Near drowning pulmonary oedema

Near drowning pulmonary oedema is considered an aetiological sub type of  non cardiogenic pulmonary oedema. It can occur with both salt or fresh water drowning.


It is thought to result from the inhalation of either fresh or sea water resulting in lung damage and ventilation-perfusion mismatching.

Near drowning It can be divided into three stages:

  • stage I: acute laryngospasm that occurs after inhalation of a small amount of water
  • stage II: victim still usually presents with laryngospasm but may begin to swallow water into the stomach
  • stage III
    • 10-15% of patients still present with dry drowning caused by persistence of the associated laryngospasm
    • in the remaining 85-90% of patients, the laryngospasm relaxes secondary to hypoxia and large amounts of water are aspirated

Radiographic features

Plain film: chest radiograph

Features in stages II and III can be identical to pulmonary oedema from other non-cardiac causes 3.

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Article Information

rID: 19258
System: Chest
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Near drowning pulmonary edema

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