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Edema

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Updated April 21, 2009

Definition: Edema is swelling in the body caused by fluid leaving the bloodstream and traveling into the tissues. Edema may be mild, causing swelling in the feet or legs, or severe, causing such widespread swelling that the body’s organs are overwhelmed.

Edema is common in premature babies, whose urinary and circulatory systems are not fully developed. Medications may be given to help the baby pass urine, reducing the amount of fluid in the body. Severe edema may be caused by other conditions which need to be treated to reduce the edema.

Pronunciation: uh-DEE-muh
Examples:
Because the baby's legs were so edematous, her ID band got too tight and had to be removed.
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