Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Drowning and Near Drowning Overview

What is drowning and near drowning?
A person with near drowning partially suffocates in a liquid, but does not die. Drowning describes suffocation in a liquid that results in death. Inhaled liquids block the transfer of oxygen from the air, into the bloodstream. About one third of adults have experienced near drowning at some time. Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death in the US.

What are the symptoms of drowning and near drowning?
The initial symptoms of near drowning include choking, coughing, and panic. Later symptoms include breathing difficulty, wheezing, confusion, and lethargy.

How does the doctor treat drowning and near drowning?
The initial management of near drowning victims includes first aid and advanced cardiac life support. Additional treatment for near drowning may include cardiac monitoring, supplemental oxygen, and mechanical ventilation.

Continue to Drowning and Near Drowning Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Drowning and Near Drowning References
  1. Papa L, Hoelle R, Idris A. Systematic review of definitions for drowning incidents. Resuscitation. 2005 Jun;65(3):255-64. [15919561]
  2. Peden MM, McGee K. The epidemiology of drowning worldwide. Inj Control Saf Promot. 2003 Dec;10(4):195-9. [14664361]
  3. Salomez F, Vincent JL. Drowning: a review of epidemiology, pathophysiology, treatment and prevention. Resuscitation. 2004 Dec;63(3):261-8. [15582760]
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