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Brain Natriuretic Peptide Level In Six Basic Underwater Demolitions/SEAL Recruits Presenting With Swimming Induced Pulmonary Edema (SIPE)

Summer 2009

Shearer D, Mahon RT. 09(3). 44 - 50. (Journal Article)


Swimming induced pulmonary edema (SIPE) is associated with both SCUBA diving and strenuous surface swimming; however, the majority of reported cases and clinically observed cases tend to occur during or after aggressive surface swimming.1 Capillary stress failure appears to be central to the pathophysiology of this disorder. Regional pulmonary capillaries are exposed to relatively high pressures secondary to increased vascular volume, elevation of pulmonary vascular resistance, and regional differences in perfusion secondary to forces of gravity and high cardiac output. Acute pulmonary edema can be classified as either cardiogenic or noncardiogenic or both. Cardiogenic pulmonary edema occurs when the pulmonary capillary hydrostatic pressure exceeds plasma oncotic pressure. Noncardiogenic pulmonary edema occurs when pulmonary capillary permeability is increased. Given the pathophysiology noted above, SIPE can be described as a cardiogenic pulmonary edema, at least in part, since an increased transalveolar pressure gradient has been implicated in the pathogenesis of SIPE.2 Brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) is used in the clinical setting to differentiate cardiac from pulmonary sources of dyspnea, specifically to diagnose cardiogenic pulmonary edema.3,4 During clinical management, BNP levels were drawn on six BUD/S recruits simultaneously presenting with pulmonary complaints consistent with SIPE, after an extended surface bay swim. This paper analyzes that data after de-identification and reviews the pathophysiology and clinical management of SIPE. LEARNING OBJECTIVES 1. Describe the signs and symptoms of SIPE. 2. Describe the immediate care and treatment of SIPE. 3. Demonstrate understanding of the fundamental pathophysiology of SIPE.

PMID: 19739476