Tsunami lung

J Anesth. 2012 Apr;26(2):246-9. doi: 10.1007/s00540-011-1273-6. Epub 2011 Nov 6.


We encountered three cases of lung disorders caused by drowning in the recent large tsunami that struck following the Great East Japan Earthquake. All three were females, and two of them were old elderly. All segments of both lungs were involved in all the three patients, necessitating ICU admission and endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation. All three died within 3 weeks. In at least two cases, misswallowing of oil was suspected from the features noted at the time of the detection. Sputum culture for bacteria yielded isolation of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Legionella pneumophila, Burkholderia cepacia, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The cause of tsunami lung may be a combination of chemical induced pneumonia and bacterial pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Disasters*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • Japan
  • Lung Diseases / etiology*
  • Lung Diseases / microbiology
  • Lung Diseases / pathology
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / microbiology
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / pathology
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Tsunamis*