- 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
Must Read Articles Related to Drowning
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a procedure a person can use to assist a person who is in cardiac arrest. Providing CPR to a person who is in cardiac a...learn more >>
First Aid Kits
Information about what you need in a first aid kit for your home, travel, and how to gather all of the necessary supplies to be prepared for a medical emergency...learn more >>
Heat exhaustion is a condition in which a person's body overheats due to fatigue, exercising or working in a hot environment, or dehydration. They elderly and y...learn more >>