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Drowning (cont.)

Drowning Prognosis

  • Drowning victims who are alert and oriented when they arrive in the emergency department usually have an excellent chance for full recovery.
  • If the patient is confused and unconscious, recovery depends on the length of time under water. With early rescue and treatment, full recovery is possible.
  • The mammalian diving reflex is more commonly found in infants and children with slowing of body functions from icy water, increases the opportunity for recovery even after a long immersion. There is no guarantee that the mammalian reflex will occur. The patient who is comatose after a cold water drowning is unlikely to return to completely normal function.
  • The younger and healthier the patient, the better the prognosis. The colder and cleaner the water, the better the prognosis.

REFERENCE: Sayre, M. R. et al. Hands-Only (Compression-Only) Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: A Call to Action for Bystander Response to Adults Who Experience Out-of-Hospital Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Cardiovascular Care Committee Science Advisory for the Public From the American Heart Association Emergency. Circulation 2008;117:2162-2167

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/7/2014

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