis of cardiac versus bronchial asthma relies on full cardiac workup and pulmonary function testing.
Treatment is centered on improving cardiac function, maintaining blood oxygen saturation levels, and stabilizing total body water volume and distribution.