pitting oedema

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.

pitting oedema

OEDEMA that allows visible but temporary indenting of the skin by finger pressure.


accumulation of excess tissue fluid in distal limb tissues associated with e.g. local inflammation/infection, abnormal lymphatic drainage, abdominal mass or cardiac/lung/renal dysfunction (Table 1)
  • anaphylactic oedema generalized swelling of facial skin and mucous membranes with associated difficulty in breathing and profound drop in blood pressure; characteristic of anaphylaxis (see anaphylaxis)

  • cardiac oedema peripheral oedema due to congestive heart failure

  • joint oedema oedema of joint soft tissues, due to joint (e.g. rheumatoid or osteoarthritis) or ligamentous inflammation (e.g. mechanical trauma, joint strain/sprain)

  • non-pitting oedema indurated and firm oedematous lower-limb tissues; indicative of long-standing oedema and fibrosis, e.g. in long-term venous incompetence

  • peripheral oedema oedema of distal (foot and limb) tissues secondary to e.g. cardiac, pulmonary or renal dysfunction, venous dysfunction, abdominal mass or hypertension

  • pitting oedema relatively soft, tissue oedema affecting both feet and lower legs or unilateral swelling of a limb with incompetent venous return; characterized by retention of the depression caused by fingertip pressure

  • pulmonary oedema lung oedema due to heart valve dysfunction

Table 1: Presentations of oedema in the lower limb
Oedema typeCause
UnilateralWithin the limb
Local, e.g. as the result of local trauma, inflammation or infection
Regional, e.g. as the result of proximal limb trauma, inflammation, infection or venous compromise
BilateralSystemic disease (e.g. heart disease, renal dysfunction, abdominal mass, hypertension, lung dysfunction)
PittingSystemic disease (e.g. heart disease; hypertension; venous compromise)
Indurated/non-pittingLong-standing oedema (e.g. marked venous compromise; subsequent to deep-vein thrombosis)
References in periodicals archive ?
On examination his hands were red, diffusely swollen and tender with synovitis of the joints and pitting oedema over the dorsal aspects.
He reported 8 men and 2 women who presented with bilateral swelling of the hands and feet with pitting oedema.
The cases were mainly men over 50 years old with symmetrical synovitis affecting hands and feet with pitting oedema and negative rheumatoid factor.
RS3PE presents mainly in men more than 50 years old, with pitting oedema and synovitis of the hands and often the feet.