Marathon running could trigger pulmonary oedema development in the lungs

September 4, 2012, European Lung Foundation

A new study has found evidence that marathon running could trigger pulmonary oedema, where fluid builds up in the lungs.

The study will be presented today at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Vienna.

Despite mounting evidence of the link between and pulmonary oedema, experts still debate whether the two factors are linked. Researchers from the United States and Italy aimed to investigate the link by assessing whether running a marathon triggers pulmonary oedema which causes breathlessness, severe cough and even heart attacks or in serious cases.

The team analysed 26 who had completed the 2011 Steamtown Marathon in the USA. They took chest radiographs of the runners the day before the race and then at 19, 56 and 98 minutes after the race. By monitoring these different stages, the researchers were able to ensure that any increase in would return to normal, so they could objectively assess the level of oedema.

Three readers evaluated the radiographs to interpret the image. Two readers were experts in reading chest films, a third was a general . They weren't told which radiographs were taken before or after the race, but they scored each image on the level of oedema present so that the total score ranged from 0 (no oedema) to 8 (severe oedema). The oedema scores from each reader was averaged.

About 50% of runners had some level of pulmonary oedema at about 20-minutes post-race. 20% of those runners had moderate to severe pulmonary oedema. Pulmonary oedema was still present 1 hour after the marathon was completed.

Women were at much higher risk compared to men in the development of pulmonary oedema. There was also no relation between marathon time and the development of pulmonary oedema, suggesting that the development of oedema is prevalent across all abilities.

Lead author, Dr Gerald Zavorsky from the Marywood University, USA, said: "Marathon running is linked to an increased risk of pulmonary oedema, and it seems that women are at higher risk than men regardless of marathon finishing time. While pulmonary oedema can be a negative consequence of marathon running, regular exercise can also keep you fit and healthy. We do not yet know the impact of this finding on long-term health of runners."

Explore further: 'Senior' runners never stop pushing their limits in marathons

Related Stories

'Senior' runners never stop pushing their limits in marathons

January 19, 2012
Romauld Lepers and Thomas Cattagni, researchers at the University of Bourgogone, have analyzed changes in participation and performance of runners aged 20 to 80 in the New York marathon over the last 30 years.

Pulmonary rehabilitation and improvement in exercise capacity improve survival in COPD

May 21, 2012
Pulmonary rehabilitation and improvement in exercise capacity significantly improve survival in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a new study from the UK.

Marathons safe for aging boomers, study finds

September 2, 2012
(HealthDay)—It's safe for older adults to run marathons, a new study finds.

Recommended for you

Fresh approach to tuberculosis vaccine offers better protection

January 17, 2018
A unique platform that resulted in a promising HIV vaccine has also led to a new, highly effective vaccine against tuberculosis that is moving toward testing in humans.

Study reveals how MRSA infection compromises lymphatic function

January 17, 2018
Infections of the skin or other soft tissues with the hard-to-treat MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria appear to permanently compromise the lymphatic system, which is crucial to immune system function. ...

Newly-discovered TB blood signal provides early warning for at-risk patients

January 17, 2018
Tuberculosis can be detected in people with HIV infection via a unique blood signal before symptoms appear, according to a new study by researchers from the Crick, Imperial College London and the University of Cape Town.

New study validates clotting risk factors in chronic kidney disease

January 17, 2018
In late 2017, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) discovered and published (Science Translational Medicine, (9) 417, Nov 2017) a potential treatment target to prevent chronic kidney disease (CKD) ...

New study offers insights on genetic indicators of COPD risk

January 16, 2018
Researchers have discovered that genetic variations in the anatomy of the lungs could serve as indicators to help identify people who have low, but stable, lung function early in life, and those who are particularly at risk ...

Previous influenza virus exposures enhance susceptibility in another influenza pandemic

January 16, 2018
While past exposure to influenza A viruses often builds immunity to similar, and sometimes different, strains of the virus, Canadian researchers are calling for more attention to exceptions to that rule.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.