What long-term monitoring is indicated in drowning patients?

Updated: Jun 19, 2019
  • Author: G Patricia Cantwell, MD, FCCM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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After initial recovery, drowning patients may develop nonpulmonary infections, including brain abscesses, osteomyelitis, and soft-tissue infections with unusual fungal, amebic, and bacterial pathogens. Because the causative organisms for these infections are rarely seen in other clinical settings, a high index of suspicion must be maintained in patients after acute or subacute injury. Surgical consultation may be required because many of these infections do not respond to antimicrobial therapy alone.

Outpatient care is dictated by the nature and degree of residual functional impairment. With severe neurologic impairment, the patient may benefit from admission to a rehabilitation facility and aggressive rehabilitation. In one case report, neuropsychological testing delineated problems with memory, visuospatial performance, executive function, verbal fluency, flexibility, planning, and abstraction. Visuospatial testing, verbal learning, recall, and logical reasoning showed improvement during a 3-year follow-up period. [113]

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