* * *n.excessive accumulation of fluid in the body tissues: popularly known as dropsy. The resultant swelling may be local, as with an injury or inflammation, or more general, as in heart or kidney failure. In generalized oedema there may be collections of fluid within the chest cavity (pleural effusions), abdomen (see ascites), or within the air spaces of the lung (pulmonary oedema). It may result from heart or kidney failure, cirrhosis of the liver, acute nephritis, the nephrotic syndrome, starvation, allergy, or drugs (e.g. phenylbutazone or cortisone derivatives). In such cases the kidneys can usually be stimulated to get rid of the excess fluid by the administration of diuretic drugs. Subcutaneous oedema commonly occurs in the legs and ankles due to the influence of gravity and (in women) before menstruation; the swelling subsides with rest and elevation of the legs.• oedematous adj.
Medical dictionary. 2011.