How are drowning victims classified?

Updated: Jun 19, 2019
  • Author: G Patricia Cantwell, MD, FCCM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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The clinical presentations of people who experience submersion injuries vary widely. A drowning victim may be classified initially into 1 of the following 4 groups:

  • Asymptomatic

  • Symptomatic

  • Cardiopulmonary arrest

  • Obviously dead

Patients are especially likely to be asymptomatic if they experienced brief, witnessed submersions with immediate resuscitation.

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