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Am Fam Physician. 2016 Apr 1;93(7):576-82.

Prevention and Treatment of Drowning.

Author information

1
Naval Hospital Pensacola Family Medicine Residency, Pensacola, FL, USA.

Abstract

Nearly 4,000 drowning deaths occur annually in the United States, with drowning representing the most common injury-related cause of death in children one to four years of age. Drowning is a process that runs the spectrum from brief entry of liquid into the airways with subsequent clearance and only minor temporary injury, to the prolonged presence of fluid in the lungs leading to lung dysfunction, hypoxia, neurologic and cardiac abnormalities, and death. The World Health Organization has defined drowning as "the process of experiencing respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid." Terms such as near, wet, dry, passive, active, secondary, and silent drowning should no longer be used because they are confusing and hinder proper categorization and management. The American Heart Association's Revised Utstein Drowning Form and treatment guidelines are important in guiding care, disposition, and prognosis. Prompt resuscitation at the scene after a shorter duration of submersion is associated with better outcomes. Because cardiac arrhythmias due to drowning are almost exclusively caused by hypoxia, the resuscitation order prioritizes airway and breathing before compressions. Prevention remains the best treatment. Education, swimming and water safety lessons, and proper pool fencing are the interventions with the highest level of current evidence, especially in children two to four years of age. Alcohol use during water activities dramatically increases the risk of drowning; therefore, abstinence is recommended for all participants and supervisors.

PMID:
27035042
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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