Deaths in triathletes: immersion pulmonary oedema as a possible cause.

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2016

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Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIM: To address the question as to whether immersion pulmonary oedema (IPO) may be a common cause of death in triathlons, markers of swimming-induced pulmonary oedema (SIPO) susceptibility were sought in triathletes' postmortem examinations. METHODS: Deaths while training for or during triathlon events in the USA and Canada from October 2008 to November 2015 were identified, and postmortem reports requested. We assessed obvious causes of death; the prevalence of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH); comparison with healthy triathletes. RESULTS: We identified 58 deaths during the time period of the review, 42 (72.4%) of which occurred during a swim. Of these, 23 postmortem reports were obtained. Five individuals had significant (≥70%) coronary artery narrowing; one each had coronary stents; retroperitoneal haemorrhage; or aortic dissection. 9 of 20 (45%) with reported heart mass exceeded 95th centile values. LV free wall and septal thickness were reported in 14 and 9 cases, respectively; of these, 6 (42.9%) and 4 (44.4%) cases exceeded normal values. 6 of 15 individuals (40%) without an obvious cause of death had excessive heart mass. The proportion of individuals with LVH exceeded the prevalence in the general triathlete population. CONCLUSIONS: LVH-a marker of SIPO susceptibility-was present in a greater than the expected proportion of triathletes who died during the swim portion. We propose that IPO may be a significant aetiology of death during the swimming phase in triathletes. The importance of testing for LVH in triathletes as a predictor of adverse outcomes should be explored further.

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10.1136/bmjsem-2016-000146

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Moon, Richard E, Stefanie D Martina, Dionne F Peacher and William E Kraus (2016). Deaths in triathletes: immersion pulmonary oedema as a possible cause. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med, 2(1). p. e000146. 10.1136/bmjsem-2016-000146 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/13293.

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Scholars@Duke

Moon

Richard Edward Moon

Professor of Anesthesiology

Research interests include the study of cardiorespiratory function in humans during challenging clinical settings including the perioperative period, and exposure to environmental conditions such as diving and high altitude. Studies have included gas exchange during diving, the pathophysiology of high altitude and immersion pulmonary edema, the effect of anesthesia and postoperative analgesia on pulmonary function and monitoring of tissue oxygenation. Ongoing human studies include the effect of respiratory muscle training on chemosensitivity and blood gases during stressful breathing: underwater exercise.

Kraus

William Erle Kraus

Richard and Pat Johnson University Distinguished Professor

My training, expertise and research interests range from human integrative physiology and genetics to animal exercise models to cell culture models of skeletal muscle adaptation to mechanical stretch. I am trained clinically as an internist and preventive cardiologist, with particular expertise in preventive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation.  My research training spans molecular biology and cell culture, molecular genetics, and integrative human exercise physiology and metabolism. I practice as a preventive cardiologist with a focus on cardiometabolic risk and exercise physiology for older athletes.  My research space has both a basic wet laboratory component and a human integrative physiology one.

One focus of our work is an integrative physiologic examination of exercise effects in human subjects in clinical studies of exercise training in normal individuals, in individuals at risk of disease (such as pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome; STRRIDE), and in individuals with disease (such as coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and cancer).

A second focus of my research group is exploration of genetic determinates of disease risk in human subjects.  We conduct studies of early onset cardiovascular disease (GENECARD; CATHGEN), congestive heart failure (HF-ACTION), peripheral arterial disease (AMNESTI), and metabolic syndrome.  We are exploring analytic models of predicting disease risk using established and innovative statistical methodology.

A third focus of my group’s work is to understand the cellular signaling mechanisms underlying the normal adaptive responses of skeletal muscle to physiologic stimuli, such as occur in exercise conditioning, and to understand the abnormal maladaptive responses that occur in response to pathophysiologic stimuli, such as occur in congestive heart failure, aging and prolonged exposure to microgravity.

Recently we have begun to investigate interactions of genes and lifestyle interventions on cardiometabolic outcomes.  We have experience with clinical lifestyle intervention studies, particularly the contributions of genetic variants to interventions responses.  We call this Lifestyle Medicopharmacogenetics.

KEY WORDS:

exercise, skeletal muscle, energy metabolism, cell signaling, gene expression, cell stretch, heart failure, aging, spaceflight, human genetics, early onset cardiovascular disease, lifestyle medicine


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