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Undersea Hyperb Med. 2011 May-Jun;38(3):213-6.

Hemoptysis and pneumomediastinum after breath-hold diving in shallow water: a case report.

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Center for Hyperbaric Medicine, CHU Brest, Pôle Anesthesiology Intensive Care, Department of Anesthesiology Intensive Care, Brest, F-29200 France.


We report the case of a healthy 21-year-old woman who performed iterative breath-hold dives in relatively cold water, not exceeding depths of 5 meters but with "empty lungs." At the end of a dive, after experiencing an intense involuntary diaphragmatic contraction underwater, she presented hemoptysis followed by chest pain and cough. Chest radiography and computed tomography were performed 24 hours later, confirming the diagnosis of pneumomediastinum. The clinical course was benign: However, chest pain and effort dyspnea lasted for a few weeks. The pathophysiology of this accident may be explained by a combination of mechanisms involved in several clinical entities, namely pulmonary edema of immersion, pulmonary barotrauma and spontaneous pneumomediastinum.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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