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Pediatr Emerg Med Pract. 2014 Jun;11(6):1-21; quiz 21-2.

Pediatric submersion injuries: emergency care and resuscitation.


Drowning and submersion injuries are highly prevalent, yet preventable, causes of childhood mortality and morbidity. Although much of the resuscitation of the drowning pediatric victim is basic to all respiratory and cardiac arrest situations, there are some caveats for treatment of this type of injury. Risk factors for drowning victims include epilepsy, underlying cardiac dysrhythmias, hyperventilation, hypoglycemia, hypothermia, and alcohol and illicit drug use. Prehospital care should focus on restoring normal ventilation and circulation as quickly as possible to limit the extent of hypoxic insult. Diagnostic testing for symptomatic patients may include blood glucose level, arterial blood gas level, complete blood count, electrolytes levels, chest radiography, and cardiorespiratory monitoring with pulse oximetry and a rhythm strip. In this review, passive external, active external, and active internal rewarming techniques for treatment of hypothermic patients are discussed. A systematic approach to treatment and disposition or admission of pediatric drowning victims is also included, with extensive clinical pathways for quick reference.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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