Evaluation of Antimicrobial Utilization in the Pediatric Drowning Population

J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2021 Mar 26;10(2):179-182. doi: 10.1093/jpids/piaa021.


Background: Management of pediatric drowning often includes evaluation and treatment of infectious disease. There are few data describing the infections associated with pediatric drowning.

Methods: A descriptive retrospective study was designed, and patients aged < 19 years admitted for > 24 hours to our institution after a drowning were included from January 2011 through June 30, 2017. Data collection included patient demographics, submersion injury details, resuscitation details, patient admission details, chest radiograph on admission, use of intubation and mechanical ventilation, hospital length of stay, culture data, antimicrobial use, and mortality. Descriptive statistical methods (mean and standard deviation, median and range, percentage) were used to characterize the patient population, and Fisher exact test was used to evaluate the association between antimicrobial use in the first 72 hours of admission and mortality.

Results: A total of 114 patients met study criteria (male, 59.7%; median age, 3.7 years [range, 0.15-17.79 years]). Median hospital length of stay was 2 days (range, 1-60 days). Intensive care unit admission occurred in 80.7%, intubation occurred in 46.5%, and mortality was 18.4%. The most common submersion location was a pool (76.3% [n = 87]) with water primarily characterized as freshwater (82.5% [n = 94]). Reported submersion time for the majority of patients was < 5 minutes (54.4%) with cardiopulmonary resuscitation in 78.1%. In the first 72 hours after admission, culture were obtained in 40 patients (35.1%), and 27.5% of these cultures were positive. The primary organisms identified were consistent oropharyngeal flora. Antimicrobials were initiated in 50% of the patient population with clindamycin as most common. There was not a significant association between antimicrobial use in the first 72 hours after admission and mortality (17.2% vs 19.6%, P = .81).

Conclusions: Infectious disease associated with pediatric drowning in pools is uncommon. Empiric use of antimicrobials does not appear to affect outcomes.

Keywords: drowning; infection; near drowning; pneumonia; submersion injury.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drowning*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Near Drowning*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Infective Agents