Interstitial lung edema triggered by marathon running

Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2014 Jan 1;190:137-41. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2013.10.007. Epub 2013 Oct 25.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether marathon running causes lung edema, and if so, to determine its effects on runners. Posterior/anterior (PA) radiographs were taken one day before the marathon and at 19, 55, and 98min post-marathon in 26 runners. The pre and post exercise radiographs of each runner were collated, and then read simultaneously. Two physicians interpreted the images independently in a blinded fashion. The PA radiographs were viewed together at each time-point and findings suggestive for interstitial lung edema were rated as 'mild,' 'moderate,' or 'severe' based on four different radiological criteria. Forty-six percent of the runners presented radiographic findings suggestive of mild to severe interstitial lung edema. Radiographic findings persisted until 98-min post-marathon, with at least moderate degree increases found more frequently in women (55%) than men (6%) (p<0.01). In conclusion, about half of the runners developed interstitial lung edema of varying degrees post-exercise with the incidence being higher in women compared to men.

Keywords: Endurance; Exercise; Lung fluid; Pulmonary; Water.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Edema / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Edema / etiology*
  • Running / injuries*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Young Adult