Seawater‑drowning‑induced acute lung injury: From molecular mechanisms to potential treatments (Review)
Published online on: April 5, 2017
Copyright: © Jin et al.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.
Drowning is a crucial public safety problem and is the third leading cause of accidental fatality, claiming ~372,000 lives annually, worldwide. In near‑drowning patients, acute lung injury (ALI) or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is one of the most common complications. Approximately 1/3 of near‑drowning patients fulfill the criteria for ALI or ARDS. In the present article, the current literature of near‑drowning, pathophysiologic changes and the molecular mechanisms of seawater‑drowning‑induced ALI and ARDS was reviewed. Seawater is three times more hyperosmolar than plasma, and following inhalation of seawater the hyperosmotic seawater may cause serious injury in the lung and alveoli. The perturbing effects of seawater may be primarily categorized into insufficiency of pulmonary surfactant, blood‑air barrier disruption, formation of pulmonary edema, inflammation, oxidative stress, autophagy, apoptosis and various other hypertonic stimulation. Potential treatments for seawater‑induced ALI/ARDS were also presented, in addition to suggestions for further studies. A total of nine therapeutic strategies had been tested and all had focused on modulating the over‑activated immunoreactions. In conclusion, seawater drowning is a complex injury process and the exact mechanisms and potential treatments require further exploration.