Korean J Sports Med.  2017 Dec;35(3):206-209. 10.5763/kjsm.2017.35.3.206.

Immersion Pulmonary Edema after Scuba Diving: An Undiagnosed Entity

  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Gangneung Asan Hospital, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Gangneung, Korea. emfosh@gnah.co.kr


Immersion pulmonary edema (IPE) is a form of pulmonary edema that can occur in divers or swimmers. IPE is a rare condition, but can be life-threatening and recurrent condition. The pathophysiology of IPE is still incompletely understood. We present a case of scuba diving induced pulmonary edema in a 46-year-old woman diving in cold seawater. After 20 minutes of diving at 18 m, she felt difficulty of breathing. Symptoms on surfacing were dyspnea, cough, and frothy sputum. Chest X-ray showed pulmonary edema and she was treated with an intravenous diuretic and supplemental oxygen. The patient showed rapid resolution of symptoms and was discharged on the same day. Sport physician should be aware of this potentially life-threatening recurrent condition.


Diving; Immersion; Pulmonary edema
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