Effect of immediate resuscitation on children with submersion injury

D. N. Kyriacou*, E. L. Arcinue, C. Peek, J. F. Kraus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


Study objective. To determine the effect of immediate resuscitative efforts on the neurological outcome of children with submersion injury. Design. A case-control study was designed to determine if immediate resuscitation by rescuers or bystanders reduces the frequency of severe neurological damage or death in children with a documented submersion event. Logistic regression was used calculate an adjusted odds ratio. Participants. The study group consisted of 166 children, aged zero to 14 years, having a submersion event during May 1984 through August 1992, and admitted through various emergency departments to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California. Measurements and main results. All study subjects had an observed and documented episode of apnea at the time of submersion. Outcomes were evaluated on the basis of neurological impairment or death. Exposure was verified from historical accounts of postsubmersion events provided by family, friends, and/or paramedical personnel. The study factors included age and gender, duration of submersion, hypothermia, presence of apnea, resuscitative efforts, and clinical outcome. Children with a good outcome were 4.75 (adjusted odds ratio (OR)) times more likely to have a history of immediate resuscitation than children with poor outcome (95% confidence interval: 3.44 < OR < 6.06, P = .0001). Various types of resuscitative efforts and potential confounding factors were also evaluated. CPR and mouth- to-mouth resuscitation were the most effective types for the prevention of death or severe anoxic encephalopathy. Conclusion. Immediate resuscitation before the arrival of paramedical personnel is associated with a significantly better neurological outcome in children with submersion injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-142
Number of pages6
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - 1994


  • drowning
  • resuscitation
  • submersion injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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