What is the prognosis of drowning patients?

Updated: Jun 19, 2019
  • Author: G Patricia Cantwell, MD, FCCM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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The ideal independent predictor for survival is drowning time. [114] Poor prognostic signs for recovery include an unwitnessed event, delayed resuscitation, need for CPR at the scene, need for continued CPR in the ED, [115] and prolonged coma. A multitude of imaging studies (eg, CT, MRI, MR spectroscopy), [116, 117] electrophysiologic studies including brain stem auditory-evoked response (BSAER) [118] and somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEP), [119] and biomarkers have been explored to better define prognosis in drowning. At this time, there is no test or assessment that reliably predicts functional neurologic outcome. The most meaningful information with respect to prognosis is derived from an improving neurologic examination over time. [120]

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