Salt water aspiration syndrome


Salt water aspiration syndrome is a rare diving disorder suffered by scuba divers who inhale a mist of seawater from a faulty demand valve causing irritation of the lungs. It is not the same thing as aspiration of salt water as a bulk liquid, i.e. drowning.[1][2] It can be treated by rest for several hours. If severe, medical assessment is required.


Symptoms of salt water aspiration syndrome include:[2]

  • Post-dive cough, with or without sputum, usually suppressed during the dive.
    • In serious cases the sputum may be bloodstained, frothy and copious.
  • Over time further symptoms may develop, including:
    • rigors, tremors or shivering;
    • nausea or vomiting;
    • hot or cold sensations;
    • dyspnea; cough; sputum; shortness of breath;
    • headaches; malaise; and generalised aches.
    • Cyanosis
    • Mild fever



See also


  1. ^ Edmonds C (September 1970). "A salt water aspiration syndrome". Mil Med. 135 (9): 779–85. doi:10.1093/milmed/135.9.779. PMID 4991232.
  2. ^ a b Edmonds, C. (1998). "Drowning syndromes: the mechanism". South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society Journal. 28 (1). ISSN 0813-1988. OCLC 16986801. Archived from the original on 2011-01-28. Retrieved 2008-07-04.

External links

  • Diving Medicine Online — Salt Water Aspiration Syndrome