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Nonfatal Drowning

Joseph L. Steele, MPAS, APA-C and Natasha J. Pyzocha, DO, FAWM, FAAFP Reviewed 06/2019
 


BASICS

DESCRIPTION

  • Respiratory impairment from submersion in liquid (1)

  • System(s) affected: cardiovascular, nervous, pulmonary, renal

  • Synonym(s): submersion injury; terms such as “near-drowning,” “second...

DIAGNOSIS

HISTORY

The Utstein approach to the evaluation of drowning victims standardizes reporting data and provides guidance for the history, physical exam, and appropriate management: 
  • Gender, age, b...

TREATMENT

Early resuscitation and reversal of hypoxemia are key. 

GENERAL MEASURES

  • Prehospital

    • Never approach a struggling victim alone.

    • Initiate basic life support (BLS) and advanced cardiovascular life ...

ONGOING CARE

FOLLOW-UP RECOMMENDATIONS

Appropriate follow-up with primary care provider, orthopedic, neurologic, cardiac, pulmonary, and additional specialists as indicated 

Patient Monitoring

  • ABG monito...

REFERENCES

1
Szpilman D, Bierens J, Handley AJ, et al. Drowning. N Engl J Med.  2012;366(22):2102–2110. [View Abstract on OvidMedline]
2
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unintentional dro...

CODES

ICD10

  • T75.1XXA Unsp effects of drowning and nonfatal submersion, init

  • T75.1XXD Unsp effects of drowning and nonfatal submersion, subs

  • T75.1XXS Unsp effects of drowning and nonfatal submersion, sequ...

CLINICAL PEARLS

  • The most important treatment for near-drowning victims is prompt reversal of any hypoxia.

  • Water safety education (combining physical and behavioral techniques) has the greatest impact o...

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