Fast Five Quiz: Drowning and Water-Related Health Concerns

Richard H. Sinert, DO


May 13, 2022

The individual should be removed from the water at the earliest opportunity. Rescue breathing should be performed while the individual is still in the water, but chest compressions are inadequate because of buoyancy issues. Those who experience drowning have most likely suffered asphyxial cardiac arrest; therefore, rescue breathing as well as chest compressions are indicated as opposed to compression-only resuscitation for cardiac arrest.

The abdominal thrust (Heimlich) maneuver has not been shown to be effective in removing aspirated water; in addition, it delays the start of resuscitation and risks causing the patient to vomit and aspirate. The efficacy of surfactant therapy has been reported in some case reports. However, routine administration of surfactant is not supported by present evidence. Use should be reserved for those with severe hypoxemic respiratory failure. Uncommon infections may present late and unusually. Prophylactic antimicrobial therapy has not proven beneficial.

Learn more about the treatment of drowning.

This Fast Five Quiz was excerpted and adapted from the Medscape articles Drowning, Otitis Externa, Giardiasis, Fast Five Quiz: Drowning, and Fast Five Quiz: What Do You Know About Drowning?

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