Knowledge of Immersionary Pulmonary Oedema has been increasing in recent years. The Institute of Naval Medicine (INM) has published the following information that all divers should be aware of:
- IPO is a life-threatening condition that can develop during a dive and all divers should be aware of the potential for this to affect them
- In IPO fluid accumulates in the lung tissues leading to shortness of breath, coughing up of sputum, and/or chest pain
- The risk is increased in people with high blood pressure, over-hydrating before a dive, diving in cold water, exertion and breathing against a negative pressure when diving.
- First aid measures include removal from the water, call the DDMO/Coastguard/Ambulance, sit the casualty upright, place them on 100% oxygen, take them to a warm place if possible or re-warm on site, do not give any fluids and prepare for evacuation to hospital.
- If the symptoms occur during the dive, the casualty should be closely accompanied to the surface
- Consider IPO in anyone who reports equipment difficulties after a dive or switches to bail out due to perceived equipment difficulties
- Do not dive again until medically assessed.