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Acute pulmonary edema (PE) affects 0.08% to 1.5% of women during pregnancy and in the postpartum. At the Instituto de Medicina Integral Prof. Fernando Figueira (IMIP), acute PE accounts for 1.5% of admissions to the obstetric intensive care unit (ICU) and occurs in 9.3% of the patients admitted with near miss criteria. This study was conducted to describe the clinical/epidemiological profile of patients with acute PE in IMIP's obstetric ICU.A case series of 50 patients with acute PE in an obstetric ICU in northeastern Brazil between August 2012 and March 2015. Frequency distribution and measures of central tendency/dispersion were calculated using Epi Info, version 7.1.5.The mean age of the women was 27.2 years; 60% were from Recife; 50% had 8 to 11 years of schooling; 54.0% were primigravidas. Acute PE occurred antepartum (58%), postpartum (38%), or intrapartum (4.0%). Overall, 8% had had previous episodes; 6% relapsed during hospitalization; 4% died. Caesarean sections were common (78.0%), with 73.3% delivering at <37 weeks and 39.0% at <34 weeks. Etiologies were hypertensive (62%), cardiogenic (16.0%), both hypertensive and cardiogenic (20.0%) or due to fluid overload (2.0%). Irrespective of etiology, in the 24 hours preceding acute PE, fluid overload was present in 34.0%. Median time from diagnosis until resuscitation maneuvers was 5 minutes (within 30 minutes of diagnosis in 75.0% of patients). Mean ICU time was 5 days and mean hospitalization time 11 days.Acute PE is a severe disease resulting in high maternal/perinatal morbidity/mortality rates. Most commonly, it occurred antepartum and associated with hypertension. Fluid overload appears to constitute an important trigger.