Send to

Choose Destination
Acad Emerg Med. 2017 Dec;24(12):1491-1500. doi: 10.1111/acem.13278. Epub 2017 Sep 23.

The Pediatric Submersion Score Predicts Children at Low Risk for Injury Following Submersions.

Author information

Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA.



Pediatric submersion victims often require admission. We wanted to identify a cohort of children at low risk for submersion-related injury who can be safely discharged from the emergency department (ED) after a period of observation.


This was a single-center retrospective derivation/validation cross-sectional study of children (0-18 years) who presented postsubmersion to a tertiary care, children's hospital ED from 2008 to 2015. We reviewed demographics, comorbidities, and prehospital and ED course. Primary outcome was safe discharge at 8 hours postsubmersion: normal mentation and vital signs. To identify potential scoring factors, any p-value of ≤0.25 was included in binary logistic regression; p-values < 0.05 were included in the final score. In the validation data set, we generated a one-point scoring system for each normal ED item. Receiver operating characteristic curves with area under the curve (AUC) were generated to test sensitivity and specificity.


The derivation data set consisted of 356 patients and validation data set of 89 patients. Five factors generated a safe discharge score at 8 hours: normal ED mentation, normal ED respiratory rate, absence of ED dyspnea, absence of need for airway support (bag-valve mask ventilation, intubation, and CPAP), absence of ED systolic hypotension (maximum score = 5; range = 0-5). Only the 80 patients with values for all five factors were included in the sensitivity/specificity analysis. This resulted in an AUC of 0.81 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.71-0.91; p < 0.001). Based on the sensitivity/specificity analysis, the discriminative ability peaks at 75% with a score of ≥3.5. A score of 4 or higher in the ED would suggest a safe discharge at 8 hours (sensitivity = 88.2% [95% CI = 72.5%-96.7%]; specificity = 62.9% [95% CI = 44.9%-78.5%]; positive predictive value = 69.8% [95% CI = 53.9%-82.8%]; negative predictive value = 84.6% [95% CI = 65.1%-95.6%]).


A risk score can identify children at low risk for submersion-related injury who can be safely discharged from the ED after observation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center