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Pediatr Emerg Care. 1997 Apr;13(2):98-102.

Failure of aggressive therapy to alter outcome in pediatric near-drowning.

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Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 53201, USA.



To identify predictors of outcome in pediatric near-drowning victims, and to measure the effectiveness of therapy in pediatric near-drowning victims by assessing clinical outcome as a function of injury severity at presentation and therapeutic interventions during hospitalization.


Retrospective chart review at a tertiary care university associated Children's Hospital from January 1976 to July 1992.


Initial intensive care unit (ICU) assessment included a Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) and a Pediatric Risk of Mortality (PRISM) Score. Outcome was assessed using a standard scoring system classifying functional abilities at hospital discharge as no functional disability, independent, partially independent, or total dependence on caregivers for function. Forty (49%) of 81 died. Of the survivors, 26 (63%) had no functional disability or were partially dependent at hospital discharge. Of the 47 (64%) patients with a GCS < or = 4 on presentation to the ICU, 37 (79%) died and 10 (21%) were dependent in all areas of function at discharge. Of the 40 (60%) patients who had a PRISM score < 20, 98% either died or were completely dependent at discharge. Of the 49 patients who were asystolic upon arrival to the emergency department (ED), 76% died, and the rest were completely dependent. Logistic regression showed that therapy had no independent effect on outcome when disease severity was accounted for.


Severity of illness measured by GCS and PRISM score in the ICU can be useful in predicting outcome. For patients cared for in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, those with asystole on arrival at the ED had uniformly poor outcome. Currently available therapies do not alter outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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