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January 1985

Near Drowning in the Dead Sea: Electrolyte Imbalances and Therapeutic Implications

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Drs Yagil, Stalnikowicz, and Michaeli) and Radiology (Dr Mogle), Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem.

Arch Intern Med. 1985;145(1):50-53. doi:10.1001/archinte.1985.00360010070009

• Unusual serum electrolyte abnormalities developed In eight patients who nearly drowned (ND) in the Dead Sea. Elevations in serum calcium and magnesium levels in particular required specific therapeutic intervention. The Dead Sea has a uniquely high concentration of calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and chloride. The unusual serum electrolyte elevation that was observed in the ND victims in the Dead Sea apparently reflected the large solute load to which they were exposed. Four patients died subsequent to ND. Near drowning in the Dead Sea therefore represents a clinical entity that is associated with a high fatality rate and in which unrecognized major electrolyte abnormalities, in addition to the known respiratory complications, may influence the outcome.

(Arch Intern Med 1985;145:50-53)