Drowning. Rescue, resuscitation, and reanimation

Pediatr Clin North Am. 2001 Jun;48(3):627-46. doi: 10.1016/s0031-3955(05)70331-x.


Several myths about drowning have developed over the years. This article has attempted to dispel some of these myths, as follows: 1. Drowning victims are unable to call or wave for help. 2. "Dry drownings" probably do not exist; if there is no water in the lungs at autopsy, the victim probably was not alive when he or she entered the water. 3. Do not use furosemide to treat the pulmonary edema of drowning; victims may need volume. 4. Seawater drowning does not cause hypovolemia, and freshwater drowning does not cause hypervolemia, hemolysis, or hyperkalemia. 5. Drowning victims swallow much more water than they inhale, resulting in a high risk for vomiting spontaneously or on resuscitation. No discussion of drowning would be complete without mentioning the importance of prevention. Proper pool fencing and water safety training at a young age are instrumental in reducing the risk for drowning. Not leaving an infant or young child unattended in or near water can prevent many of these deaths, especially bathtub drownings. Also crucial is the use of personal flotation devices whenever boating. Proper training in water safety is crucial for participation in water recreation and sporting activities, including SCUBA diving. The incidence of pediatric drowning deaths in the United States has decreased steadily over the past decade, perhaps as a result of increased awareness and attention to drowning-prevention measures (Box 1).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / methods*
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Drowning* / epidemiology
  • Drowning* / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Near Drowning / therapy*
  • Prognosis
  • World Health Organization