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A friend of mine experienced coughing and shortness of breath during swimming. It started some two months ago. At first he didn’t pay attention to it but since it has started to influence his performance I advised him to go and check with his doctor. He was diagnosed with SIPE. What is it?

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SIPE stands for swimming induced pulmonary edema (congestion). The problem is that the mechanisms and consequences are unknown. Also currently no series of carefully evaluated patients with this condition exist. During or after swimming severe shortness of breath and cough can be noticed. There were some 70 documented cases of SIPE in young healthy subjects participating in a fitness-training program. Severe shortness of breath was present in all of them while most of them had prominent cough. Some of them experienced recurrence and suffered from restrictive lung function that lasted for a week. Unfortunately the long term effects and the cause and predisposition to occurrence or recurrence is yet unknown. Your friend should stay away from swimming for a while and then slowly and carefully try again after some time.
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