Date amended:
Statements of Principles
Current RMA Instruments
SOP bulletin information on new SOPs


ICD Coding
  • ICD-9-CM Codes: 518.4
  • ICD-10-AM Codes: J81.0
Brief description

In this condition acute pulmonary oedema (fluid in the lungs) develops in generally young, fit divers and endurance swimmers.  It has been reported in special forces personnel during long distance open water training swims and in military divers.  It tends to occur in cold water.

Confirming the diagnosis

The diagnosis is usually made on clinical grounds.  There are no specific investigations required.

The relevant medical specialist is a respiratory physician.

Additional diagnoses covered by the SOP
  • Swimming-induced pulmonary oedema
Conditions not covered by the SOP
  • Pulmonary oedema from other causes
Clinical onset

The condition develops acutely during activity and presents with shortness of breath out of proportion to effort, and cough with frothy sputum that may be blood tinged.

Clinical worsening

The condition usually resolves with conservative management and no enduring consequences. Recurrent episodes may occur.  Some deaths have been reported.